Ahead of the release of the anticipated Mafia 3, find out from Los Angeles based video game aficionado Isaiah Kendrick why Mafia 3 is unlike anything else in the series and what to expect from the game.
Mafia 3 is the third installment in the Mafia series developed by Hangar 13 and published by 2K games. I believe the vision of this team and what they are presenting is unique and special. While prior offerings of the series have focused on the Italian Mafia set in the 1930’s and 40’s, Mafia 3 explores the Black Mob in the New Orleans inspired city New Bordeaux circa 1968 whilst starring Lincoln Clay, a half-black, half-white Vietnam veteran. Proper representation of full well rounded African-American characters is important. In mainstream media the characters portrayed can fall victim to typical stereotypes that are below expected standards. Minority lead characters in big budget ”AAA” video games have historically been a rare occurrence. The lack of minority representation has many layers, each of which is grounded in their own selective logic. Due to the population demographic of North America and Europe, publishers feel it’s safer to go with a standard white male protagonist because it theoretically appeals to a larger audience. It’s also difficult to appeal to the smaller niche markets of race and gender representation with so few African-Americans working in video game development. This hasn’t stopped the team at Hangar 13 from delving into era appropriate issues in their upcoming title.
The setting for this narrative adventure and the way the player experiences it will be thought provoking. Being of mixed race was not common during the time period. This inherently means the player has to confront the prejudices and racism of that time. The police will harass you if you’re seen in the nicer parts of town, pedestrians may use racial slurs or other inflammatory language as you pass by. There is no social agenda by the developers, rather the goal is to accurately reflect the time period and allow the player to empathize with those affected by the hate and bigotry experienced in 1968. For context, during that year Martin Luther King Jr and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated. Star Trek had its first interracial kiss on TV. Two African-American Olympics athletes staged a silent demonstration during their medal ceremony The supreme court case Loving v. Virginia which invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage was less than a year old. It creates an atmosphere tension and being keenly aware of your surroundings and your actions wherever you go.
On the surface Mafia 3 is a crime fiction revenge story. Lincoln Clay, born an orphan, returns from Vietnam and finds a home and family with the Black Mob. Through a series of events the Italian Mob takes over and leaves Lincoln for dead. Lincoln survives and goes on a campaign for revenge for his lost friends and family. At it’s core Mafia 3 is an exploration of life in 1968’s America and the struggles and challenges of finding a place to belong when societies rules are stacked against you. You can see the story trailer down below.
Mafia 3 is due to release on October 7th of this year.