A week after the cancellation of Creative Assembly’s Hyenas, a new video has dug into what went wrong with the extraction shooter. Sources speaking to YouTuber Volound (and further corroborated by VGC) claim the failed game was plagued with several development woes.
Several anonymous developers allege Hyenas’ biggest problem was a lack of direction, with one source claiming much of its leadership was “asleep at the wheel. […] Attempting to break into a saturated market, and not committing to do anything adventurous with the game.”
Originally known as Project Keaton, Creative Assembly’s goal with Hyenas was to get into the console market with a broad-appeal game. As the developer of the niche (but still popular) Total War series, it looked to Destiny and PUBG for inspiration.
Things reportedly turned around when the staff met with District 9 director Neil Blomkamp in 2019, who provided feedback on the game’s direction. Two sources say he helped the team settle on Hyenas’ core premise of space pirates raiding ships carrying old pop culture relics from Earth, like vinyl records and VHS tapes.
Blomkamp’s guidance on Hyenas felt like a breath of fresh air to one developer, who added that development back then was at a standstill.
“After that period of ‘wtf are we doing here,’ it was a real shot in the arm to have some direction,” they stated.
Hyenas’ problems were no laughing matter
Along with an initial aimlessness, Creative Assembly faced further issues with Hyenas. For example, it was originally made in the Cathode engine used in Alien: Isolation, but the team switched to Unreal midway through production.
Developers also alleged the game was very expensive, with one dubbing it “Sega’s biggest budget game ever.” It’s believed that it was a ‘Super Game‘ the Japanese developer has previously referred to in recent financial reports.
Staff from Sega Japan came to Creative Assembly, which the source above said “has never happened the whole time I’ve worked at CA. They occasionally came to visit and check how a game was looking but as I said previously, generally hands-off.”
That same developer later told Volound they held no bad blood for Sega’s decision to kill Hyenas, just that Creative Assembly’s incoming layoffs would affect people who had no involvement in the doomed shooter.
“I’m angry with the shit leadership, and for the people above them for not dealing with them,” they explained. “What I’m actually furious about is that the redundancies are affecting people who had nothing to do with Hyenas. Like IT, operations, marketing…. even some people over on [Total War], they bear no responsibility for this binfire.”