For roughly two decades, the Mafia IP has made a complete full circle as of fall 2020. While the original game shared to be a unique release at its time with respected sequels that followed as time progressed, developer Hanger 13 shipped a complete remake of the game with visuals and gameplay mechanics from the ground up.
As for the direction the series is heading next, it draws the question as to what the firm has planned. For the latest release, it is certain that the team has crafted a new system to push the envelope of capable consoles. However, we have yet to receive a native version on Xbox Series or even PlayStation 5. Despite that, it is evident that the current hardware could iron out problems on last-gen devices and deliver more fluid results as well.
While there is still no confirmation as to what the team is officially working on, Kotaku reports that Hanger 13 is now working on a prequel of sorts to the original trilogy. The new information is sourced from the recent departure of studio head Haden Blackman. Blackman worked at the firm for seven years – namely on the development of Mafia III with previous involvement at LucasArts Games prior to joining Hanger 13.
“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,” 2K told in a statement intercepted by VentureBeat. “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.”
In regards to the unannounced prequel, it is said to be in development with Hangar 13 Brighton studio head Nick Baynes now taking Blackman’s position. Although the basis of the game is left unanswered, the project is told to be crafted with Unreal Engine 5 which is sure to open some eyes. This will be a transition away from the unique engine used for the remastered trilogy we experience previously.
“With 30 years of industry leadership experience, Nick joined Hangar 13 in 2018 to establish Hangar 13 Brighton, and has spent the last four years growing the team, building up the studio’s capabilities, and launching terrific projects like Mafia: Definitive Edition and the Mafia Trilogy,” another statement from 2K made to its staff reads.
Additionally, the departure of Blackman as well as Hangar 13 chief operating officer Matthew Urban does signify other projects being shelved indefinitely outside of the Mafia IP. In that, Jason Schreier reported that Hanger 13 was working on a new sci-fi project back in 2021, but Kotaku wagers that the game has been abandoned. You can read the full report by heading here.
Are you interested in a new Mafia game predating the original trilogy?