The head of the Hangar 13 development studio, Haden Blackman, has decided to leave the Mafia III software house after seven years of honorable service, and some rumors suggest that a prequel to the series is in development in Unreal Engine 5.
The 2K publisher has published the news of Haden Blackman's departure in an email sent to the staff, in which he indicated that the LucasArts veteran would continue his passion and his work by directing everything towards a new venture.
The 2K press release reads as follows:
We are truly grateful to Haden for what she has done for Hangar 13, since its foundation. He has created and joined teams in Novato, Brighton, and the Czech Republic, and has developed and published multiple Mafia games that have contributed to the growth and history of the development studio.
Everything Haden helped create will not be abandoned, and will continue to grow for years to come. We support and will always support our employees and their passions, so we can only wish them the best.
The press release continues by indicating the new directives of the development study:
Nick Baynes, head of Hangar 13 Brighton, will take over from Haden Blackman. With 30 years of industry experience behind him, Nick joined Hangar 13 in 2018 founding the Brighton studio, and has spent the last 4 years dedicating himself to growing the team and launching fantastic projects, such as Mafia: Definitive Edition and Mafia Trilogy. .
We trust you will join us in wishing Haden Blackman the best, and congratulating Nick Bayner on his recent and well deserved promotion. While we know that change can be challenging, we also know that it can generate new opportunities for success.
We are confident to leave the studio in good hands for the many projects currently underway, reminding you that you have the full support of 2K.
What 2K fails to mention in the release is that even Matthew Urban, the COO of Hangar 13, has left the development studio, communicating it on his LinkedIn profile with a post in which he writes:
It was a fantastic experience in Hangar 13… let's see what awaits us in the future ”.
Unfortunately, Hangar 13 has always been a fluctuating development team, and these goodbyes are never a good thing.
According to some rumors inside Kotaku, however, Nick Bayner could be driving a new video game in the Mafia series. Obviously these are only rumors, and should be taken as such, at least until there are official communications on the matter.
The project should still be in development under the codename "Nero", and should be a prequel to the series. The plans would be to develop it in Unreal Engine 5, instead of using the same graphics engine as Mafia III, already used for the remastered versions.
Waiting for further developments in this regard, I invite you to read here our article about some rumors of an insider, which talk about GTA 6 and its development.