Cursed Mafia III Studio Hangar 13 Hit With New Round Of Layoffs After Projects Canceled

The main character of Mafia III looks over his shoulder while holding a rifle.

ImageHangar 13 / 2K

Hangar 13 can’t take a break. The studio behind Mafia IIIthat went through several rounds of layoffs in the years after its launch in 2016, is once again on the chopping block. Kotaku has learned that in addition to a steady stream of departures, developers from the studio’s three global sites have been laid off, with nearly 50 being laid off at Hangar 13’s 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 Hangar 13’s office in Brighton, UK, told Novato staff at a meeting today, according to a recording obtained by Kotaku† “I’m sorry I’m not here to deliver this message. I’ll be by soon. I know you need some local leadership and structure and we are working on it.”

Of the roughly 87 staff members currently assigned to the Novato facility, just under 50 will be laid off, according to a source familiar with the decision. When Mafia III originally shipped, the Novato studio had more than 100 full-time employees.

A 2K spokesperson confirmed the layoffs in a statement, but declined to comment further:

2K is fully committed to the future of Hangar 13 as the studio goes through a challenging but ultimately promising transition period. As part of our ongoing reviews to ensure our resources are aligned with our goals, we made some changes that resulted in a reduction in positions and farewell to some colleagues. These decisions are always difficult. We are committed to working with affected employees to find new roles for other projects and teams at 2K, and we provide full support to those who cannot be redeployed, connecting them to industry networks and resources to find new opportunities outside the 2K.

After shipment Mafia III, Hangar 13, which also contains the remains of 2K Czech, has prototyped some of the original IPs. But the studio faced with layoffs in 2017 and 2018, eventually seeing most of its new projects canceled, including one code-named Volt, which parent company Take-Two quietly closed last November, despite already having more than $50 million invested in it. The rapid cancellations left hundreds of developers without a project.

Since then, many developers at Hangar 13 have been switching aimlessly from one Take-Two game to another. if Kotaku reported earlier this monththe Brighton office is currently running early production on a new mafia prequel that will be built in Unreal Engine 5. The game is currently slated for Italy. But Take-Two also treats Hangar 13 as an “in-source” studio and uses it to help develop its other published games like Tiny Tina’s WonderlandsKerbal Space Program 2and Marvel’s Midnight Sun

As developers have completed their tasks for some of those projects, some have shifted to the mafia precursor. Others have joined “Project Hammer”, which: Kotaku understands as a return of the beloved Top Spin tennis series, and is expected to launch for the new mafia† Baynes said at the meeting that Hangar 13 plans to focus almost exclusively on both franchises.

Some of the remaining developers are jumping and it now looks like 2K has made the decision to fire the rest. It’s not clear the extent of the layoffs abroad, but Baynes said during the call that those affected might still consider moving into other roles within the larger 2K organization.

“Hopefully as many of you all, but hopefully as many of you as possible, stay with us and give us some time to make things right and better in the future,” he said at the meeting. “But I do understand that it’s probably been a bit of a rough time 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 downplay those fears. “Everyone still here, we want you here as part of our future,” he said.

Update: 26/5/22 3:07 PM ET: Added commentary from 2K.

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