The Inbetweeny Bits: Mafia II Details

By John Walker on August 26th, 2009 at 11:04 am.

Fire tastes funny.

GameTrailers has interviewed 2K producer Denby Grace about the forthcoming Mafia II. They did it on video, so we can watch it, without all the hassle of reading boring old words. Stupid words. It shows off some of the lesser-spoken about features of the game so far – the open world elements. There’s discussion of how encounters on the street occur, as well as side missions. The second video goes on to talk about environmental destructibility, and then the plans for realistic police. (Which means not only their being strict, but also it being easy to escape their primitive ways. Finally it goes on to discuss the ways to upgrade cars. So that’s most of the things I’d be wondering about – good work, GameTrailers.

The other thing to note is: bloody hell, it looks beautiful. Don’t forget about our E3 coverage, nor indeed my visiting 2K Czech to see it all for myself.

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35 Comments »

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  1. cheal says:

    ARRRGGGH No, clothes shops!!!!

    Why are they following in the foot steps of GTA? That game just got worse, the more junk they attempted to stuff into it. Mafia was all about the simplicity, no frivilous BS.

    Will we have to start going to the gym in Mafia 3?

  2. Fedora Freak says:

    Oh god yes. This is definitely on the day-one list.

    Besides looking like a pretty incredible game, it’s a great study for me in terms of game design. They’re trying a lot of new methods that I can’t wait to test.

    The only thing that really didn’t look great in those videos was the melee fighting. The fighting itself was okay, a bit clunky, looks like, but one of my favorite things about the Godfather games was that weapons were deadly. Getting hit by that policeman’s club should have cost him at least a quarter of his health. Except that there’s no health – they’re using a dynamic health system. I admit completely that it’s a small-to-moderate annoyance at most, and probably restricted to a small group including myself. The rest looks incredible. But I’m just saying… I think a static health bar is the best way to go for any game in a Mafia setting. It makes it feel a bit more… tense, you know?

  3. Sp4rkR4t says:

    It does indeed look mightily impressive, looking forward to this one alot.

  4. Srejv says:

    Didn’t think I’d look forward to this one, but it really looks awesome. :)

  5. Metal_Circus says:

    so very excited for this.

  6. Christian says:

    The very best part of this is (compared to GTA 4): There are no mobile-phones in that time, so there will be no buddies calling you every 5 minutes telling you to baby-sit them. Hooray!

    Also, this looks beautiful. I hope they get the performance right..that rain and the wet street looks quite heavy on the GPU. By the way: will there also be daytime gameplay?

    Looking forward to this.

  7. Sly_Boots says:

    If this lives up to its promise, and if they pull it off, this could be spectacular.

  8. Sabre says:

    Anyone else had a Hitman 2 recollection to knocking out a policeman peeing in the bushes?

    The game looks great, I like everything I hear thusfar. I just hope its properly optimised for PC, unlike the terribleness of GTA4. I don’t want to go through this game at 20 fps when I’ve got a high-end computer because its meant to be “future-proof” graphics or some such rubbish.

  9. MunnyFan says:

    I still can’t believe they took out static health and replaced it with a recovering health system.

    It was such a rush in the original Mafia to have finished a mission, having 5 health or so left and to now have to drive back while being chased by the police, trying not to crash into anything, as that would cost you the rest of your health.

    Shame we won’t have that now.

  10. RGS says:

    Really looking forward to this. One of the best devs out there IMO. There’s always a very high level of authenticity to their work, the art is really well considered and the passion and care for what they’re making shines through.

    Wish them the very best of luck with this.

    Can’t wait.

  11. toni says:

    i replayed the old Mafia recently to warm myself up to this. I hope they can at least keep the quality of writing of the first part, rest is just like I thought they would do it (cover-system, auto-heal), so no surprises or “innovations” there. All they need to do is deliver a quality story and missions and I don’t care about stupid console-auto-aim/heal.

  12. HidesHisEyes says:

    Melee seems a little pointless in a game with restorative health but everything else is looking fantastic, really stoked for this :)

  13. Lack_26 says:

    I’m really looking forward to this game, I’m actually glad about the car modification. I love it when games make you care about your vechicle, often in a Mafia mission I would choose a car and do my best to keep it, top it up with petrol, etc.

  14. Tyrone Slothrop says:

    I loved Mafia, it was truly one of the finest and proudest purchases I have ever made in a game. Given the improvements, details and what really even limited information has been provided, I’m almost certain I’ll purchase this upon release.

    Oh and the fucking music. My word, that’s some fine composition right there.

  15. TC says:

    Looks good, I find the GTA gameworld a bit to shallow sometimes especially as Nicko Bellics story is relatively sombre.

    I hope one day we get proper sandbox type citys to play in when the AI characters go about their daily routines and react realistically to what you do, for example if you blow up a garage you make 10 people unemployed some of whome eventually become muggers ETC

  16. jarvoll says:

    WOW. This looks incredible.

  17. JKjoker says:

    bah, they tried custom cars in gta but since i tend to blow up every car i see whenever gunfights break out i never really kept one, plus driving to the garage to store them/get them is booooring

    i still think the same thing i thought from the last trailer, the missions look awesome, but the driving and open world stuff looks dull and boring, and the fact the guy says they want to make it realistic only adds further evidence to that, realistic open worlds are not fun, i have a realistic open world outside my house, i dont need another one in my games.

    i think they should just drop the open world idea (or give and option to skip it) and chain the missions by cutscenes

  18. El Stevo says:

    One of the things that always annoyed me about GTA is that I’d have all these amazing cars in my garage, but I’d never use them in a mission because I knew I probably wouldn’t still have them by the end of the mission.

    2k Czech seem to be approaching things in a much more interesting way. Those two trailers have sparked my interest more than any previous ones.

  19. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    @JKjoker – Did you play the original Mafia? It wasn’t really an open world game, as you would always be on a mission. The driving sections were pretty much always just you travelling to the mission and then back again, with some dialogue going on during the journey to fill in the story. Really, Mafia was quite a linear game that just so happened to be set in a large city, which meant the comparisons made at the time with GTA weren’t really fair.

    It sounds as if this will be following a similar pattern, except they will be offering you side missions to do whilst you travel to the main mission.

    As for your realism complaint, I can understand why having to stick to the speed limit and cops pulling you over if you jump a red light would annoy some people. Personally, I loved the atmosphere that this created, which is what the first Mafia game was all about. Hopefully, this will include the speed limiter that the original had, so you don’t have to worry about watching your speed all the time.

    This is the game I am most looking forward to by a long way and each video just makes me anticipate it that little bit more. Can’t wait.

  20. JKjoker says:

    @Vandelay: i did, got bored of driving the frigging taxi, Mafia 1 would also have been better without the open world part

  21. Guy says:

    I’m really loving what I see. The body movements and faces are wonderful. Its so nice to see a game where everyone isn’t a buff, square-jawed wunderherren too. I’m seriously looking forward to this, even if what I really want is Hidden and Dangerous 3…

  22. Derf says:

    It still looks like a nerds uneducated naive take on what mafia was.

    “Wanna earn a quick buck” sums up the depth of both the game and developers ambition.

  23. The Colonel says:

    Regenerating health regularly makes me cry. Where’s the feedback from taking damage gone? That’s more important than the health thing anyway. If getting hit means that you’ll be left open to being hit many more times before you can recover yourself then the game has tension. If you can just shrug off a bullet to the face without so much as a flinch then the gameplay has already died.

  24. JKjoker says:

    regenerating health is not necessarily a bad system, having medikits everywhere is just as stupid, the problem is the way they tend to implement it : making your character a weakling that dies after being scrached forcing you to go hide behind a box for 20 seconds several times in every battle

    i think Batman implements regenerating health much better, it doesnt work during battle, you get healed once the battle is over depending on how well you did in it, and you cant heal yourself again until the end of the next battle (at least there were no healing items in the demo, maybe there are some in the full game) so there are no “hide behind the wall” moments, you are encouraged to protect your bat-health while avoiding “wtf are those medikits” moments

  25. vash47 says:

    I hope it lives up to the greatness to first Mafia (which is on my top 3 of all time), and they don’t mess up the PC version.

  26. WJonathan says:

    I like the realistic car management. The entire concept of Mafia is that you play a more serious open world, and you play more by the rules of reality. I for one am looking forward to trying to save my car on a tough driving mission, and bring it back to my garage smoking, on 3 wheels. That extra challenge will make the game for fun to me. Spending time and money modding the car looks like fun, but I’m weird that way. I actually liked the slow cars in Mafia, and I even turned on the option to manual shift them.

  27. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    @JKjoker – That’s fair. I can understand why Mafia wouldn’t appeal to everyone. It was a slow game that rewarded patience. I hope that you did at least try to get past the early levels though. The taxi is a particular cumbersome vehicle and put many off the game. Then again it also is a good introduction to the slower pacing the game had in general. Once you get past the infamous racing level it truly becomes a masterpiece.

    Regenerating health is something I’m far more worried about than the cover system. I remember spending most of my time in the original popping out from behind cover, so this system probably will work quite well. One of the reasons cover was so vital though was because of the threat bullets had. A couple of good hits on you and you would be either dead or seriously wounded. If staying behind cover for a few seconds gives you back all that health the system will fail. The system JKjoker talks about sounds like the best balance (to be honest I can’t remember the health system in the Batman demo, so I’ll just take your word for it.)

  28. WJonathan says:

    Yeah too many developers tack on a cover system and regen health and it wrecks the game balance. No challenge = no fun. Hopefully Digital Czechlusions gets it right.

  29. Jim Rossignol says:

    This looks incredible. I’d not been paying attention before, but blimey.

  30. Jad says:

    On regenerating health:

    It was such a rush in the original Mafia to have finished a mission, having 5 health or so left and to now have to drive back while being chased by the police, trying not to crash into anything, as that would cost you the rest of your health.

    Yeah, I find people bring up these kind of anecdotes every time regenerating health is discussed, but I feel that for every “man I’m almost dead but I’m awesome and I pulled it off and Yes! here’s the medkit/healing checkpoint reached” moment, there’s dozens of times when you end up with 5 health — and that’s it. You stub your toe or lightly bump a car and its over, try again. Its not tension I feel seeing that flashing 5 health, but just fatalism. I’m going to die. Just kill me already.

    Very realistic games can have reduction of health, bandaging, etc. Survival horror, okay. But most other games benefit from a *well-done* regenerative health system, and its not just the “consoletards” that are asking for it.

    Of course a “well-done” regenerative health system needs to be … well, done well. You shouldn’t be able to be completely cavalier with your health. It should be tough to survive. But if you do survive a fight, you shouldn’t be punished for not surviving it good enough. That Batman system does sound like a good one.

  31. JKjoker says:

    Vandelay: dont forget the driving missions were timed and almost all the beginning missions are driving, just when you dont know your way around the map and keep missing the bridge exit, weee

  32. Paul says:

    Mafia 1 = one of the best games ever made and much better than any GTA ever made, period.Can’t wait for this!

  33. Marcin says:

    I do like the car persistence bits, but I hope the garage is done like Saints Row – if the car blows up, you can get it back for a fee. Otherwise, no matter how durable it is, it WILL blow up and you won’t want to use it on missions at all.

    Everything looks great either way. Definitely day 1 – the only question is PC or the 360. On one hand, shooting; on the other, driving. Hm.

  34. Sunjammer says:

    If anything; THIS is how you animate faces! It makes Heavy Rain look positively robotic by comparison. Pay attention to the eyes; they got some GOOD animators on that team!

  35. cowthief skank says:

    I am curious about Derf’s definition of a “quick buck”. Considering that the game has been in production since at least 2007, I would be interested to know in what sense three years is “quick”.