A new Mafia game is reportedly in development under new studio leadership
2K Games confirmed today that Haden Blackman, the longtime president and chief creative officer of Mafia studio Hangar 13, is leaving the company. Word of Blackman’s departure comes alongside a Kotaku report saying that a new Mafia game is now in the early stages of development.
“It’s with mixed emotions that I share with you several leadership updates from Hangar 13,” 2K wrote in an internal memo shared with PC Gamer. “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.”
Blackman will be replaced by Nick Baynes, who joined Hangar 13 in 2018 to establish and lead the studio’s Brighton office.
“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 wrote. “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.”
Blackman isn’t the only Hangar 13 executive to depart the studio in recent days. Chief operating officer Matthew Urban has also moved on, according to his LinkedIn page, which indicates that he ended his time at the studio sometime in May 2022. “What an amazing ride at H13,” Urban wrote on the site. “Let’s see what is next.”
It’s been a rough half-decade for Hangar 13. After launching the decidedly-not-great Mafia 3 in 2016, the studio underwent “significant” layoffs in 2018, and had a multiplayer superhero game cancelled after spending $53 million on “multiple iterations” over years of development.
While the Kotaku report only cites one source “familiar with the plans,” a return to Mafia makes sense: Mafia 3 didn’t impress but there was real enthusiasm for Mafia: Definitive Edition, released in 2020, which has a “very positive” ranking across more than 35,000 user reviews on Steam. The new game is reportedly a prequel to the Mafia trilogy, and will ditch the Mafia 3 engine in favor of Unreal Engine 5.
2K Games declined to comment on the Kotaku report.