Mafia 3 Developer Hangar 13 Expands To Fourth Studio

The move is one that will hopefully reinvigorate triple-A console game development in the UK and eliminate cultural blind spots for the team.

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Hanger 18, the team behind Mafia III, was unfortunately hit with layoffs back in February. Now, 2k is expanding the team by taking over an indie studio in the UK. One of the catalysts for this move is Split/Second developer Black Rock closing in 2011 and Hanger 13's Andy Wilson hopes this will jumpstart console game development in the UK.

"This is a specific choice for us," Hangar 13's VP of development Andy Wilson tells GamesIndustry.biz. "It's actually based on the fact that Nick and I used to work together at Black Rock, going back longer than I am prepared to say. At GDC last year we met up, and Nick had formed a smallish studio with some of our former colleagues from the Split/Second team. They were interested in getting back into console development. Back then we needed a partner for some contracting work, so we started out that way. As the year went on, things were going well and it became apparent we had a big opportunity, because Brighton and the South East has this vast pool of talent, with console experience, but there's a lack of console development going on in the UK."

Mafia III tackled some heavy and controversial topics. The team recognizes that and the benefit of increased diversity and representation, but want to cover an even wider range of topics. Hanger 13 is a three-studio team and this new fourth studio is a way to expound upon this initiative.

"If you look at Mafia III, we tackled some difficult subject matter," Wilson says. "It required a careful hand. We had a responsibility to do that properly. One of the things that we recognized during the development of that game is that it's easy to develop cultural blind spots, and to end up building a game that makes sense in one part of the world, but really doesn't in another. Our ambition is to make games that are loved all over. The more we can do to diversify the teams, then the more we protect ourselves from potential blind spots."

In a Mafia III post-mortem, a journalist casually dropped that a new BioShock was being worked on by some of the Hangar 13 staff. Nothing has been revealed regarding this since then and there likely won't be a reveal during E3 next month, but it looks like 2k and Hangar 13 have a longterm plan in place. Stay tuned to Shacknews for more updates.

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