After the news was unofficially announced at the Develop conference, Mafia III developer Hangar 13 has confirmed that it is working on a new IP.
Former Horizon: Zero Dawn and League of Legends producer Mark Norris revealed via Twitter that he is currently working as the game director for the studio’s new project. While the title is still early in production, previous clues have suggested that it will be another open-world game. Additionally, although details are scant, Mafia III director Haden Blackman mentioned at the conference that the team’s new project is “something a little more inspirational and more uplifting, so the tone of this new thing we’re working on is a little bit different than Mafia III.”
The announcement came during a discussion with Blackman in which he and executive producer Andrew Wilson discussed some of the content cut from the company’s previous title. During the session, Blackman and Wilson discussed a particular scene that was supposed to happen during the game’s opening sequence before ultimately being scrapped:
“It felt exploitative instead of something that really grabbed you and put you in Lincoln’s shoes and made you afraid for him and want to help him, so we ended up cutting it because of the feedback, which was super painful for me personally because it was something I’d pushed forward and championed, and I ended up directing that day’s mocap shoot because it was such sensitive subject matter, and we worked on it for a couple of months. But it was absolutely the right thing to do in hindsight.”
The opening scene was initially going to feature a confrontation between several key characters, including Clay and the mob. During this scene, players would learn how and why Clay left for Vietnam in the first place.
While Blackman defended the decision to remove the scene from a gameplay perspective and how it might affect the player, Wilson explained that the content could have led to a commercial disaster. Apparently, the content was so abhorrent that, should it have leaked, it could have reflected terribly on the company, especially in the event it was disconnected from the remainder of the game and come across as “even more shocking” as a result.
Despite the rocky release of Mafia III, the new IP from Hangar 13 could be what puts the company back on the map. With Norris taking the helm after the whopping success of Horizon: Zero Dawn, players can almost surely expect something special in the coming years.