What We Can Learn From The First Mafia III Image

by Matt Bertz on Jul 28, 2015 at 11:13 AM

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Earlier today 2K Games revealed the key art for Mafia III, the third entry in the cult organized crime series. After looking closely at the image, we gleaned some hints at the new setting and era. Here are our educated guesses on where 2K is taking the franchise. 

Arrivederci La Cosa Nostra?
Judging from the wardrobe and haircuts on display in this image, Mafia III could be branching out from its Italian Mafia roots in favor of a more eclectic organized crime experience. Toned down are the slick haircuts and power suits of the early mobsters in this first piece of art. Though the silhouettes make it hard to see what exactly each of the four characters is wearing, the inclusion of a woman with an afro and a few people not wearing traditional mafioso garb point to a new direction (or at least a team-up). Perhaps the gangsters are more Leftie Ruggiero than Lucky Luciano, but the early indications point to a diversification of subject matter.

Welcome To The Drug Era
Maybe the gangsters in Mafia III are modern men (and women) with a shared passion for classic muscle cars, but if the vehicles in the key art are any indication of era, then we're heading to the late '60s to early '70s when these classic mid-period muscle cars were all the rage. I'm not a car guy, so I asked a friend to place the models into a specific era. He said the stacked headlights on the car on the far right make it kind of look like either a '64 Pontiac Catalina or maybe a '65 - '67 Mercury Comet depending on how much the rear quarter panel curves down vs. being angular/square. The car second from the right has the scooped hood design that matches '69 - '71 Chevelles, Skylarks, GSX, or GTOs. 

If this is indeed the time period 2K Games is targeting, it opens the game up to a rich historical time period where many outfits were making money hand over fist from drug trafficking and the U.S. government passed RICO laws to crack down on these borderless crime syndicates.  

Going Down South
Brighten up the Mafia III image and it becomes clearer that, yes, those are alligators in the foreground of a swamp-like setting. The geographical region featuring the American alligator stretches around the southern coast from east Texas, through Louisiana and Florida, and right up to North Carolina. This deep south setting gives 2K Games several different organized crime groups to set the game around. The Dixie Mafia (think some of the criminals from the hit FX show Justified) is a loose criminal syndicate specializing in illegal moneymaking operations outside of big cities, where the law enforcement is typically weak. Their racketeering reach includes gambling dens, murder for hire, and drugs. 

If 2K wants to cling closer to the La Cosa Nostra roots, South Florida would be a fantastic choice for the setting. The Italian Mafia has had a presence there since Lucky Luciano consigliere Meyer Lansky set up carpet joints in the 1930s. Should 2K be looking for an urban backdrop more in line with the previous two games, Miami and its outlying regions would be a fantastic choice. The Magic City served as the main point of entry for a lot of the marijuana and cocaine that funneled through the United States from South America in 1960s, 1970s, and '80s (as documented in the fantastic documentary Cocaine Cowboys). This would also hark back to one of the most beloved open-world games of all time, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, though the time period for Mafia III looks to be earlier than that neon-tinged era. 

Be sure to check GameInformer.com on August 5 to see the first trailer for Mafia III. Hopefully this early look will give us more to chew on.