16/05/2022

Mafia Prequel Rumored To Be In Very Early Development As Hanger 13 Studio Head Departs Company

Hanger 13 are reportedly working on a prequel to the Mafia series, despite the recent announcement their President and CCO was leaving. 

Source: Mafia: Definitive Edition (2020), 2K Games

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VentureBeat reports that publisher 2K Games, in an email to Hanger 13 staff, announced that President and CCO Haden Blackman would be leaving.

The email stated, “It’s with mixed emotions that I share with you several leadership updates from Hangar 13. Haden Blackman is stepping down as Studio Head of Hangar 13, and is leaving the company to pursue his passion at a new endeavor.”

“We are grateful for Haden’s leadership in establishing Hangar 13, building and uniting teams in Novato, Brighton and Czech, and releasing multiple studio-defining Mafia games and collections. What Haden helped build will continue to carry forward and grow for years to come. We support all of our employees pursuing their passions, and we wish nothing but the best for him in what’s next,” the email continued.

Source: Mafia: Definitive Edition (2020), 2K Games

“Nick Baynes, Studio Head of Hangar 13 Brighton will take over as Studio Head of Hangar 13,” 2K explained. “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.”

“I hope you’ll join me in thanking Haden and wishing him the best, and congratulating Nick on a well-deserved promotion. While change can be challenging, it can also breed new opportunities and success,” 2K praised. “We are confident the studio is in great hands heading into the multiple projects currently under way, and the team has 2K’s full support.”

Source: Mafia II: Definitive Edition (2020), 2K Games

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Blackman had worked at Hanger 13 for eight years, since the developer was first formed, and had previously worked at LucasArts for over a decade.

Kotaku added in their coverage that Chief Operating Officer Matthew Urban had also left the studio, citing a LinkedIn post that seems to have been deleted, based on its absence. “What an amazing ride at H13…….let’s see what is next,” Urban reportedly stated. 

Source: Mafia II: Definitive Edition (2020), 2K Games

Kotaku also added in their coverage that, “according to a source familiar with the plans,” Blackman’s departure comes amid a new Mafia game being very early in development.

Hanger 13 Brighton will be leading development on this new Mafia game, code-named “Nero,” and is expected to be a prequel to the Mafia Trilogy, therefore prior to the early 1930s. 

Source: Mafia III: Definitive Edition (2020), 2K Games

Kotaku’s sources also claim the game will use Unreal Engine 5, as opposed to the engine used for the Definitive Edition remasters. 

Worryingly, Kotaku also report that other Hanger 13 staff “are also looking for the door.” Most of the developers are reportedly working remotely, and have been assisting in developing other games published by Take-Two Interactive such as Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands. 

Source: Mafia III: Definitive Edition (2020), 2K Games

What would you expect and hope a new Mafia game to be like? Let us know on social media and in the comments below.

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