Split/Second game director heading up Mafia III dev’s new Brighton office

Mafia III developer Hangar 13 is opening a new office in Brighton, headed up by ex-Black Rock Studio director Nick Baynes. The company, which is owned by 2K, is working on a new unannounced triple-A game. Based on Baynes’ experience directing the critically well received Split/Second, it’s likely that whatever the game is, it will involve cars in some way.

In fact, the formation of Hangar 13 Brighton is something of a reunion for Baynes and his old senior producer from their Split/Second days, Andy Wilson. Wilson is Hangar 13’s VP of development at the Novato office and this whole deal started, as many do, with a drink.

“I met Andy Wilson for a beer at GDC last year and told him about my ambitions for the studio that I had just started in Brighton (literally just started – three days before!),” Baynes told us. “Little did I know that the senior team at Hangar 13 in Novato had been considering the potential of a UK studio for a while, but were waiting for the right time to take the idea forward.

“A few months later, Andy got back in touch to pitch me the idea of my team becoming the nucleus of Hangar 13’s UK location. Thanks to the existing working relationship and mutual trust between Andy and myself, over the course of 2017 the conversations began to become more serious about us working together until eventually we officially joined the family earlier this year.”

Wilson believes this shared history will be vital in speedily integrating the new studio into the rest of the company. “There’s a special understanding that develops between people when they ship games together and it’s a huge boost when starting a new team,” he explained to us.

“Making games is a complex, time-consuming process with many phases, so the fact that Nick and I both know how to work together, how we respond under pressure, all of those subtleties, is really important. The founders of the Brighton team are people I’ve wanted to work with again for a long time and we’re really happy to be back making games together.”

And for Brighton it’s a step back towards its glory days before a rash of closures in the area saw the end of NCSoft’s development teams (though its publishing, sales and marketing teams are still going strong), Bizarre Creations and Split/Second developer Black Rock Studio. Baynes reaffirmed his belief in the area and calls for talented devs to join Hangar 13’s new set up.

“A studio in Brighton makes sense for Hangar 13, and not just because of the existing relationships across locations that it provides,” Baynes told us. “The UK, and Brighton, has a world class talent pool with skillsets and areas of expertise that we wouldn’t be able to easily tap into without a studio here. 

"Additionally the proximity to our Brno and Prague locations enhances the already great communication across sites, as well as enabling us to invest in the British and European stars of the future coming through the local education systems. Whether you’re an experienced industry vet, or a student fresh out of university breaking into the industry, we’re looking for talented developers and we want to hear from you.”

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