Awkward is selling a record number of video games and then getting a wave of layoffs anyway. That's what happened to Hangar 13, the studio responsible for 2016's Mafia III. Publisher 2K confirmed a report made by Kotaku that staff reductions have been made at the Californa-based subsidiary.
Speaking in an official capacity for publisher 2K, a spokesperson told GameSpot that "there have been staff reductions at Hangar 13 in order to ensure that the studio's resources are properly aligned with its long-term development plans. These reductions will not influence 2K's ability to create and deliver its products that are currently in development."
"We never take these matters lightly, and are working with the affected employees to support them and explore potential opportunities throughout our organization." The original report from Kotaku's Jason Schreier indicated that a "large portion" of the studio's staff have been laid off.
2K's spokesperson did not provide exact numbers in its confirming statement. Prior to Mafia III's release, Hangar 13's staff count was in the neighborhood of 150 people. Mafia III was the studio's debut game. Their next project had not been announced, but the game was a seeming success, shipping 4.5 million copies to retailers during its launch week, which was a record for 2K at the time.
Critics were mixed in their reception to Mafia III. While praise was given to the game's story and dark themes and its protagonist -- the deeply textured Lincoln Clay -- criticism was leveled at repetitive gameplay, an empty open world and the presence of numerous technical issues at launch. The game received an aggregated score of 66 on OpenCritic.
Still, shipping 4.5 million units for any game is no easy feat. For reference, that year's other major open world game, Watch_Dogs 2 has sold an estimated 4.5 million units to date. Looks like sales success is no longer a guarantee against downsizing.