Arkane Austin, the studio just finished with fantastique Dishonored DLC The Brigmore Witches, appears to indeed be the team rebooting Prey 2.
That's according to a strong report written by Kotaku, which used internal emails apparently written by Arkane creative director Raphael Colantolio as evidence.
Back in May, Colantolio is quoted as writing:
"Austin has officially been green lit for its own project! This is super exciting of course. Doing a new IP was not a possibility because it's adding risk to the challenge of growth, so after going back and forth with Todd [Howard, presumably], Harvey [Smith], Ricardo [Bare] we decided that Prey 2 presented an interesting opportunity if we could reboot it.
"Zenimax accepted our pitch which was 'the spiritual successor to System Shock '."
Kotaku broke the news shortly after, prompting Colantolio to write another email, which allegedly said:
"Now that the news is out, we'll be contacted left and right by the press sneak f***s who will want to know more. Please don't answer to any of their requests."
Since then Bethesda and Arkane have been cagey and cryptic - even slightly misleading - about what's going on. In an interview published on Rock, Paper, Shotgun this week, Raphael Colantolio is quoted as saying "no" when asked if Arkane was making Prey 2.
"No. We've been looking at where that rumour came from, and I really don't know," was his full quote." And it seems like that comment is what prompted Kotaku's follow-up report.
Bethesda's up-to-date response to Kotaku on all of this was: "We aren't talking about what Arkane is working on and we have no new information to share on Prey 2." I contacted Bethesda this morning but the company is offering no additional comment.
Arkane Austin's Prey 2 will apparently be built from scratch - there are no plans to use anything Human Head had created for it's promising-looking Prey 2.