Mafia III Studio Breakdown Sequel’s Treatment Of 1960s Racism And Ties To Mafia II


Summer proved to be a busy month at the head offices at 2K, what with the reputable publisher unveiling both XCOM 2 and the latest installment in its crime noir series, Mafia III. Adopting a new approach over the pulp, New York-based action of its immediate predecessor, Hanger 13 surprised many a fan when it confirmed the threequel’s 1960s setting, opening up a fertile ground to tackle themes of racism and police harassment.

Occupying this month’s cover of Game Informer, Creative Director Haden Blackman dove into the story and plot details for Mafia III, underlining the thought-provoking themes lurking beneath its retro aesthetic. But don’t be fooled into thinking that the follow-up is attempting to distance itself from the franchise with its decidedly different direction, as Blackman noted that the sequel holds ties to Mafia II.

“At the end of the day, you’re going to feel like this is a true Mafia experience and a true Mafia story,” creative director Haden Blackman said in the latest Game Informer issue. “People are worried that we are just ignoring Mafia II, and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. From a narrative standpoint, we are absolutely committed to making sure a lot of your questions about Mafia II are answered in Mafia III.”

Violence fuelled by racism has and always will be a complex, multi-faceted issue in American culture, and Hanger 13 is well aware of the potential pitfalls it faces by incorporating many of these hard-pressing topics into the narrative. For Blackman, it all comes down to not sensationalizing the violence depicted on screen.

“We are not trying to be sensational,” he said. “But thought-provoking is something that art is. All good art makes you think and stays with you. If we can be thought-provoking in some way without being overly provocative, then I think we’ve done our job.”

Mafia III launches across PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC in 2016.