Mafia 3 developer Hanger 13’s studio head and founder Haden Blackman is stepping down from the company and 2K after seven years.
Blackman will be replaced by Nick Baynes, who has 30 years of industry leadership experience and joined Hanger 13 in 2018 to start Hanger 13 Brighton. He was responsible for launching Mafia: Definitive Edition and the Mafia Trilogy.
Blackman spent his early game development years at LucasArts and was a producer on Star Wars: Galaxies, the project lead on Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, and more. He also wrote several Star Wars comics, including Jango Fett: Open Seasons, Star Wars: Starfighter, and Darth Vader & The Ghost Prison.
While Blackman’s next move was not revealed, 2K did say that he is leaving the company to “pursue his passion at a new endeavor.”
2K shared the internal announcement of Blackman’s departure with IGN, which shares 2K’s gratefulness 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.”
“Hello team, It’s with mixed emotions that I share with you several leadership updates from Hangar 13,” 2K’s internal announcement reads. “Haden Blackman is stepping down as Studio Head of Hangar 13, and is leaving the company to pursue his passion at a new endeavor.
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“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. 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.
“Nick Baynes, Studio Head of Hangar 13 Brighton will take over as Studio Head of Hangar 13. 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.
“I hope you’ll join me in thanking Haden and wishing him the best, and congratulating Nick on a well-deserved promotion. While change can be challenging, it can also breed new opportunities and success.
“We are confident the studio is in great hands heading into the multiple projects currently under way, and the team has 2K’s full support.”
Mafia 3 was released in 2016 and, in our review, we said that its “strong characters and confident storytelling kept me engaged, even if the gameplay rarely delivered anything but bog-standard and repetitive open-world action.”
Hanger 13 was founded in 2014 by 2K with Blackman at the helm and Mafia 3 has been the only new title the studio has released since then. In 2018, Hanger 13 was hit with “significant” layoffs. The studio would continue on to work with Gearbox Software on Borderlands: The Handsome Collection and the previously mentioned Mafia Trilogy.
In 2021, a Bloomberg report shared that Hanger 13’s unannounced game Volt was cancelled after costing the company $53 million. The studio is currently hiring for another unannounced project.
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