Sega recently hit the pause button on their ambitious game Hyenas.
This wasn’t just any other game. According to insiders, it boasted the most significant budget in Sega’s history. The news came after its beta launch on September 17 and has left many in the gaming community disappointed.
So, what led to the downfall? A deep dive into the game’s backstage chronicles to find the answer.
The famed Creative Assembly, known for hits like Alien Isolation and various Total War games, was at the helm of Hyenas.
Drawing inspiration from big-ticket games like Destiny and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, their goal was simple – a game where players combat both AI and real-life players in a post-apocalyptic Earth.
The scene? Earth, in ruins, governed by the elite, where survival meant theft. Think of it as a blend of Han Solo and Firefly in a high-risk, high-reward universe.
However, the journey wasn’t smooth.
Insiders pointed to a “total lack of direction” and alleged leadership issues.
An unexpected twist came when the game’s engine swapped halfway.
And with Hyenas trying to carve a niche in an already populated gaming arena, it was definitely evident that the game’s unique proposition was on the wrong track.
Then, a fresh perspective came from Neill Blomkamp, the creative mind behind movies like District 9.
He proposed a twist: players would scavenge Earth’s vintage items, like old vinyl records or VHS tapes, in environments that remind fans of Black Friday’s madness. Blomkamp’s approach spawned online memes.
However, even this could not really salvage the situation entirely. The sprawling ambition behind Hyenas saw frequent interventions from Sega’s C-level executives from Japan at the U.K. office, indicating the game’s high stakes.
Despite the efforts, Hyenas faced the axe, along with some other undisclosed Sega projects.
The ripple effects of these were an unexpected round of layoffs at Creative Assembly. Unfortunately, many of those affected weren’t even directly linked to the Hyenas project, leading to an atmosphere of resentment.
Despite the setback, Creative Assembly is nowhere near backing out. Their next launch, Total War: Pharaoh, is queued up for an October 11 release. The tale of Hyenas serves as a reminder of the stark unpredictability in the domain of gaming and game development. Even with the most impressive budgets and grand ambitions, success isn’t always guaranteed. For fans, it’s a bittersweet moment as they ponder on the possibilities of what Hyenas could have been.