2K’s once shiny new studio, Hangar 13 has only made one game since its inception in 2014. Now it looks like that’s about to change. Following the announcement that the Californian-based studio has opened another branch in the UK – Hangar 13 Brighton- we sat down with the Mafia III creators to find out what they were working on.
Sorry Mafia fans, it turns out it’s not Mafia IV.
“We’re working on a new IP,” reveals Hangar 13’s VP of Development, Andy Wilson. “[While] narrative is sort of a central pillar of our studio, I think you can expect us to not necessarily be in the same genre [as Mafia III]. Maybe it will be single player, maybe it won’t…”
Aside from that slight multiplayer tease, Wilson goes on to suggest that this new project will be something “unique,” stating that he believes this brand new franchise will be something that really “surprises” gamers.
“The project we’re working on right now is something that I think is incredibly unique, but also something that I think is going to appeal to a hell of a lot of people.”
While the team remained tight-lipped when it came to concrete details on its new game, it looks like gamers might have to wait awhile longer before they get fully-fledged announcement of the mysterious new title. “It’s going to be awhile before we come back and announce anything” confirms Wilson, “but when we do, I think it’s going to surprise people in a very positive way.”
Despite the project still being fairly early in development, Hangar 13 already hints that its second game could once again, deliver a socially aware narrative. “Stories that are about something, that was kind of our hallmark with Mafia III and I think it will be a studio hallmark moving forward,” teases the studio’s Narrative Director, Bill Harms. “[We want] to create the sense that there’s more to the world and the story and the characters than just what you directly see in the game.”
Considering the publisher’s recent releases, a bold new IP definitely wasn’t what many would expect from 2K. With its 2018’s slate only comprising of NBA 2K19, WWE 2K19 and er, Carnival Games, it’s pretty much business as usual for the 13-year-old publisher. Yet, according to Wilson, appearances can be deceiving:
“2K is not a company that’s afraid of taking a risk. We’re actually asked to take creative risks so that we can find some clear blue ocean and not just hop on any [current gaming] bandwagon or copy something that someone else has done.”
“Certainly, there are things happening at the moment, everybody’s jumping on Battle Royale, and they’re welcome to do that — but that’s not what we’re really about. We start from the standpoint of ‘what’s the most exciting game as a studio that we want to make?’”
With games like What Remains of Edith Finch raising the bar for storytelling in videogames, the team hint that it really wants to push the interactive nature of gaming with its next game.
“Over the last few years, you’ve seen some studios, particularly studios like Naughty Dog, really step up and made great narratives. And we hope we’re included in that conversation as well,” says Wilson. “For me, I want to use what’s unique about games to tell stories in different ways, but to do it in a mature way and to do it in a way that feels integrated into the experience, as opposed to ‘play for a bit watch a cutscene and repeat.’
“There’s always going to be a little bit of that [in a game] but I think there’s an opportunity ahead as technology improves to kind of do some special, special storytelling that focuses on what’s unique to games as opposed to other mediums.”
At this point, it’s difficult to know what to expect from this mysterious new game. But, if the looks of quiet confidence on Hangar 13’s faces are anything to go by, 2K might just have an ace up its sleeve.