Hangar 13 studio head Haden Blackman has departed from the company. In an announcement made internally earlier this week and shared with several media outlets, owners 2K Games said that Haden was “leaving the company to pursue his passion at a new endeavor.” Meanwhile, anonymous sources talking to Kotaku say that a Mafia prequel is in early development.
Nick Baynes, studio head of Hangar 13’s Brighton office will taken over Blackman’s role at the head of the company. “With 30 years of industry leadership experience, Nick joined Hangar 13 in 2018 to establish Hangar 13 Brighton, and has spent the last four years growing the team, building up the studio’s capabilities, and launching terrific projects like Mafia: Definitive Edition and the Mafia Trilogy,” says the announcement.
Although the announcement doesn’t mention it, it looks like Blackman wasn’t the only departure, with chief operating officer Matthew Urban also leaving the company according to a post on LinkedIn.
According to Kotaku’s sources, the new Mafia game will use Unreal Engine 5 rather than the Mafia 3 engine used for that game and the recent remasters. The switch would continue a trend of developers moving from in-house engines to Unreal, including the next The Witcher game and Tomb Raider game.
There’s seemingly never been a calm moment for Hangar 13. Several of the company’s creative leads left after the launch of Mafia 3, which shipped with bugs and other issues. The studio then had massive layoffs in 2018. Last year, 2K Games reportedly shut down an unannounced superhero game under development at the studio, in which they’d invested $53 million.
Mafia 1 was one of my favourite games, once upon a time. I don’t know if I have a huge appetite to go back to the series, but I do want more people to make city-set open world games around the margins of what Rockstar do. Hopefully Hangar 13 make something interesting.