The Hidden History of Mafia III

Though the franchise began all the way back
in 2002, with the release of the first game. Mafia 3 seems to mark a new age for the franchise,
complete with an entirely different setting. That setting is the New Orleans stand-in New
Bordeaux. And thanks to 2K Games, we’re able to bring
you some exclusive gameplay footage. So this week we’re going to be digging into
a few of the inspirations behind the series. The goal of Mafia 3 is to build your own criminal
empire by taking down the competition, and one of the biggest influences on the game
did just that: Nicky Barnes, better known by the name Mister. Untouchable. Like Lincoln Clay, the vietnam vet you play
as in Mafia 3 who got his start working with the Italian Mob, the real world drug lord
Nicky Barnes got his start in a similar way. By working for the Colombo Crime Family, headed
up by Joseph Colombo, a New York based criminal operation. But much like Lincoln, Barnes eventually left
to form his own crime family. In the case of Nicky Barnes it was The Counsel,
who became the most powerful heroin dealers in New York. Mafia 3 senior writer Charles Webb talked
about the influence of the real life crime world with Game Informer, saying: “We keep
coming back to Nicky Barnes, who’s interesting because the dude was a cool player. He cut a very striking figure. He was a criminal, but he was also a guy who
snitched on his own people and left a lot of bodies in his wake.” It’s too early to tell if things will end
the same way for Lincoln. The previous Mafia games pulled most of their
inspiration from movies like the first two Godfather films. For Mafia 3 though, things have changed. The game is set in 1968, when organized crime’s
glory days were quickly coming to an end. So the team turned to another movie for inspiration:
Martin Scorsese’s gangster classic “Goodfellas”. Charles Webb talked about this saying: “We’re
the second half of Goodfellas where it all starts to erode and Ray Liotta is coked out
of his mind and paranoid and looking over his shoulder. There are characters exactly like that in
our game.” But not all the influences on Mafia 3 are
crime-related, some are a lot more unexpected. Because the game is set in 1968, a landmark
year in the Civil Rights movement in the US, the writers felt it was important to research
the racial tension of the time as much as they could. To do this, they turned to a few sources. One was an early Playboy interview with NFL
hall of famer Jim Brown. In the interview, Brown talks about the racism
he encountered in his youth. William Harms, the game’s lead writer told
PC Gamer: “He tells this story about how he was driving through the south with some
friends, and they got pulled over by the police because their car put dust on white people. Like, that was why they were pulled over. The only reason they got out of it without
it being a problem was that he was playing football for Syracuse University at the time
and another police officer came up and recognised him.” Another source was even more obscure: a documentary
called The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975. Found in 2011 in a Swedish archive after decades
of being forgotten. The film showcases dozens of interviews with
leaders of the Black Power movement during the era. The team watched the film to get a sense of
African-American life in the late ‘60s. According to Webb: “This isn’t a soapbox,
but we want to have that era feel like a real place rooted in a place and time.” When it came to finding the tone of the story,
the writing team looked to TV for inspiration. Especially the second season of the southern
crime show Justified, which focused on a war between law enforcement and a local Kentucky
crime family. According to Charles Webb: “The big thing
in that show for me is the importance of the family, and even if you want to, you can’t
deny it. You cannot get away from it.” Last but not least is a book about the drug
trade: Cocaine Cowboys. And the documentary American Desperado. Both are about the infamous drug smuggler
Jon Roberts, who is known as kind of real world Scarface. His life is filled with crazy, illegal stories
and the team at Hangar 13 studied his life closely when creating the culture of the mob
in the game. According to the lead writer, when the developers
were trying to figure out if what was going on in the story was too crazy or over-the-top,
they could look to Cocaine Cowboys to find a criminal that had done something even crazier. They were also interested in how Jon Roberts
grew a criminal empire, since that was also Lincoln’s goal in the game. No comment showcase this week but we still
have time for some trivia. Last week we asked you what attraction wasn’t
within Fallout Nuka-world’s Kiddie Kingdom, and the answer was infact A) Nuka-Cade. This week we have a Mafia question: what was
the name of Mafia 2’s fictionalized New York City?

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