Take-Two revealed in its earnings call today with investors that it had cancelled a $53 million unannounced project. Sources tell Kotaku that game was intended to be a live service, third-person action game in the vein of Destiny, developed by Hangar 13 called Volt. The decision to cancel it took some developers at the studio by surprise, and comes with worries about possible layoffs.
“While the Hangar 13 name and Volt’s working title are not being shared publicly, T2 is announcing today that 2K had made the difficult decision to stop developing on the project,” studio head and founder, Haden Blackman, wrote in an email to staff, according to a copy viewed by Kotaku. “I know this likely comes as a shock, but I wanted you to hear it from me first and provide some context.”
Blackman wrote that despite high tests internally, Take-Two had determined the costs of development amidst the current “industry challenges” would make it “commercially unviable.”
“We are confident that there are many opportunities for H13 employees to work on other games in development, both at H13 and across the label,” he wrote. “2K has also assured me that the company believes H13 can deliver a critical and commercial success, and we will begin developing future projects soon.”
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As first reported by Bloomberg, Volt had been in development since 2017, and gone through different iterations. Sources told Kotaku that one of the unique aspects of the three-player coop game was tech that could see enemies combine together into more challenging foes. The action was described as arcadey, with tank, healer, and DPS roles, and lots of traversal. The code name was short for Voltron.
The project’s cancellation affects close to 200 people, sources told Kotaku.
Hangar 13 was established by 2K Games in 2014 and announced Mafia III a year later. The game released in 2016, but didn’t reach the Metacritic score or sales figures parent company Take-Two had hoped for. The studio had expected to make Mafia IV, but those plans were canned. Instead it began work on a new IP called Rhapsody, Kotaku reported back in 2018, but that project never materialized. Today, it appears Rhapsody eventually morphed into Volt.
As a result of those struggles, the studio went through layoffs in 2017 and 2018. A meeting is set to take place on Thursday to discuss the studio’s future. Many of its developers are still working remotely due to the pandemic.
Publisher 2K Games did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Update: 11/3/21, 10:16 p.m. ET: A spokesperson for 2K provided Kotaku with the following statement:
Hangar 13’s latest project was creatively ambitious and exciting. When we pursue new intellectual properties, we occasionally may encounter situations that call for cancellation. We encourage our teams to pursue their passions and take creative risks, balanced against prudent commercial and financial decisions and our unwavering commitment to delivering the best entertainment experiences. We have full confidence in Hangar 13’s leadership and development team and believe that they can and will deliver critical and commercial successes in the future. Hangar 13’s leadership is working closely with 2K to ensure that Hangar 13 team members continue to do meaningful work, either as part of Hangar 13 or on one of our other development teams.