Mafia 3 isn’t trying to cure racism, but it does want you to think

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Mafia 3 interview

Mafia 3 is certainly an open-world videogame. You’ll drive loads of cars, shoot loads of guns and generally have agency in a massive 1968 recreation of New Orleans that’s free for you to explore. That’s all there by default almost, but it’s what Mafia 3 is doing with its story that has grabbed my attention. Authenticity is key to what Hanger 13 is doing with its racially tense tale, but it’s one that they’re not hoping to achieve anything grand with.

Last week I sat down with the Executive Producer on Mafia 3, Andy Wilson, to talk about some of the deeply important themes Mafia 3 is dealing with. Protagonist Lincoln Clay is of mixed heritage, and so becomes a target of the predominantly racist population of New Bordeaux. That means skew looks from police and most white citizens in general – while the world around him conducts itself in a similar manner.

Wilson says that Hanger 13 wanted to be authentic to the era they were portraying, but understands that they’re not trying to cure racism. Instead, they want to get players thinking.

“It’s not some kind of political statement or commentary on anything. it’s trying to be authentic and trying to tell a story about this character and have the world react to him in a way that it would’ve reacted to him in that time period. Hayden, the creative director, has said a few times ‘we’re not trying to cure racism with this game’. We don’t think we will – of course that would be ridiculous. But if it makes a few people think then that’s not a bad thing.”

Wilson also detailed some of the delicate relationships Lincoln has with his three underbosses, and how their egos and personalities will help shape your story in Mafia 3 to your actions. It’s still a linear story being told, but just with enough wiggle room to make it feel personal to you.

Mafia 3 is out on Xbox One, PS4 and PC on October 7th. For our full impressions on six hours with the game, check out our preview.

Last Updated: September 26, 2016

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