Kotaku is reporting that developer Hangar 13’s UK Studio in Brighton is leading the development of a Mafia prequel sets before the events of the Mafia trilogy.
According to the report, the game’s codename is Nero and is being made in Unreal Engine 5, instead of the Mafia 3 engine that was used for the Mafia Trilogy that was released in 2020. Kotaku’s report comes right after Hangar 13’s internal announcement that its studio head Haden Blackman is leaving the developer and their parent company 2K, who is stepping down in order to “pursue his passion at a new endeavour” according to an announcement initially shared to the staff at the studio, this is via GameIndustry.biz.
It was claimed in November that 2K had cancelled a new title from Hangar 13, called Codename Volt, which had reportedly been in development in various forms since 2017. An earlier leak describing Volt as an “open-world sci-fi title with supernatural elements” and “Cthulhu meets Saints Row“. However, people said to be familiar with 2K’s decision told Bloomberg that work on the unannounced project had stopped. The writer of that article, Jason Schreier, claimed at the time that Volt was a new IP and rumours of Hangar 13 making a Mafia 4 “were always false, aside from their early attempts in 2016-2017.”
If Kotaku’s article is accurate, then the development of the new Mafia game is at a very early stage, meaning Schreier’s comments were still likely accurate when they were made. The last original Mafia game was Mafia III in 2016, which received mixed or average reviews of a 68% on Metacritic which included a 7.5 out of 10 from IGN.
The series has 17 million copies in total worldwide and started all the way back in 2002 with Mafia which released on the PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC. Since then, there has been Mafia II in 2010, and Mafia III, along with remasters of all three games, but fans have been patiently waiting for an original title from Hangar 13 for quite some time now.