Mafia is a series of action-adventure, third-person shooters published by 2K Games. The series was originally created and developed by 2K Czech (formerly Illusion Softworks).
Each game in the series has a strong emphasis on narrative, period authenticity and gameplay mechanics. The core theme centers on the American Mafia of the 20th century and takes place in fictionalized US cities during different eras.
The first entry in the series is set in the midwestern city of Lost Heaven and takes place during backdrop of the Great Depression in the 1930s. The story focuses on Tommy Angelo, an honest cab driver who joins the Salieri crime family and becomes a trusted member during a civil war between two rival Dons, Salieri and Morello.
Mafia received acclaim for its story, presentation and graphics. Its success lead to console ports as well as the development of a sequel.
Mafia II is set in Empire Bay, an east coast city taking place between the mid 1940s and early 1950s. The plot revolves around Vito Scaletta, an Italian immigrant who rises up the ranks of the city's Mafia families as a petty criminal to financially secure himself and ensure that he doesn't end up like his father.
Mafia II received positive attention from audiences, yet was given mixed reception from a number of critics. The game was mostly praised for its smooth combat, detailed graphics and story, yet the game was noted for its lack of post-game content and slow gameplay. Regardless, Mafia II is often viewed retrospectively as the best in the series.
The third entry to the series takes place in New Bordeaux, a city based around the deep south, and is set in 1968 during the Vietnam War. Players assume the role of Lincoln Clay, a war veteran who is set up and betrayed by Sal Marcano. After surviving an attempt on his life, Lincoln slowly builds a crime family from the ground up to dismantle the Marcano family - and to ultimately kill Sal Marcano.
Mafia III received a mixed response from critics and audiences. Many praised the game for its story, music and presentation, whilst some people panned the games for repetitive gameplay and mixed visuals.
The latest game in the series, Mafia: Definitive Edition, is a remake of the original Mafia. This entry closely follows the story of the original game, whilst also taking some creative liberties in order to modernize the game's plot structure.
Mafia: Definitive Edition was positively received for its updated story and performances, it was however criticized for its animations and dated gameplay. Daniel Vávra, who directed the original Mafia, was positive on the game's visuals and usage of performance capture but was unimpressed with how Hangar 13 changed the storyline.
Origins of Mafia
The series was birthed as a project codenamed "Gangster", which was envisioned as a game similar to Driver where the player can choose to be a cop or a criminal in an open-world city setting. This project was scrapped in favor for a linear game focused on solely playing as a criminal. The game was renamed to Mafia and slated to release in 2000, the game was delayed and released 2 years later.
Continuing the Series
Development on a Mafia sequel began with scriptwriting in 2003, official development began a year later and the game was slated for release for PC, PS2 and Xbox. By 2006, Mafia II's development shifted to PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 and was announced for a 2007 release - but missed this release window. The game was near completion between 2008 and 2009, and was delayed twice before releasing in 2010.
- Despite the game utilizing fictionalized cities based on real ones, these cities do not replace their real-life counterparts. For instance, Empire Bay doesn't replace New York City.
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