HYENAS has been cancelled, with layoffs expected at developer Creative Assembly. The game had released into closed beta on September 1.

Sega has canceled its upcoming zero-g space heist shooter HYENAS as per a release from the company. The release was distributed by email and on the SEGASammy website on Thursday, September 26. The cancellation comes just weeks into HYENAS closed beta, which received mixed reviews and limited play despite reasonable promotion.

HYENAS was a heist-based shooter, similar to Payday, designed around heisting Sega merchandise from space stations. We reviewed the closed beta and found it slick and interesting, but somewhat underwhelming. Many criticized its humor, which we called tongue-in-cheek, as cynical and overly self-referential. Others pointed to its roster — which featured a diverse cast of characters including drag queens, ballet dancers, and metalheads — as pandering and soulless rather than truly representative.

HYENAS also suffered from a lack of excitement from said characters. The abilities felt generic, with powers such as “build a sentry gun” and “throw a grenade” not living up to the hype and frenetic nature of the game’s presentation. While the gunplay was solid, the zero-g selling point was largely missing from much of each level. 

With the cancellation, layoffs are expected at the HYENAS development studio, Creative Assembly. The studio is perhaps best known as the creators of the Total War series and hugely successful Warhammer: Total War sub-series, and is one of the United Kingdom’s largest games developers. 

With HYENAS canceled, heist games have been dealt some significant blows in the past few weeks. Payday 3, which was released on September 21, was hit with poor reviews, with one outlet calling it “daylight robbery,” although this was later changed to "a real steal." While some of these negative reviews were due to server issues, many are just underwhelmed at the sequel, which seems to be a trend in 2023. Perhaps with the glut of five-star AAA titles that have been released this year, middle-of-the-road games like Payday 3 and HYENAS are doomed when attempting to stack up in the same release window as Mortal Kombat 1, Starfield, and Baldurs Gate 3.

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