So the Mafia 3 trailer hit this morning, and as this is a franchise I have always been a fan of, I want to share some thoughts.
When Mafia 3 was first announced a few weeks ago, I knew in my head what I wanted the game to be. I was hoping for a return to prohibition era America, something that let me slip into a ‘GTA: Boardwalk Empire’ style game, work my way up the chain, build my own Family & spread out across the US. I have me a hankering to see that in all its new gen gloriosity (it’s a word, Stephen Fry uses it all the time) with all the processing power of today’s PC’s & consoles used to really give us vast swathes of territory, all plump and prime for the corrupting. I make no bones about my fascination with that era of US history, ‘Boardwalk’, ‘Untouchable’s, ‘Godfather 2’ flashbacks etc. That’s my bag baby.
And then the trailer hit, watch it then proceed:
All watched? Good.
As you can see, it is totally different to my desired game, but after seeing the trailer, I am fine with that.
Now lets get the caveats out of the way before I delve more into why this has tickled my fancy.
I know its a short, CG trailer. I know that it only alludes to what might happen within a game that’s a good 8-12 months off. It’s a teaser, and teaser trailers are supposed to get you interested.
Well done 2K. The trailer did its job.
First up, lets look at the timeframe the game is set in. It’s a post Vietnam America, the period when things were heavily changing. Serious social & culture upheaval was happening & veterans were coming home to a less than heroes welcome when all they were guilty of was serving their country. In short, America was a pressure cooker.
This is an era that rarely gets covered in games, so to see Mafia 3 uproot from the more ‘traditional’ setting is bold and welcome.
This moves us onto the location, The Bayou. Did not see that coming & this is another refreshing choice. LA, NYC, Chicago etc are the usual ports of call for this kind of game, with only inFAMOUS 2 coming to my mind with its fictional version of New Orleans – New Marais. I have no idea why this amazing part of the world gets underused in games, but I’m intrigued by the choice 2K has made. The Bayou offers up so many great options, The architecture, the swamps, the Cajun & Creole cultures intermixing with old Southern money or perhaps more accurately, clashing. Toss into this the organized crime aspect & the pot simmers nicely.
Next up, lets look at the protagonists. The first time I watched the video, the first 60 or so seconds actually gave me a very different vibe to a Mafia game, I felt I was watching a version of Frank Castle (The Punisher). Everything he says, his military attire, the flashbacks & the reveal that a more traditional mafia goomba is tied up in the back seat took me to vintage Punisher territory & that really sets up a potential departure from what we are used to with this series. Throw in the other characters who make an appearance & we have some seriously interesting potential.
Are we going to get to take control of someone going against The Mob? Someone looking to create their own empire? The final 30 or so seconds of the trailer certainly imply that to me, which when combined with all the other aspects of the trailer means that this isn’t your (God)fathers Mafia game & surprisingly, I am good with that.
Mafia 3 hits next year. I’m going to be keeping an eye on this one.