Lincoln Clay is the protagonist of Mafia III. He is a Vietnam war veteran who, after performing a successful bank robbery, is betrayed and left for dead by the Marcano crime family.
Lincoln Clay was born in January 1945 to a Dominican mother and unknown father, presumably white, though it is believed by Father James that Lincoln's father may have been Italian. In 1947, Lincoln was abandoned by his mother and he came into the care of the Saint Michelle's Orphanage in New Bordeaux.
After the orphanage closed down in 1958, Lincoln was taken in by Sammy Robinson and his wife Perla, and son Ellis Robinson. They soon became the closest Lincoln had to family.
In 1964, Lincoln enlisted in the U.S. Army to fight in the Vietnam War, where he served in the 223rd Infantry, and then later in the 5th Special Forces Group. By April 1966 he was assigned to a covert operation where he introduced himself to C.I.A. operative John Donavan, who recommended Lincoln be brought deeper into his mission. The pair became strong friends overtime.
In February 1968, Lincoln Clay returns to New Bordeaux after serving 4 years in Vietnam. He regroups with his adoptive brother Ellis Robinson, and the two head back to meet Sammy Robinson at his bar. After a night of celebration, Lincoln realizes that Sammy is in debt to the Haitians and he decides to settle a score with them before planning to leave for California. Lincoln tracks down and kills the Haitian gang leader Baka and is later invited to meet Sal Marcano at the country club in town. There, Lincoln rejoins with close friend Giorgi Marcano and meets Vito Scaletta during the meeting. Sal proposes that Lincoln takes over from Sammy to run Delray Hollow, and become the next head of the black mob. Stunned by the offer, Lincoln politely declines which irritates Sal. In a change of subject, Sal begins planning out a bank heist which will bring Sammy out of debt and promises that he will be more than square with Lincoln after it is done.
During Mardi Gras, Lincoln and Giorgi hijack a van from the federal reserve in the bayou, tie up the officers in the van and take their clothes from them. They then drive through the city, towards the downtown district, and into the federal reserve with their forged identities. They both follow a senior officer to the furnace, which also leads into the vault.
In the immediate aftermath of the federal reserve heist, Lincoln, Ellis and Danny return to Sammy's Bar to celebrate. Moments later, Giorgi arrives with his father and Ritchie Doucet to collect their share of the money. As Giorgi compliments Lincoln, he shoots Lincoln in the head. The bar is later burned down by the trio as they leave with the money and the plates. Unexpectedly, Father James arrives and rescues Lincoln from the fire. In the following months
Rule Together Ending
If Lincoln accepts Leo Galante's advice and rules over New Bordeaux, he expands across the south into Florida and even into the Carolinas. Becoming the city's favourite son, he uses his wealth to rebuild Delray Hollow, buy up property in Frisco Fields and reopen the abandoned theme park in New Bordeaux. As a result of this and Lincoln's previous actions, Maguire agrees to do the documentary to shine a light onto the real Lincoln Clay.
Father James is ashamed at Lincoln's choice and believes that he should've died at Sammy's bar. Saddened, James says he has nothing else to say about Lincoln and leaves.
Rule Alone Ending
If Lincoln decides to rule New Bordeaux alone, he decides to kill the remaining overbosses at the plantation. Shortly afterwards, Lincoln enters his car and dies as a result of an explosion. It is then revealed that Father James planted a bomb under his car because he saw that Lincoln was no different to Sal Marcano.
Maguire finds it hard to believe how everything transpired, believing that a car bomb is too quick. Claiming that Father James identified the body, Maguire admits that he hears footsteps that sound like combat boots when he is going over Lincoln Clay's case notes. Knowing that it is just the building creaking and moaning, he can't help but think if it's Lincoln Clay coming to take what's left of his life.
Leaving the City Ending
If Lincoln Clay accepts Father James' advice and leaves the city, one of the remaining underbosses will take over the city.
- Vito Scaletta: He finishes the casino that Sal Marcano tried to build, later on Scaletta builds another casino then more hotels, arenas and a convention center. As a result, New Bordeaux becomes known as the Las Vegas of the south. An elderly Vito Scaletta still lives on the penthouse of Sal Marcano's casino, looking over the city he now owns.
- Thomas Burke: He uses the money that Lincoln Clay left behind to get a black market transplant for his liver in Mexico. Burke then floods New Bordeaux with booze, and then drugs. He became one of the wealthiest men in the southern United States, and even bought a seat on the city council to legally change the city's township name to Bourbon City. Burke went to war with the Cubans, and killed eight men before he was murdered in 1984. Maguire states that the city is still a lawless fool's paradise.
- Cassandra: After taking control of the city, none of the city's gangs respected her claim. The Commission, the Cubans & even the Colombians all went after her, which resulted in a huge gang war in New Bordeaux. The Governor declared martial law and sent in the National Guard, Cassandra shot him in the head on the steps of the capital building. Afterwards, everybody knew that the city belonged to Cassandra. The state would pull funding for schools and city maintenance to track her down. After a hurricane teared down much of New Bordeaux, the city would become a ghost town. Some say that Cassandra perished in the flood, whereas some say she still rules what's left of the city in the Bayou. Regardless, no one has seen her in years.
After Sal Marcano's death, Lincoln Clay disappears. The FBI deprioritized the investigation after a few months, but Maguire kept an active file. In 1971, Lincoln was tracked down to a dockyard in California where he was working under an assumed name. The trail soon went cold, and Maguire figured Lincoln was dead by 1978. However, there was an alleged report about someone matching the description of Lincoln Clay who was working with the Colombians. There's new sighting of him every couple of years.
Father James reveals that Lincoln found a woman, but their relationship fell apart. After this, Lincoln started moving to places such as Alaska, New York, and South America and he eventually returned to Vietnam. Father James states that he still receives postcards from Lincoln from time to time, and believes that Lincoln wasn't able to accept the world or his place in it. Maguire then states that Lincoln will soon tire of running, or make a mistake, and that he will be waiting for him.