Posted on October 18 2016
Air thick with cigar smoke, headlights tumbling through boarded windows, the underworld of New Bordeaux will be swallowing us come October 7th. Set in 1968 and starring a young veteran of a young Vietnam War, Mafia 3 promises a rampage through America’s most turbulent period. Now, so close to release, we should go over the soon-to-be iconic settings developer Hangar 13 have prepared for us. Please print out these maps and screenshots and hang them on your screen to best replicate current excitement conditions in the office.
Top of the list? Delray Hollow. Picture first the iconic Civil Rights preacher, at pulpit and leading exuberant prayer, on a hot spring day in Louisiana. The congregation fan themselves in the stifling heat, shifting in their stuffy church clothes. Outside, the United States is in the grips of a cultural war between community leaders and politicians. Martin Luther King Jr would die in April of this year.
That night however, the world is still sane, and the preacher drags a bleeding man into his sanctuary. This is Lincoln Clay, the “hero” of our piece. He has not long returned from a tour of Vietnam (the Tet offensive opening the year of 1968) and has been putting down his roots in the local Black Mob. Tonight he was supposed to have cemented an alliance with the Marcano Crime family down at Sammy’s Bar. Instead they gunned his family down and left a bullet in his head.
This is the town that roots the story and the one that best exemplifies the racial themes of the series. Expect neighbourhood dramas as Lincoln connects with what’s left of his childhood home, while also providing a familiar place to hang the rage of the character on. The helpful priest positions himself as a mentor and conscience, to return to on demand for another morale pick me up or conflict. The orphanage our character grew up in sites here, to be passed whenever a reminder is needed.
Next on the hyper-violent tourism route is River Row. Our next scene is dockside, where labours attend to moored boats from the Bayou, unloading unmarked crates deep into the night. Well-dressed guards oversee the process, palms resting lazily on their handguns. A closer look reveals guns and marijuana concealed in the cargo, contraband to be traded in the city. This is Italian mafia territory, the series’ more familiar homeland.
The portrait this time is for Vito Scaletta, protagonist of the existing entries, and returning this time in a supporting role. This area we’re told is operated by Vito’s crew, on behalf of the greater Marcano Crime Family that commands the city. Vito we have been told is an ally in Lincoln’s war on the Marcano, and this area will do as a battlefield closer to their own territory.
The area is a sprawling industrialized zone, surrounded by docks on each side servicing the other cantons of New Bordeuax. To the south we have the swamp, brooding and abyssal, while to the north and east we have Downtown and Southdowns, strongholds of the enemy. If this is where Lincoln Clay makes his first stand, we couldn’t think of a better place.
Another scene teased in materials is Barclay Mills. Run by a Marcano loyalist by the name of Enzo Conte, this is another industrial heart to New Bordeaux. The images combine to show a working class neighbourhood, sawmills and slaughterhouses filled with gruff 1960’s men. The rackets here are garbage collection and stolen goods, spreading a bit more wealth into the area under the table.
Our excitement this time is hanging on that same all-american charm, coupled with the opportunity to literally blow it all to Hell. The trailer proudly shows this is an area of “industrial accidents” that provide some much needed environmental catharsis in this rampage. We’ve already seen one factory blown to pieces, which we’re stoked for, so why not more? Exactly.
The scene we are all waiting for is just to the north of Barclay Mills, in the wealthy Frisco Fields district. That scene, not shown, has hooded robes aligned on a wide lawn, foreground to a burning crucifix. That scene also has a black veteran of the 223rd Infantry, automatic rifle in hand, unloading into the frothing crowd. They likely belong to the Southern Union, a local supremacist gang, but they could just be the privileged locals. It doesn’t matter to us either. We’re still parking our cars on their faces. Sometimes that’s all you need in a videogame.
But for those who are after more, Frisco Field delivers. Here we are being given an environment that could possibly have given birth to radical supremacists, a bastion for the wealthy in an era of class warfare. We have seen manicured lawns, bustling town halls and southern belles. And we have also seen a lab for PCP, benches and diners for “Whites only” and the previously mentioned white hoods. Did we mention wanting to park our cars on them?
Downtown and South Downs
The twin capitals of the Marconi empire are the two downtowns of the city. These are the most urban landscapes of the game, showcasing a bustling Louisiana nightlife in the grip of organized crime. Besides the classic gambling and bribery rackets poisoning the city, Southdowns also features the home of a cage fighting club. This is the part of town where the Marcano have their names above the door, and Lincoln Clay is going to apparently going to beat it down.
And Downtown? That’s got to be the heart of the story. This is where the mob has their pocket politicians, their union rackets and their nighclubs. This is the setting we feel channelling the best of Mafia 2’s moments, a hive of corruption that borrows from the criminal mythology of Las Vegas and Chicago as much as New York or Boston. This, as much as the more exotic French Quarter, is where we see the return to the heights of the series. Finally, after two games of Mafia civil war, we are seeing the Mafia under attack at the heart of their operations by a different kind of threat – the kind we get to be the front seat of. We can’t wait.