Mafia III’s Driving Drifts By In New Developer Video

One of the great pleasures of the original Mafia was flicking on the speed limiter and cruising around 1930s New Heaven, obeying the traffic laws. I remember people complaining about its slow, period-appropriate cars at the time, but now it seems to be a fondly recalled part of the experience.

Mafia 3 seems to be going for something more traditional for driving in 1968 New Bordeaux, in that its motoring is inspired by Steve McQueen movies like Bullitt. So says the developer video below.

I don’t mind that the cars are faster and the backends like to slide around – real cars do that too, sometimes – as long as running a red light earns me a fine and an angry bobby on my tail.

How about that city, though? I’d forgotten completely, despite reading articles about it, that the game was set in a city based on New Orleans. Heck, here’s the opening to Adam’s article:

Mafia III’s rendition certainly looks the part. More importantly, it sounds just right. I’m becoming accustomed to impressive crowds in games and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to accept urban locations that only contain a handful of people. This “fictional version” of The Big Easy (creative director Haden Blackman specified the “fictional take” several times during his presentation) is busy, noisy and bustling. As lead character Lincoln Clay walks through the streets, the soundtrack switches from jazz to rock and then to the barks and insults of pedestrians.

It’s the freshest thing about a game, it seems. I hope it holds up come October.


  1. Premium User Badge

    distantlurker says:

    I really didn’t get on with the first 2 in the series and a big part of that was because the driving aspects managed to be both lackadaisical and twitchy at the same time. Bleh.

    This City setting though, Wow. This could really be something else.

    • Zaraf says:

      Funny, I thought that driving gameplay was the best part for both games.
      I don’t like vehicle handling in this new game though. I’m not really for a simulation, but from the video it looks bland and not challenging imo.

    • REBORN71 says:

      Here is a driving philosophy for any budding game developer – WHERE ON EARTH can a 3rd car fit between 2 cars in 2 lanes?

      fix that one simple thing and I might enjoj driving

      • oyog says:

        I don’t have much experience driving outside the US or west of the Continental Divide but towns that started expanding (I’m guessing) around the ’70s, from the Midwest to the Rockies seem to have very wide roads.

      • snowgim says:

        Really? You’d prefer the driving if it meant constantly rear-ending people and getting stuck behind old ladies?

  2. CarthAnne says:

    I remember really liking Mafia 2, I thought the whole environment was very immersive and the story was excellent IMO. I do remember though that a lot of critics didn’t like it as much as I did. That’s fine obviously, but I feel like that may partly have been because it came out around the same time as GTA IV and it was compared to it and found lacking, unfairly in my opinion, as though they’re both superficially similar, both of them being open world crime simulators, Mafia 2 had a different focus, with the story being the most important element and if you go into it expecting it to be a GTA style power fantasy with tons of side activities, you’re going to be disappointed. Considering how recent GTA V is this time around, I wouldn’t be surprised if something similar occurs once more.

    • Werthead says:

      I think that could be part of it, but for me the biggest problem was that the story was lacking compared to the first game. Mafia’s storyline was pretty compelling with interesting characters, Mafia 2’s wasn’t. I did appreciate the fact that they tried to do something different, with you being a low-time gangster and staying that way (compared to the more traditional rags-to-riches story of the original) but it just felt a lot less interesting. Also, if I recall, the second game was a lot shorter than the first which felt disappointing.

      It was still a good game though, just not as good as the original. I’m optimistic about this one, as it looks like it’s kept the story focus from the first two games with a more interesting setting.

      • CarthAnne says:

        The fact that I never played Mafia I definitely may factor into my love Mafia II.

      • CarthAnne says:

        And its possible my standards for Crime story-lines were set way too low when I played Mafia II because I played that game before the first time I had seen The Godfather, or Goodfellas, or Casino…

      • sonson says:

        “It just felt a lot less interesting”.

        I think that was the point. After putting you in a position where you were selling fags out the back of a truck and where making an honest living was hard, a grind, and made money hard to come by, the contrast of being an untouchable made guy was phenomenal. The slow burn of the beginning, the measured establishing of place and character, followed by explosion of drama that kicks in once you’re “in” is the closest to reading a novel that I’ve come to in game terms.

        I think it was the most Mafia/Godfather game ever made for that reason. Because it understood that the real power power of being an untouchable criminal is at its most evident when pitched off against the beige trudge of maintaining integrity in a hard, unrewarding living. It truly let you play that story.

  3. Holysheep says:

    why is everyone like “DAT CITY THO”? I mean, it’s not /that/ impressive… We’ve had plenty of GTA likes with a world that was about as stylish/immersive already.

    I mean if you look at the vids, it’s the cars that are making most of the ambience, and cities aren’t too different from what you could see nowadays…. Unlike cars, that def changed, and def make the whole ambience in the videos we’ve seen so far.

  4. Jakkar says:

    Mafia was a work of art. It wasn’t particularly special as a *game* for raw fun. The shooting had style, and the weight simulation and breakable components of the cars were undeniably impressive… but it wasn’t a great game.

    It was an excellent, relatively early example of ‘interactive entertainment’, somewhere between game and film, though. I’ve no patience for such experiences – Call of Duty, for example – but this one transcended by simply being that well-written.

    I’m not even a big fan of gangster films/crime as a genre, I find it mundane, so it has to be a bloody good film to hold my attention.

    Mafia gripped me.

    Mafia 2 made me actively unhappy the same way L.A. Noir did – all this effort, this amazingly detailed setting, good technology, wasted on hatefully depressing stories (not ‘sad’ stories, but stories that overtly glorify awful people and force you to obey them while doing dreadful things for no logical reason – think Grand Theft Auto IV, Fable II, or every second Tarantino film), and completely incoherent incidents – huge tangled morality about one major murder, while killing sixty cops/goons single-handedly in one mundane mission.

    I had the same problem with Uncharted. So much mass-murder in the gameplay, zero recognition in the plot. My immersion crumbles. Cheeky, chipper characters with slaughter-induced amnesia.

    • Dingbatwhirr says:

      This. Exactly this. It’s comments like yours which make me wish RPS had an upvote system.

      Moral inconsistency is one of my biggest turn-offs, not only in gaming, but also in films, novels etc. I can (just about) deal with something like Tarantino which expects us to get behind a character I consider to be utterly immoral. It may be distasteful, but it’s consistent (e.g. violent revenge is always right etc.). What I have a problem with is when, as you say, a ‘moral dilemma’ seems to completely ignore most of the rest of the game/film etc. I know this is off topic of gaming, but Man of Steel was a really good example of this, in my opinion. We were supposed to care about Superman killing someone, despite the fact he’d the last 30 minutes crashing through office blocks with gay abandon and nary a thought for human life.

      A special mention should go to games that do it right though: e.g. Spec Ops: the Line. Sets up the trope than massively demolishes it with a punch to the metaphorical emotional gut. For all its flaws as a game, that part I found devastatingly effective.

    • Dingbatwhirr says:

      YES. It’s comments like yours which make me wish that RPS had an upvote system.

      Moral inconsistency annoys me so much, whether it’s in a game or a film. I can (just about) deal with stuff which expects me to get behind someone or something that I consider to be immoral (e.g. a Tarantino film or some of the CoD games); I can suspend my moral judgments for a bit. But, as you say, the problem really arises when apparent ‘moral dilemmas’ seem to contradict what’s already been established. I know it isn’t a game, but the best example I can think of is Man of Steel. [Spoilers] We’re supposed to be bothered about Superman’s decision to kill at the end, but we’ve spent the last 30 minutes watching him crash through office blocks with gay abandon and apparently no thought for human life.

      (Kudos to the games/films which get it right though. The major one for me was Spec Ops: the Line. It set up things as though it was going to follow the usual CoD trope of presenting the death of ‘enemies’ as good while inviting concern about the death of a comrade. Then it went and skewered that trope with an emotional punch to the metaphorical gut. For all its other faults, I found that part devastatingly effective.)

  5. Premium User Badge

    Harlander says:

    Looks like the timeline is jumping forward by about a decade with each entry in the series.

    Can’t wait for Mafia XI, a gritty tale of organised crime in the run-down slums of Asimov City, chipped jewel of the Martian Federal Republic!

    • SyrusRayne says:

      You might be joking, but I think that sounds absolutely fantastic.

      • Premium User Badge

        Harlander says:

        I know, right?

        Red Faction: Guerilla is the closest thing to a sci-fi GTA-alike I can casually recall, and much as I enjoyed knocking buildings down with a big hammer, I’d love a somewhat more restrained, character-focussed take.

        • Unclepauly says:

          I think he was comparing to a mafia game not GTA

          • Premium User Badge

            Harlander says:

            I’m just using “GTA-alike” as a shorthand for “open-world driving and pedestrian gunplay with narrative missions game”, into which Mafia fit fairly well, even though the original’s open world was somewhat more constrained than GTA’s.

  6. Fnord73 says:

    Aaaargh, I really hope you can turn of the WatchDogs icon saturation. All the gameplay I have seen so far is really really iconheavy.

    • haldolium says:

      That’s what is destroying most modern games for me. Dumb icon hunt instead of driven world exploration as well as overkill of useless and unnecessary information for joe afterwork exhausted gamer with nothing put into allowing the game to speak for itself and making it playable without the horrific flash huds. Best even when they come full of aliasing and delays or mouse accelearation (ok that one at least seems mostly gone)

      Not to speak of checklist games. Distracting. Disgusting.

      Interface design is THE most horrible treated area in current and last generation games. And no one gives a shit.

      • Unclepauly says:

        Plenty of people give a shit. That’s why their is a huge push for customizable UI’s and also the ability to completley turn off the UI. I feel we are finally getting to a point where the UI won’t be much of a problem anymore.

        • jonahcutter says:


          Far Cry Primal is a pretty good example of this. Big budget glossy open world map clearing game. Existing, highly successful formula, Yet they’ve still made the UI fairly customizable. Even adding in post-release elements to make the game more difficult and immersive.

          Even a developer as huge, and maligned, as Ubi can apparently give a shit.

  7. Stevostin says:

    No first person driving ? K thx bye.

  8. SlimShanks says:

    Huh, I actually really loved the driving physics in both Mafia and Mafia 2. They felt pretty realistic, which was great because there aren’t any other open world games with physics even approaching realism, not to mention it fit with the games attention to detail in general (moreso the first than second).
    I invented drifting in the 1930’s, I’m so ahead of the game!
    I can’t say I’m surprised that it wasn’t popular though. I mean, people don’t pick up a game called Mafia looking for a driving sim…