PCPOWERPLAY - - Front Page -

The era of long hype cam­paigns for triple A games seems to be com­ing to an end. Fall­out 4, for in­stance, has been in de­vel­op­ment for nearly 5 years but was not anounced un­til E3 and will be in our hands in just a few months. Mafia 3 is fol­low­ing a sim­i­lar strat­egy. Its ex­is­tence was leaked roughly a week be­fore Gamescom where the game was for­mally anounced, with a ten­ta­tive re­lease date set at April 2016.

It was at Gamescom that we had the opor­tu­nity to see the game in ac­tion be­hind closed doors guarded by a bouncer hired to keep ev­ery­one away who had not been ex­plic­itly in­vited for the demon­stra­tion. No record­ings of any kind were al­lowed and we had to stow away our cell­phones.

The demon­stra­tion was given by mem­bers of the new de­vel­op­ment team Hangar 13, a stu­dio 2K opened a few years ago in Marin County just north of San Fran­cisco, specif­i­caly to work on Mafia 3 and the tech­nol­ogy that drives the game. Pre­vi­ous games in the fran­chise were made by 2K CZECH, but most of the team work­ing on the Mafia games was dis­banded af­ter re­lease of Mafia 2. Key mem­bers of that team started their own stu­dio and are now mak­ing King­dom Come: De­liv­er­ance.

The ac­tion of Mafia has moved from the fic­ti­tious city of Em­pire Bay to New Or­leans in 1968, and Mafia 2 pro­tag­o­nist Vito has also made the move, not as a playable char­ac­ter but as one of three lieu­tenants of new lead Lin­coln Clay.

Lin­coln Clay is a mixed race or­phan who at adult­hood was taken in by the Black Mob in New Or­leans. They be­came the fam­ily for him that he never had. Lin­coln gets drafted for the war in Viet­nam and upon his re­turn finds his gang bru­tally mur­dered by the Ital­ian Mafia, and thus be­gins his quest for ven­gance.

The demon­stra­tion started par­tially into a mis­sion in which Lin­coln has re­ceived news about a Mafia safe house. He sets out to find a drug dealer with more in­for­ma­tion as to its lo­ca­tion.

As Lin­coln walked the vir­tual streets of six­ties New Or­leans the first thing we no­ticed was the in­cred­i­ble sur­round sound, back­ground chat­ter and noise from the non player char­ac­ters in­hab­it­ing the city came from all sides and was suit­ably muted depend­ing on their dis­tance to the pro­tag­o­nist. As he walked the streets Lin­coln wit­nessed a mixed race cou­ple get­ting ha­rassed by a racist po­lice­man and had the op­tion to en­gage or leave. It was not un­like the so called Ran­dom Events in GTAV, and in this case the per­son demo­ing the game de­cided to leave and as he did so Lin­coln with a gruff voice said, “You are lucky I have some place to go right now”.

The drug deal­ers base of op­er­a­tion as it turns out was a nearby ceme­try over­run by cou­ples mak­ing out, peo­ple smok­ing joints and drink­ing beer, so ini­tially at least, Lin­coln could just walk around un­no­ticed. As he came closer to the drug dealer and his body­guards how­ever, the player de­cided to use stealth by hid­ing be­hind grave­stones and dodg­ing from cover to cover as if he was Mar­cus Phenix from Gears of War. Once close enough a fight broke out and we were in­tro­duced to the games melee com­bat sys­tem. It was ev­i­dent that Hangar 13 has put a lot of ef­fort into the sys­tem. Lin­coln is a Viet­nam vet­eran, a big mus­cu­lar and in­tim­i­dat­ing guy who shares Gabe Newells pas­sion for knives, so the first body­guard was quickly fin­ished with a stab to the face. He was the lucky one. The sec­ond guy suf­fered far longer, punched and kicked re­peat­edly un­til fi­nally his head was crushed against a grave­stone.

Mean­while the drug dealer was get­ting away, so Lin­coln pur­sued him on foot, fi­nally catch­ing up with him as he reached his car. The car trig­gered a new in­ter­ro­ga­tion sys­tem. There are sev­eral ways to in­ter­ro­gate peo­ple or ex­tract in­for­ma­tion built around fear. Scare the sub­ject so he gives the info you want. It’s sim­i­lar to the mis­sions in the Saints Row games where you trans­port a tiger and have to drive dan­ger­ously. Pow­er­slide, drive to­wards in­com­ing traf­fic and gen­er­ally be­have like a lu­natic so the sub­ject be­comes co-op­er­a­tive. All the while the car stereo is play­ing For­tu­nate son by Cree­dence Clear­wa­ter Re­vival.

Once the drug dealer had be­come scared enough to dis­close the lo­ca­tion of the safe house the player was faced with a choice, death or mercy. Lin­coln was ob­vi­ously not in a for­giv­ing mood so he shot the drug dealer point blank in the head and pushed him out of the car. This of course at­tracted po­lice at­ten­tion re­sult­ing in po­lice cars chas­ing the Viet­nam vet­eran. Once he man­aged to put a lit­tle dis­tance be­tween him­self and the chas­ing cops, a stop was made at a phone­booth and Lin­coln called one of his lieu­tenants to bribe the po­lice, drop­ping his wanted level.

With the po­lice dealt with and the lo­ca­tion of the safe house known the quest con­tin­ued. En­ter­ing the safe house could be done in sev­eral ways. The more in­tel gath­ered through in­ter­ro­ga­tion and in­ves­ti­ga­tion the more op­tions be­come avail­able. In the demo stealth was again used, with Lin­coln sneak­ing to a nearby house, hid­ing be­hind cover and then pop­ping out to ex­e­cute any guard un­lucky enough to cross him. From that house and a se­ries of un­der­ground tun­nels he reached the safe house, where psy­che­delic lights and mu­sic were en­ter­tain­ing a crowd of hip­pies high on halu­cino­gens.

Once Lin­coln elim­i­nated the leader of that safe house, all hell broke loose. The op­por­tu­nity to re­main stealthy lost, it was time to go all out. One of the first mob­sters killed dropped a shot­gun and Lin­coln put it to good use. If one of the op­po­nents came close enough Lin­coln could per­form a fin­ish­ing move, these in­cluded, much like the melee fin­ish­ing moves, cin­e­matic up close take downs, like ram­ming the shot­gun in a mob­sters stom­ach and pulling the trig­ger or break­ing their neck with the butt. It was all very vis­ceral and ex­tremely vi­o­lent. While this fire­fight was go­ing on, the hip­pies went in full panic mode, try­ing to hide or run away, some­times get­ting in the line of fire. Af­ter about 10 min­utes of fight­ing the safe house was cleared of the mob­sters and Lin­coln gained con­trol of an ex­tra sec­tion on the map of New Or­leans, one step closer to own­ing the city.

Next on the agenda was as­sign­ing the new safe house to one of his three lieu­tenants. Each lieu­tenant comes with his or her own perks and can be used to aid your skill tree. How­ever, fa­vor­ing one over the oth­ers, as we were in­formed, might have con­se­quences. The mob­sters, af­ter the fall of another one of their strongholds, sent re­in­force­ments to elim­i­nate Lin­coln. This in­tro­duced car com­bat that felt sim­i­lar to that in Sleep­ing Dogs, lean­ing out of the car to shoot the tires of mob­ster ve­hi­cles caus­ing them to crash, or shoot­ing the driver to achieve the same ob­jec­tive. All to the driv­ing rhythms of Paint it Black. With that the demo came to an end.

From what we saw of the game at Gamescom, it is ob­vi­ous that Hangar 13 is go­ing all out on Mafia 3, hav­ing built a new en­gine from the ground up specif­i­cally for the game and hav­ing al­ready worked on it for nearly four years. This was ev­i­dent in ev­ery­thing shown, from the ex­cel­lent sound to Lin­coln’s fine an­i­ma­tions, and the new physics based driv­ing model.

One of the crit­i­cisms Mafia 2 re­ceived was that it was a sand­box game with very lit­tle to do within its sand­box out­side the main story. Mafia 3 should rem­edy this. The de­vel­op­ers told us that they will hold on to the strong nar­ra­tive main game the fans have come to ex­pect but there will be more things to do in New Or­leans that have lit­tle or no bear­ing on the main nar­ra­tive.

The in­tro­duc­tion of choices and the re­la­tion­ship be­tween your three lieu­tenants too can open up a lot of new pos­si­bil­i­ties. Casandra, Burke and Vito all come with their own boost­ing abil­i­ties for Lin­coln, so man­ag­ing them well should add an ex­tra layer of strat­egy on top of the core game­play.

Mafia 3 may be Hangar 13s first game as a stu­dio, but the stu­dio was formed with tal­ent from sev­eral 2K/Rock­star stu­dios as well as tal­ent at­tracted from other com­pa­nies, as the stu­dio was built from the ground up to pro­duce big Triple A ti­tles. From what we have seen so far, if they can keep up the in­ten­sity of the game over its vast cam­paign and keep the story in­ter­est­ing it should make for an ex­pe­ri­ence that pleases fans of the fran­chise as well as at­tract new play­ers.

Its fully li­censed 60s sound­track is just ic­ing on the cake. HASAN ALI ALMACI


Carry on my way­ward son

That’s why you don’t take a Pinto into a race

The in­tro to ev­ery war vet­eran movie ever made

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.