Mafia III – Aiming For A New Standard In Mob Gaming
By PDG Staff
Not too long ago we posted the first trailer for Mafia III, which is due out in October of this year. Needless to say that trailer’s release created a bit of a stir online, as fans of the series and gamers in general tuned in to the rich, cinematic approach. If you only half-watched, you might well come away with the idea that Mafia III is an upcoming mob movie rather than another addition to a popular game series. And that speaks well to the game’s chance at setting a new standard for mob-based gaming.
One inherent advantage that Mafia III will have in chasing that goal is that it’s been a little while since we’ve seen a major mob game released. Believe it or not, we’re nearing the three-year mark since Rockstar released Grand Theft Auto V. Even the GTA games, some would argue, aren’t really traditional mafia games, but they’re certainly built on worlds run by mobs, gangs, and criminals. And if you do consider them to be in the same genre, they’ve pretty much run the show for well over a decade now.
Elsewhere, you really have to do some digging to find a meaningful mafia-themed game. The most significant example may well be Gala Casino’s cheeky, mob arcade scratch card titled “The Wad Father.” It’s a clever game, inviting you to “scratch out your competition” and teasing an offer you won’t be able to refuse. Ultimately, it’s a familiar feeling casino game, but a background populated by cartoon mob characters makes for an interesting vibe, and there’s something to be said for a real money game invoking mafia themes.
But other than those two games – the most recent GTA installation and an online casino title – there hasn’t been much to say for mob gaming since Mafia II, which was released all the way back in 2010 for PS3 and Xbox 360. And what that really means is that Mafia III is going to be the first major mob game designed exclusively for the “new gen” consoles (GTA V sort of straddled the line between generations).
Perhaps that’s why there’s such a cinematic quality being shown off in the trailer. More than a few new gen games have opted to focus on creating broader and deeper narrative experiences, and have used the power of the consoles to make those narratives as realistic as possible. By the look of it, that’s just what we’re seeing in Mafia III. And going by a write-up in Gamespot, the designers behind Mafia III aren’t just looking to dabble in new console capability – they’re attempting to “reclaim the term ‘Mafia'” by creating a massive experience that combines the best elements of modern gaming.
In a phrase, that means combining narrative gaming with an open world design – something that’s been done, to be sure, but perhaps not in a similar fashion to previous Mafia games. Almost by definition, open world gaming leads to a certain freedom of play that turns narratives fluid. But as mentioned in the Gamespot write-up, this particular open world was designed with a “very strong narrative” that pulls you through the world, so that everything you do feeds back into the story.
That, plus the specific elements making up the game – a 1968 New Orleans story, a classic tale of mob family vengeance, nine city districts with distinct crime outfits, and the chance to develop relationships with subordinates to further your cause – make this sound like one massive effort. If it all comes together well, Mafia III truly could set a new standard in the genre, and the GTA series may have some serious competition on its hands for once.