Bad news on the Mafia front. Haden Blackman is officially stepping down as head of Hangar 13, which is the studio behind Mafia 3. The studio also paired with 2K to release that title, and now Blackman is saying goodbye to that publisher as well. According to a release given by 2K, Blackman stated that he is leaving to “pursue his passion at a new endeavor.” This is increasingly bad news considering Mafia 4 is currently in its pre-production stages and switching hands might cause some unwanted delays.
Heading up Hangar 13 now is Nick Baynes, who has been at the studio since 2018. He was in charge of Hangar 13 Brighton, which is the UK office. Baynes’s leadership has led to the man now getting a shot at running the entire show. However, what was not included in the email from 2K is that another bigwig at Hangar 13 has also stepped down. Matthew Urban, Hangar 13’s COO (chief operating officer) has also seen fit to leave the studio behind. This exodus of two of the biggest executive names for Hangar 13 does not bode well for the studio. With how many delays have been ongoing as of late, Mafia 4 might be faced with the huge issue of hiring new higher-ups to take on the stress of a new title.
This is sad development considering Mafia 3 has been the best out of the series so far. Mafia 4 is being rumored as a prequel to the entire trilogy, and the development title is Nero. Also, it has been rumored that the new entry will be made in the Unreal Engine 5 versus the Mafia 3 engine that was used for that game and the Mafia and Mafia 2 remasters that were recently made.
Haden Blackman had originally founded Hanger 13 back in 2014. He previously held the title of creative director for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and Star Wars: Galaxies. It stands to reason that the passion that he is chasing might be involved with the plethora of Star Wars games that are currently being worked on. Especially with working on Star Wars: Galaxies, the man who has to know quite a great deal about the sci-fi mythos to be a creative director for such an expansive game. Blackman could have seen a better opportunity to take his talents back into the world of Star Wars. His style will certainly be missed, especially with how huge Mafia 4 could have been.
Mafia 4 returning to the prequel side of things is not a surprise though, as the Mafia remaster and remake was fantastic. Hangar 13 might have seen some huge gains in bringing back the old style of mafiosos, and now they want to give fans more of that Tommy gun-wielding side of things. However, historically speaking, the mafia did exist well into the 1970s and 1980s. Mafia 3 takes place in the 1960s, so they could have continued in history in that regard. Whatever happens, the hope is that Nick Baynes will do what’s right and get Mafia 4 out in the next few years or so. We are more than excited to see where this franchise heads next.