After many years, Rune II is finally here, allthough it’s not all good news for fans of the original Viking adventure. The sequel is actually the result of an entirely different studio from the original, although with some shared DNA. Human Head Studios, the team behind Rune II, was formed by six Raven Software veterans in 1997. The company worked on various titles over the years, attaching themselves to some pretty big names.
But now, it all looks to be over. Rune II released for PC only this week, but the developer revealed that it had shut down Bethesda Softworks has created a new studio – Roundhouse Studios – to accommodate the change.
Their first major hit was the original Prey, which went on to become something of an icon for niche and story-driven games. The studio worked on a variety of different titles since then. Human Head worked on BioShock Infinite and Batman: Arkham Origins, and several other titles after the 1997 cult classic.
Creative director Chris Rhinehardt announced the change in an official statement, saying that he and other staff were ‘devastated’ by the reality of the situation. But they resolved to remain together, and admirable goal so as he says, “We reached out to our friends at Bethesda for help, and they saw the same creativity and passion in our team. With the formation of Roundhouse Studios, Bethesda offered every employee of Human Head a position at the new company,” he explained and continued, “We are excited our team will remain together, pursuing the work we love, as part of a company we already know and admire.”
“While sorry to hear of their challenges as Human Head Studios, we were excited by the opportunity to bring under the Bethesda umbrella this talented, established development team and we are delighted that the entire staff will remain together and is now part of the Bethesda family.” Bethesda senior vice president of development Todd Vaughn said.
The new formation will join Alpha Dog Games, Tango Gameworks, MachineGames, Arkane Studios, Zenimax Online, Id Software, and Bethesda Game Studios; all also owned by ZeniMax Media, under the Zenimax parent company of Bethesda’s brands. No details yet on what their newest projects will be, but we will keep you posted.
As for publisher Ragnarok, they apparently didn’t see this coming. The company had been helping to financially support the development team during work on Rune II. According to statements to the fans, “we found out about this news when you did.” Only time will tell how this all plays out.