2K Games acquisition could lead to the next Grand Theft Auto
What exactly is this “31st Union” up to?
From Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands to Marvel’s Midnight Suns, video game publisher 2K Games has a compelling lineup of upcoming titles, and there are plenty of unannounced projects still shrouded in mystery. While 2K recently canceled a game from Mafia 3 developer Hangar 13, a newer studio called 31st Union is working on a secretive project that we still don’t know much about. Though little is known about it, there’s every reason to believe that it could be a big deal.
A quick reference to the game’s development during a recent acquisition announcement has reignited interest in the mystery: What is 31st Union working on? Is it GTA 6, Mafia 4, the next BioShock, or something entirely new?
What happened — On November 9, 2021, Take-Two subsidiary 2K Games announced that it had acquired a Spanish video game studio called elite3D. It’s an obscure developer focused on supporting games like Diablo 2: Resurrected and Black Ops 4. 2K has plans to transform it into 31st Union’s second studio and move some 2K Publishing operations there.
When referencing 31st Union’s work, the press release says it is developing a “currently unannounced and highly anticipated AAA project.” The sheer boldness of the claim has piqued interest in this acquisition and 31st Union as a whole.
31st Union isn’t working on GTA 6 — To address the elephant in the room, no, 31st Union isn’t developing GTA 6 even though that would fit the “highly anticipated” label. Though 2K parent company Take-Two also owns Rockstar, the two developers are completely separate.
Rockstar has made acquisitions in the past as well, so if 31st Union or elite3D were the primary developers on GTA 6, we would be getting this announcement from Rockstar, not 2K.
31st Union isn’t working on BioShock or Marvel’s Midnight Suns — The statement about 31st Union’s project suggests the new developer is more than a support studio, so rule out the idea of its primary project being a support team for BioShock or Marvel’s Midnight Suns.
31st Union isn’t working on Mafia 4 — 2K’s Mafia series has always been the ambitious but overlooked little brother to Grand Theft Auto. As Mafia 3 put a spotlight on diversity, which 31st Union’s leadership have stressed is important to them in the past, we’d love to see them make a sequel to Mafia 3 if Hangar 13 isn’t working on that project following its recent game cancellation.
Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case. In a tweet on November 9, 31st Union teased that it is creating “an exciting new game universe,” as such, don’t expect this to be tied to a previous 2K series.
31st Union’s “new IP” — Following that tweet, looking back at previous comments from 31st Union confirms that the developer is working on a new IP. Head of Strategy Tyler Michaud mentioned a new IP in the press release where 2K unveiled 31st Union’s name.
“We’re creating a development environment focused on a single new IP where passion is at the center of it all,” he said. “We believe diverse perspectives and experiences are crucial to creating a truly global entertainment experience with a deep connection to passionate fans.”
Presumably, this is the same game that 2K acquired and rebranded elite3D to work on. Unfortunately, if it is indeed a new IP, that rules out games we’d like to see from 2K like Mafia 4 or The Darkness 3. No leaks have given spoiled the surprise other, so we’re genuinely in the dark when it comes to any answers here.
As such, it seems that the “highly anticipated” comment might have just been PR embellishing its description of 31st Union’s project as it still can’t say what it is officially. It’s a pretty misleading and contradictory statement, as there’s nothing tangible or franchise-related for fans actually to be highly anticipating. However, there’s always the possibility that this new title could be something familiar: an open-world crime game in the vein of the Grand Theft Auto and/or Mafia series.
2K seems to have a lot of faith in 31st Union’s first game, so much so that the company is calling it “highly anticipated” to inspire more speculation about the title. We are intrigued to see what 31st Union is cooking up. We’ll hold on calling it “highly anticipated” until we see it in action.