Sega announced its cancellation of Hyenas last week, which developer Creative Assembly attributed to overambition and a saturated market. Reportedly the most expensive game Sega ever published, it briefly had a big-name Hollywood filmmaker on the project aswell. District 9 and Elysium director Neill Blomkamp reportedly gave input on Hyenas’ story, massively influencing the game’s direction.
Neill Blomkamp came up with Hyenas’ story
In 2019, Creative Assembly shared a photo of Blomkamp dropping by to check up on Hyenas’ development. Early on, the game intended to use the Alien: Isolation engine and have a more serious tone than what it would become. Blomkamp, who was at one point set to direct Alien 5, is reportedly a big fan of Alien: Isolation and visited Creative Assembly to give feedback on Hyenas.
According to Video Games Chronicle, his input reportedly included the idea that, with Earth destroyed, physical media would be incredibly valuable. Valuable enough that it’s transported under heavy guard and people risk their lives to steal it. This lines up with the version of Hyenas that Sega announced to the public, with players robbing “Plunderships” carrying pop-culture memorabilia. It was also Blomkamp who suggested inserting references to internet humor. The District 9 director even put together a video demonstrating the tone he had in mind.
Blomkamp’s suggested elements faced harsh criticism after Sega announced Hyenas. Therefore, it might be tempting to blame him for the game’s problems. However, Hyenas already had significant issues, and the game reportedly suffered from a lack of direction. Blomkamp’s input finally gave Creative Assembly a clear vision of what the game could be. One developer described Blomkamp’s direction as a real “shot in the arm.”
However, Sega parted ways with Blomkamp at some point after that visit. While Creative Assembly seems to have run with his suggestions, Hyenas continued to suffer from unclear direction and shifting design objectives.