Mafia III is a action-adventure video game developed by Hangar 13 and published by 2K Games. It was released in October 2016 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows, and in May 2017 for macOS.
It is the first main entry in the Mafia series since 2010's Mafia II. Set within the fictional city of New Bordeaux, based on New Orleans, the single-player story follows Lincoln Clay, a criminal who aims to build a new crime organization while seeking revenge on the Italian mob. The open world design lets players freely roam New Bordeaux's open landscape.
The game is played from a third-person perspective and its world is navigated on foot or by vehicle. Players control Clay throughout single-player, and the story is centred on heist sequences, with many missions involving shooting and driving gameplay. A "heat" system governs the aggression of law enforcement response to players who commit crimes.
The development of Mafia III began soon after Mafia II's release, but initially had problems. 2K Czech, the developer of the series' first installments, oversaw restructure, with much of the development team assigned to the company's new studio, Hangar 13. After deciding on recreating New Orleans in 1968, the development team drew influence from the series' previous projects, and designed the game around Clay to replicate the core structure of its predecessors. Much of the development work constituted the open world's creation, and several team members conducted field research around Louisiana to capture footage for the design team. The game's soundtrack features several licensed songs composed by various musicians who were active during the time period.
Upon release, the game received mixed reviews, with praise directed at its story, characters, darker themes, and soundtrack. However, some of the gameplay mechanics and the presence of technical issues drew criticism. The game would go onto have great commercial success, and became one of the best-selling video games in 2K history, with 4.5 million copies shipped in its first week of sales. It was later confirmed to have sold 5 million copies worldwide.
Mafia III is an action-adventure game set in an open world environment and played from a third-person perspective, in which the player assume control of Lincoln Clay, a Vietnam War veteran on a quest to seek revenge for his adopted family, who are murdered by local mobs. The game is set in 1968 New Bordeaux, a re-imagined version of New Orleans, with the game world being larger than the Mafia and Mafia II maps combined. Mafia III's map is made up of ten districts: Bayou Fantom, Delray Hollow, Barclay Mills, Frisco Fields, Pointe Verdun, Tickfaw Harbor, Southdowns, River Row, Downtown, and the French Ward. Players can complete objectives using a variety of approaches. For example, players can use the weapons provided in the game, like shotguns and revolvers, to eliminate enemies, or call for allies, who arrive in a van and assist players.
Alternatively, they can make use of stealth tactics throughout the entire mission without being noticed by enemies. The core gameplay revolves around gunplay. In addition, players can also perform executing moves and engage in melee-combat. The game features a cover system, allowing players to take cover behind objects to avoid enemy gunfire or detection. Players can interrogate non-playable characters after defeating them in order to gain more information on their objectives, like scaring them while driving a car. Players can attack and overrun locations owned by the Italian mob, and assign one of their lieutenants to operate around the local area. The game allows players to drive cars from the era with realistic driving mechanics and sounds.
Mafia III is set in the year 1968, and revolves around Lincoln Clay, a mixed-race African American orphan raised by New Bordeaux's "black mob". After serving in the Vietnam War in the 5th Special Forces Group and in the 223rd Infantry Regiment, he returns to New Bordeaux and reunites with his surrogate father Sammy Robinson and his adopted brother Ellis. Planning to head out west to California, Lincoln then learns of an ongoing turf war between Sammy's gang and the Haitian Mob that has put him in serious debt with Sal Marcano, the Don of the Marcano crime family (loosely inspired by the real-life Carlos Marcello and the New Orleans crime family) who then tracks down the Haitian Mob to a shanty town and kills its leader, Baka. Lincoln then meets with Sal, who insinuates that Sammy is too weak to lead and suggests Lincoln take his place. However, Lincoln refuses out of loyalty, and instead works with Sal's son Giorgi to rob the Louisiana Federal Reserve and steal enough money to pay off the debt. The heist is successful, but Sal and Giorgi subsequently have Sammy and Ellis murdered and leave Lincoln to die. Father James, one of Lincoln's oldest friends, rescues him and nurses him back to health. As he recovers, Lincoln contacts John Donovan, his CIA handler in Vietnam. Donovan agrees to use his resources and expertise to help Lincoln exact revenge on the Marcanos and take over New Bordeaux, though his motivations are unclear.
To start, Lincoln recruits three fellow criminals as underbosses: Haitian crime lord Cassandra (who distrusts Lincoln for assassinating her predecessor during the war with Sammy), Irish Mob leader Thomas Burke, whose son Danny was double-crossed and killed after taking part in the heist, and Vito Scaletta, an Italian mafioso and Marcano ally exiled from Empire Bay (a fictionalized New York City) following the events of Mafia II and who has since fallen out of favor with Sal. After eliminating Marcano lieutenants Ritchie Doucet, Roman "The Butcher" Barbieri, and Michael Grecco, and returning their territories to the three, he brings them together and unveils his plan: together, they will systematically eliminate the Marcanos from the ground up, with Lincoln deciding which underboss gets to run each new district he seizes. From this point forward, giving a new territory to an underboss will unlock benefits and increase their kickbacks to Lincoln, who can also complete tasks to strengthen their loyalty. However, if the player angers an underboss repeatedly by not giving them new districts, they will eventually declare war on Lincoln and he will be forced to kill them.
With Donovan providing intelligence, Lincoln eliminates other key members of the Marcano family: racketeer Enzo Conti (who Lincoln spares after learning that he was an old friend of Sammy's), consigliere Tony Derazio, and smuggler Frank Pagani. He also learns that Sal plans to legitimize the Marcano family by building a new casino with counterfeit money and the support of prominent citizen and white supremacist Remy Duvall. He kills Duvall, disgracing his patron Olivia Marcano (who is then executed by Giorgi), and also assassinates family caporegimes Lou and Tommy Marcano. After an attempted hit on Lincoln is foiled, Sal and Giorgi gather their remaining men at the unfinished casino for a last stand. Lincoln kills Giorgi and confronts Sal in his office. Sal explains that he only wanted to protect Giorgi, and gives Lincoln the opportunity to kill him. If he does, then Lincoln will stab Sal and throw him out of a window, but if he waits long enough, Sal will shoot himself out of grief.
As Lincoln leaves the casino, he is confronted by an elderly Leo Galante, representing the Commission. Lincoln assures Leo that his feud was only with the Marcanos and that it ended with Sal's death. Satisfied, Leo allows Lincoln to live and keep New Bordeaux under the condition that he send 20% of his earnings to the Commission, as Sal had previously done. Returning to Donovan and Father James, Lincoln must decide his next move: walk away from New Bordeaux to leave behind his life of crime on advice from Father James, seize power of the city by killing all his underbosses on advice from Donovan, or rule the city together with his underbosses.
If Lincoln leaves New Bordeaux, he effectively disappears from public life, only occasionally sending postcards to Father James from various parts of the world. The underboss who was given the most districts by Lincoln will then seize control of the city. If Lincoln rules New Bordeaux with his underbosses, he expands his criminal empire across the entire Southern United States and becomes a well-known philanthropist. However, Father James openly despises what he has become. If Lincoln chooses to rule New Bordeaux alone, he kills his underbosses, but is then killed by a bomb planted in his car by a remorseful Father James.
In a post-credits scene, Donovan is brought before a Senate committee to answer for his role in Lincoln's rise to power. Donovan explains that he helped Lincoln because he uncovered evidence that Sal was one of the conspirators responsible for the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and that he had only agreed to meet the Senate because one of the senators, Democrat Richard Blake of Louisiana, presiding over the hearing was also implicated as a conspirator in Sal's files. Donovan then kills the senator with a concealed silenced pistol and declares that he will track down everybody else responsible for President Kennedy's death.
The game was first rumored in August 2011. In November 2012, 2K Czech, the developer of the original Mafia and Mafia II, announced that the company was working on a "top secret, AAA game". However, the company was later restructured on January 10, 2014, and the main studio in Prague was shuttered, with resources being allocated to a new headquarters in Novato, California. A new studio called Hangar 13 was established by 2K Games in Novato in the same year. Headed by Haden Blackman, who had previously worked with LucasArts, the studio was said to be working on a new project.
Hangar 13 and 2K Games wanted to stay true to the quality that many users expected over the previous games. The game uses the graphics software Simplygon. The development team were interested in creating a world based on New Orleans, and eventually decided on setting the game in 1968. The team used a collection of old photographs to recreate the world. Various alterations to the world were made to suit the narrative: the bayou and the city have been positioned at close proximity, despite being at a further distance in real Louisiana; the Superdome stadium was being constructed in 1968, but is excluded from the game. The team intended the world to be accessible for high-speed chases. The team also wanted to move away from the stereotypical Italian mafia scene and represent a different side of gang-related crime scenarios. Another aspect of setting a special tone and atmosphere in the game has been the choice of licensed music. Haden Blackman indicated that Mafia III will include a "ton of great music" from the sixties.
The game was officially teased by 2K on July 28, 2015, and was formally revealed at Gamescom 2015 with a cinematic trailer. Mafia III released on October 7, 2016 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Players who pre-order the game will receive a downloadable content pack titled "Family Kick-Back" which introduces several new weapons and vehicles. Players can also purchase the Limited Deluxe Edition and the Limited Collector's Edition. The Limited Deluxe Edition's content include the base game and the season pass, while the Limited Collector's Edition added additional content such as the game's original soundtrack and art book. A mobile game entitled Mafia III Rivals was also released to tie in with the main game, developed by Cat Daddy Games for Android and iOS. Rivals is presented as a role-playing game with turn-based combat mechanics.
Following the game's release, several pieces of story-based downloadable content was released by the developer. The first DLC, titled Faster, Baby, was released on March 28, 2017 and features new story missions set in the Sinclair Parish district, as well as new gadgets. On the same day, 2K Games released a free demo for players to try the game. On May 30, 2017, the second DLC, Stones Unturned, which reunites Lincoln Clay with John Donovan, was released and it introduces several new weapons into the game. The third DLC, titled Sign of the Times, which sees Lincoln fighting against a cult called Ensanglante, was released on July 25, 2017.
Mafia III received "mixed or average" reviews from critics, according to review aggregator Metacritic. Critics praised the story, characters, and darker themes, but criticized the repetitive gameplay, empty open world, and the presence of numerous technical issues.
Alex Donaldson of VG247 gave the game a mixed review, writing, "Mafia III features one of my [favorite] video game stories of the year, some gorgeous presentation, an amazing soundtrack and an interesting world. Sadly it also has by-the-numbers mission design and dubious performance." In his 2/5 star review, Sam White of The Guardian wrote, "To say Mafia III is a disappointment is an understatement. It has all of the surface components to form a great game: the writing and acting are superb, its direction and style are great, but its mechanical underpinnings are archaic and desperately unimaginative."
Marty Sliva for IGN gave the game a score of 7.5 out of 10, summarizing his review with: "Mafia 3's strong characters and confident storytelling kept me engaged, even if the gameplay rarely delivered anything but bog-standard and repetitive open-world action. That's a bummer, because Lincoln is an incredible protagonist and New Bordeaux is a fantastic setting thematically, and it would've been great to see them put to better use." Brian Mazique of Forbes gave the game an 8.1/10, saying, "This might not be everyone's cup of tea, but if you love a good character study and aren't in search of gameplay mechanics that break new ground in innovation and control, this is one you should own."
It was the second best-selling retail game in the UK in its week of release, only behind FIFA 17. The launch of Mafia III marked the biggest launch of a Mafia game ever in the UK, with the game sales being 58.7% more than that of Mafia II. It debuted at number 9 on the Japanese sales charts, with 15,838 copies sold. On November 2, 2016, Take-Two Interactive announced that the game shipped in 4.5 million in it first week, setting a new launch record for 2K Games. On February 7, 2017, Take-Two Interactive announced that the game has now shipped 5 million copies.
In 2017, development at Hangar 13 reportedly split into two groups, one focused on downloadable content for Mafia III, and one building the concepts for Mafia IV. Early ideas set the game in 1970s Las Vegas, with the “glitz and glamour of mob-controlled Sin City.” Plans for Mafia IV didn’t last long as Hangar 13 chose to create their own original video game instead, though Hangar 13 reassured that they still own the series and would not forget about it.
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