Multiplayer shooter HYENAS was in development at Total War and Alien: Isolation studio Creative Assembly for quite some time, and Sega was clearly positioning it as a major tentpole title in its lineup of upcoming titles. In September, however, the company announced that the game had been cancelled, leading to layoffs at Creative Assembly. Now, in the aftermath of HYENAS’ cancellation, the Japanese company says that Creative Assembly will go back to focusing on development of strategy games.
During Sega Sammy’s recent quarterly earnings call, CEO Haruki Satomi touched on the topic of the shooter’s cancellation, and implied that Creative Assembly – a studio that has traditionally had expertise in offline-focused and real-time strategy games – was unable to convincingly transition to working on a live service multiplayer shooter. Now, following HYENAS’ cancellation, Satomi says Creative Assembly (and other Sega studios) will once again focus on their strengths.
“Each studio has its own strengths and weaknesses, but the favorable winds of the early COVID-19 period, coupled with the strong performance of each title, led us to adopt a strategy of accelerating more, even in areas where those studios have not tried yet for further growth,” Satomi said (transcription via VGC). “However, some studios did well and some did not, so we have decided to focus again on the strengths of each studio.
“To put it simply, Creative Assembly was good at offline games in the RTS genre, but they took on the challenge of developing HYENAS, an online game in the FPS genre.
“However, although the game itself was good, we decided to cancel the development of HYENAS because we did not think it would reach a quality that would satisfy our users when we considered whether we could really operate this as a competitive online game for a long period of time.”
Following HYENAS’ cancellation it was claimed that the game had the largest ever development budget for a Sega title, but struggled with behind-the-scenes production issues like a lack of clear direction from the leadership a switch in engines partway through development.