Bethesda Brings Human Head Studios Staff Into New Original Studio

The entire staff of Human Heads Studios will work as Roundhouse Studios under the Bethesda flag and start work on "unannounced projects."

The development team formerly working under Human Head Studios has joined Bethesda under a new studio name, Bethesda announced this morning in a press release. The Maryland-based publisher opened Roundhouse Studios in Wisconsin, where Human Head Studios is based, and the team “will immediately begin work on unannounced projects at Bethesda.”

It appears that this marks the official closing of Human Head Studios. However, at Roundhouse Studios, all staff will be kept together under their new Bethesda umbrella.

“Sadly, we had to wind down the business of Human Head Studios and close its doors, which was particularly devastating due to the passion and creativity of the team we’d assembled,” Chris Rhinehart, now Creative Director for Roundhouse Studios, said in the press release. Rhinehard was previously listed as the Project Director for Human Head Studios according to the studio’s site, which is still up at time of publication.

“We reached out to our friends at Bethesda for help, and they saw that 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. We are excited our team will remain together, pursuing the work we love, as part of a company we already know and admire.”

Todd Vaughn, Senior Vice President of Bethesda, acknowledged the closing as well, but confirmed that staff will stay together.

“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,” Vaughn said in the press release. “We are delighted that the entire staff will remain together and is now part of the Bethesda family.”

Founded in 1997,  it’s most well-known for the 2000 action-adventure title Rune. It became a renowned Viking-themed game that later received and a pen-and-paper edition.

Rune 2  is planned for 2020, and it’s still listed on the Steam store for sale at this article’s time of publication.

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Human Heads Studio was responsible for the original Prey  2006 game, in which a Cherokee bar is abducted by aliens. The protagonist, Tommy, and others must fight their way off and stop the aliens from causing further harm to humans. A sequel, known as Prey 2 , was confirmed as in the works with Bethesda as a publisher, but it was cancelled before its release. The 2017 game Prey, developed by Arkane Studios under Bethesda, is known as a semi-kind-of-official reboot.

They’re known as well for Dead Man’s Hand, a 2004 wild-west-themed first-person shooter, and 2018’s critically-panned The Quiet Man, an action-adventure focused around a deaf protagonist.

The studio also contributed development labor and efforts to a number of AAA titles. For Bethesda, they assisted in Brink; they also contributed towards Bioshock Infinite for 2K Games and Batman: Arkham Origins for Warner Brothers.

According to Bethesda, this is the second development team to be acquired by the studio and publisher. Last month, it acquired Alpha Dog Games, a mobile-focused studio that published Wraithborne and Monstrocity: Rampage.


Victoria Rose

Victoria is a Brooklyn-based, chaotic-good former dungeon master and a Contributor-At-Large for Fanbyte. She's a self-proclaimed esports pundit, and used to do Dota 2 news and reporting as a full-time part-time gig. She's also four red pandas stacked in a hoodie. [she/her/hers or they/their/theirs]

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