Last night, Take-Two Interactive's quarterly earnings report mentioned a $53 million (£39 million) "impairment charge", related to their decision to cease development on an unannounced project. According to a number of reports, that project was a third-person action game from Mafia 3 developers Hangar 13 that would've featured superheroes and online play.
Bloomberg (watch out for the paywall) report that the game, codenamed Volt, had been through several iterations since its inception in 2017. The most recent version had struggled due to "reboots, technical hiccups and challenges caused by Covid-19".
It would've been an entirely new game for Hangar 13, who previously worked the Mafia series, and would've reportedly featured superheroes competing online. Kotaku report that it was intended to be an arcadey, three-player, third-person action game "in the vein of Destiny." Their sources also say that Volt was short for Voltron, as the game would've featured enemies that could combine together to make even tougher enemies.
Unfortunately, Bloomberg's sources said 2K executives didn't see Volt as worthwhile because of how much time it needed to become a finished product. Kotaku's sources said that Take-Two thought it was "commercially unviable" with current "industry challenges".
They don't specify what those "challenges" are, but I'm curious if it has anything to do with the reception of big-budget live service games, like what Volt seemed to be, over the last few years. We had BioWare's Anthem in 2019, which I hoped would be a cool online sci-fi romp, but it just wasn't - EA gave up on it entirely and binned plans for an overhaul earlier this year. Then we had Marvel's Avengers in 2020, which was also very "meh". Square Enix called the outcome of that game "disappointing" in their annual earnings report yesterday.
"Hangar 13’s latest project was creatively ambitious and exciting," a 2K spokesperson told Kotaku. "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."
2K announced more bad news for superheroes last night. Midnight Suns, the XCOM-style Marvel game, has been delayed into the second half of 2022.