Hangar 13 Studio Head Steps Down; Mafia IV Prequel in Development with UE5

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[UPDATE] Kotaku has revealed that Hangar 13 has recently begun working on a Mafia IV project codenamed Nero. According to the anonymous sources, the game will be a prequel made with Unreal Engine 5 technology instead of the in-house engine used for Mafia III and Mafia: Definitive Edition.

[ORIGINAL STORY] Hangar 13 founder, president, and chief creative officer Haden Blackman is stepping down from his position, as reported today by GamesIndustry.biz, to pursue his passion in a new endeavor. He will be replaced by the current head of the Brighton office, Nick Baynes.

Take-Two Canceled Hangar 13’s New Game After Spending $53 Million on It

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.

For his part, Blackman described his career at Hangar 13 with the following blurb on his LinkedIn page.

Built Hangar 13 (a 2K studio) from one individual developer into a talented, cross-functional team operating across locations in California and the Czech Republic in order to deliver MAFIA III, an ambitious open world game set in 1968 New Orleans. Defined studio vision and strategy, and business, production, and creative goals. Oversaw all aspects of MAFIA III development from earliest inception to the release of all post-launch content. Developed on proprietary technology and released across multiple platforms, MAFIA III has been heralded as a "cultural milestone" and a template for narrative and story-telling in AAA games. It has currently reached nearly 20 million players.

In 2018, expanded Hangar 13 to include a fourth site in Brighton (UK). Led growth, strategy, and creative across all sites, along with development of original IP. Defined and delivered to five-year plan. Led creative and production development of MAFIA: The Definitive Edition and the MAFIA Trilogy, both of which released across multiple platforms in 2020 and exceeded critical and commercial goals. Currently manage studio GMs, COO, and creative leads across all sites while leading development of multiple unannounced titles. Winner of the 2021 GamesIndustry.biz US Best Boss Award.

One of the most interesting tidbits is his confirmation that Mafia III has 'reached' nearly 20 million players. That said, the figure likely includes demo downloads; last we heard, the game had sold 7 million units as of two years ago.

Hangar 13 did encounter two major setbacks during Blackman's tenure, anyway. The studio had to cancel two games, Project Rhapsody (a game set in 1980s Berlin) and Volt (a sci-fi title with supernatural elements that cost 2K Games $53 million). The latter's cancellation is recent, making it unlikely that we'll hear about the studio's next game in the near future.

Products mentioned in this post

Mafia: Definitive Edition
Mafia: Definitive Edition
USD 29.99

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