We all have an image of the mob, Italian-American wise guys with slicked back hair, impeccable pinstriped suits and wingtipped leather shoes, shined to a gloss, a romanticised image that the Mafia series has stuck to, until now.
Set in 1968, Mafia 3 follows new protagonist Lincoln Clay, a half-black, half-white orphan and Vietnam vet, as he fights for his place in the deep south of New Orleans, a place which at the time was stricken by racial hatred and violence.
Returning from the war, Clay finds a new family in “The Black Mob”, just as he finds stability again, the rival Italian mob wipe out his gang, shoot him in the head and leave him for dead. Setting out on a rampage of hateful vengeance, Lincoln devastates the Italian Mob and creates a power vacuum for organized crime in the city, with a space he’s willing to fill.
But Clay’s not the only one seeking to take up the position, several other mobs are vying for power in New Orleans. Despite his tendency for unflinching brutality and violence, he’s surprisingly quite the people person, well to an extent.
As the Travis Bickle jacket sporting Clay you’ll be able to recruit fellow gang leaders into your ranks to serve as lieutenants in your growing criminal empire. Cassandra with her Haitians, Burke and his Irish, and Mafia 2’s, Vito Scaletta, who lends his faction of Italians, will all grant you perks if you gain their favour, but they’ll bicker and even betray you should they feel you’re taking their piece of the crime pie.
Mafia 3’s premise is a bold and raw one, late 60’s New Orleans was a hotbed of conflict, one of racial inequality and bigotry, as well as one of exciting change. Taking place in a dramatically different location from the late 40’s New York-esque Empire Bay of previous Mafia games.
Mafia 3’s New Orleans will no doubt be a richer, more vibrant setting than we’ve seen before, featuring more diversity in locations – bustling, veranda lined streets, country roads and bayous – and the iconic culture of the age – music like Hendrix, Dylan and The Stones.
There’s a rebellious new energy to the series, one that could carry it to exciting new territory. From this first look, Mafia 3 is shaping up to be a highlight of 2016’s release schedule.