Haden Blackman, writer and director of the recent Mafia games, is stepping down as the head of 2K’s Hangar 13. The internal communication announcing his departure was shared with VentureBeat and stated that he “is leaving the company to pursue his passion at a new endeavor.” The former LucasArts developer oversaw some of the recent titles in the Mafia franchise. These include Mafia 3 as its director and Mafia: Definitive Edition as the lead writer. Along with this news came word of a potential Mafia prequel in the works.
Blackman has had a storied history in game development. He began his career in gaming as a part of LucasArts in the early 2000s. Back then, he was a writer that worked on titles like Star Wars: Starfighter. He would eventually go on to be the director and lead writer of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. He’s gone on to do other things as well, like writing for DC and Marvel Comics. In 2014, he established Hangar 13 within 2K Games.
Hangar 13’s wild ride
Mafia 3 was Hangar 13’s first major release, and it came out to fairly mixed reception. Since then, Hanger 13 had a rough few years, suffering lay-offs and game cancellations. However, its next major release, Mafia: Definitive Edition, was hailed as a faithful remake of the original game. Hanger 13 also assisted the development of other titles, including Borderlands: The Handsome Collection.
Upon Blackman’s departure, Nick Baynes will lead Hangar 13. Baynes is currently the head of the studio’s Brighton, UK office. According to Kotaku, this studio is currently developing the next entry in the Mafia series. Code-named ‘Nero,’ it’s still early in development and seems to be a prequel to the original game. They also claim that it’ll ditch the engine used for Mafia 3 in favor of Unreal Engine 5. As of now, there’s no confirmation for this, so take it with a pinch of salt.
Blackman’s departure from Hangar 13 is a major event for the studio and future Mafia titles. Time will tell how it affects the developer moving forward. It’ll also be exciting to see what Blackman does next and whether he’ll find another position in game development.
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