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Mafia III Interview With Hangar 13 – Continuing the Story

October 6, 2016Written by Alex Co

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While PlayStation LifeStyle’s Mafia III review won’t be up on the site in time for the game’s release tomorrow (hey, not our fault, alright?), we did have a quick chat with developer Hangar 13 regarding the open world sequel.

Answering for the studio is Studio Head and Creative Director, Haden Blackman, whom we asked about Season Passes, comparing Mafia III to other open world games and more. Check the quick Q&A below. Don’t forget to check back for our Mafia III review hitting the site soon.

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PlayStation LifeStyle: What sets Mafia III apart the most from other open world games in the same vein?

Haden Blackman: First and foremost, we wanted to create an experience in which everything you do propels you forward in the narrative. So, nearly everything Lincoln does in the game – from missions to open world activities – either helps him tear down the Italian Mafia or build up his own crime family. Secondly, we wanted to create a game in which “Every Player Story Is Unique.” In the moment-to-moment gameplay, this means that players can choose their own approaches to combat and other situations. They can also choose which activities to pursue to damage the mob. In the long run, this manifests through decisions you make when assigning territory to your lieutenants. Not only does this unlock new perks and missions, but also changes your relationship with those characters.

PSLS: Is it difficult to produce an accurate feeling period game based on a very abrasive time period and region?

Blackman: Building a good game is difficult regardless of the genre and setting, but building an open world game in a familiar setting and during a familiar time period has its own unique set of challenges. We wanted to capture the sense of time and place, but also wanted to ensure that it never impeded our ability to create compelling gameplay.

One of our first decisions was to create our own version of New Orleans – New Bordeaux – so we could change the street layout to better support driving mechanics. But, in terms of the turbulent nature of the time period, we did not shy away from anything because we wanted to create a game that feels authentic and cinematic. The realities of the time and place can’t be ignored because they would be part of Lincoln’s story.

PSLS: How do they balance scripted narrative moments for the sake of story with an immense amount of player freedom?

Blackman: We really ensure that everything you do propels you towards the next big story moment.

PSLS: Will the game’s Season Pass content tie-in directly to the main story?

Blackman: In some ways, yes. The main character will be Lincoln Clay, and the stories will be set in and around New Bordeaux during Lincoln’s war with the Mafia.

PSLS: The first two Mafia games were linear. In fact, people liked Mafia II’s linearity. Is Mafia III going to have a linear path too or is it following the new open world trend?

Blackman: It is both linear and non-linear. The game is structured around a series of major events, often depicted through big setpiece missions trigged by Lincoln’s escalating war against the mob. How the player gets to those major events, however, is non-linear in the sense that the player can choose which activities to pursue to damage the mob.

PSLS: Can fans of the second game expect to see that story being concluded in this game at all? I know there’s Vito. But people have questions about Joe too.

Blackman: We definitely resolve the question about whether or not Joe is alive or dead.

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PSLS: Mafia III breaks away from the series traditional setting and I’m sure 2K saw the response from fans initially. It seemed to be pretty negative but eased out over time. There are still those who are apprehensive and want their cosa nostra in Empire Bay. How does 2K think it’ll appeal to die-hard fans of the series and to newcomers alike?

Blackman: Based on the feedback we received, the response to our direction was largely positive. I’m hopeful that anyone who is still on the fence will check out what we’ve done, because we have strived to create a true Mafia experience.

We’d like to thank 2K and Hangar 13 for taking the time out to answer our questions. Mafia III will be out on October 7 for the PS4, Xbox One and PC.