Hangar 13 cannot pause. The studio behind Mafia 3which has suffered several rounds of layoffs in the years since its launch in 2016, is on the chopping block again. Kotaku learned that in addition to a steady stream of departures, developers at the studio’s three global locations have been laid off, including nearly 50 laid off at the Hangar 13 office in Novato, California. The news comes shortly after former studio head Haden Blackman resigned earlier this month.
“I know it sucks,” Blackman’s successor, Nick Baynes, head of the Hangar 13 office in Brighton, UK, told Novato staff during a meeting today, according to a recording obtained by Kotaku. “I’m sorry I’m not there to deliver this message. I will come soon. I know you need local leadership and structure and we are working on it.
Of the approximately 87 employees currently assigned to the Novato facility, just under 50 will be cut, according to a source familiar with the decision. When Mafia 3 originally shipped, the Novato studio had over 100 full-time employees.
A 2K spokesperson confirmed the layoffs in a statement, but would not comment further:
2K is fully committed to the future of Hangar 13 as the studio navigates a difficult but ultimately promising period of transition. As part of our ongoing assessments to ensure our resources are aligned with our objectives, we have made changes that have resulted in reduced positions and separations with some colleagues. These decisions are always difficult. We make every effort to work with affected employees to find them new roles on other projects and teams at 2K, and provide comprehensive support to those who cannot be redeployed, connecting them to networks and resources of industry to find new opportunities outside of 2K.
After shipment Mafia 3, Hangar 13, which also includes the remains of 2K Czech, prototyped a number of original IPs. But the workshop dismissed in 2017 and 2018, and ultimately saw most of its new projects cancelled, including a codename Volt, which parent company Take-Two quietly shut down last November after it had already invested more than $50 million in it. Quick cancellations left hundreds of developers without a project.
Since then, many Hangar 13 developers have been jumping aimlessly from one Take-Two game to another. Like Kotaku reported earlier this monththe Brighton office is currently leading the preliminary production of a new Mafia prequel that will be built in Unreal Engine 5. The game is currently scheduled to take place in Italy. But Take-Two has also treated Hangar 13 as an “in-source” studio, using it to help develop its other published games like The wonders of Tiny Tina, Kerbal Space Program 2and Marvel’s Midnight Suns.
While the developers have completed their tasks on some of these projects, some have been transferred to the Mafia prequel. Others joined “Project Hammer”, which Kotaku understands to be a return of the beloved top-spin tennis series, and should be launched before the new Mafia. Baynes said during the reunion that the plan is for Hangar 13 to focus almost exclusively on those two franchises going forward.
Some of the remaining developers have jumped ship, and now it looks like 2K has made the decision to fire the rest. The extent of the overseas layoffs is unclear, but Baynes said on the call that those affected could still seek to transfer to other roles within the larger 2K organization.
“I hope as many of you as possible, hopefully all of you, but I hope that as many of you as possible will stick with us and give us time to sort things out and make things better in the future. future,” he said at the meeting. “But I understand it’s probably been a bit difficult lately, culminating in some of the news yesterday.”
A big question is whether there will be more layoffs in the future. But Baynes tried to play down those fears. “Anyone who is still here, we want you to be here as part of our future,” he said.
Updated: 5/26/22 3:07 PM ET: Added 2K comment.
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