Mafia 3 may have a different style to the first two Mafia games, but it’s still a great game in its own right. It’s got a gripping story, an interesting open-world setting, and a killer soundtrack. To make this all complete, it needs a great cast of characters, and Mafia 3 doesn’t fail on that part. Mafia 3 has a huge cast, but this list features the most memorable to appear in the game. Narrowing it down to just 10 isn’t easy, so let’s see who made the list.
Be aware that spoilers lie ahead for the main story.
1. LINCOLN CLAY
Lincoln is different to the protagonists of the first two Mafia games. For a start, he’s black, and with Mafia 3 being set in the late 1960s, this makes things very interesting. Many characters treat Lincoln differently to that of a white person. Lincoln not only goes to war against Sal Marcano and his associates, but also the prejudice facing black people like himself.
Lincoln is also a big man, compared to Tommy Angelo and Vito Scaletta, Mafia‘s previous protagonists. He’s very intimidating and stands out. After his surrogate family are betrayed and murdered, Lincoln vows a brutal revenge. He wants Sal Marcano to know what it’s like to have everything taken away, to make him and his associates suffer.
Lincoln served in the special forces in Vietnam. This comes into full force when he wages war against Sal Marcano. He strategically kills off the lower-level associates and works his way up, taking over the entire city of New Bordeaux, until only Sal is left.
Lincoln is brutal with his killings. His first big execution is Ritchie Doucet, hanging him from a Ferris wheel at an abandoned theme park. He also throws a man off the top floor of a skyscraper, guts a man and ties him to a statue, and burns another on a cross. This may seem very over-the-top, but Lincoln is doing this to send a message. He’s coming after Marcano, and no one had better mess with him.
Lincoln isn’t always a cold-blooded killer though. He lets a man go after he’s finished interrogating him. In the case of lieutenant Enzo Conti, instead of killing him, Lincoln helps him get out of town. Lincoln might be a brutal killer, but he’s also willing to help those who need it. He doesn’t want anyone else to suffer under Marcano.
Lincoln has a lot of enemies, but he also has a lot of friends and associates. Lincoln calls in his war friend John Donovan to help him take down Sal. There’s also Father James, who is Lincoln’s mentor. Lincoln rallies Cassandra, Vito, and Burke to help him run New Bordeaux as he takes over the city. Lincoln can stab them in the back, or he can be loyal to them, fairly assigning rackets and districts and helping them out with errands and their own issues.
At the end, it’s up to the player who they want Lincoln to be. Depending on the player’s choices, he can end up a better man than Sal Marcano, or be just as bad as him.
2. JOHN DONOVAN
A C.I.A. operative who is a good friend of Lincoln’s from the Vietnam War. When Lincoln’s surrogate family were killed, Lincoln call Donovan to help him bring down Sal. Donovan jumped at the call, eager to help his friend. While Lincoln was recuperating, Donovan barely left his side.
Donovan makes sure that Lincoln has everything he needs to take down Sal. He tells Lincoln who he needs to go after, where to find them, what they’re up to, and how to get to them. Donovan is very good at his job, never failing Lincoln.
Donovan is a bit of a loose cannon. He prefers to break the rules and do his own thing, even if it gets him into trouble. He conflicts with Father James on instructing Lincoln what to do; Father James wanting Lincoln to turn the other cheek, while Donovan eggs Lincoln on. He also encourages Lincoln to take over the city and even betray his underbosses. He appears to disregard authority. He is dismissive of Father James’ guidance to Lincoln, and is also irritated when being interrogated by the Senator.
Donovan is interviewed by the US Senate about his actions with Lincoln. He confronts the Senator about the assassination of President Kennedy. Donovan talks passionately about how he did everything he was asked in the Vietnam War because he thought he was doing it for his country, even terrible things that’ll haunt him. When he found out the President had been killed, he was furious and wanted to take action. Donovan pulls out a gun and calls the Senator out for his involvement in the assassination. He kills the Senator, vowing to deal with everyone involved.
There’s something quite disturbing about the way Donovan coldly kills the Senator and then laughs. He also acts smug and doesn’t deny his involvement with taking down the Marcano’s. He can act jovial, but he does have a dark, almost psychopathic side to him.
3. FATHER JAMES BALLARD
Knowing Lincoln from a young age, Father James is very close to him. As a priest, he takes it upon himself to offer Lincoln guidance – or try to, at least. He knows that Lincoln has had a rough upbringing, growing up in an orphanage, growing up as a black person in times of racism and prejudice, and getting associated with the Black Mob. Father James wants what’s best for Lincoln. He doesn’t want Lincoln to become a bad person, but with Lincoln having so many people and events influencing him, Father James’ efforts are futile.
In interviews, an older Father James talks fondly about Lincoln, but he is also heartbroken about what happened to Lincoln and his family. Father James also talks about his beliefs, his own personal experiences, and his views of the world. He’s a wise man who’s seen a lot and wants more good in the world, heartbroken by all the badness and hate.
When Lincoln was shot and left for dead at the bar, Father James rescued him from the inferno. Father James looks after Lincoln during his long recovery. Lincoln makes a miraculous recovery under his care. Unfortunately, Father James didn’t expect Lincoln to go on a mission to murder Marcano and his associates.
Father James strongly disagrees with Lincoln going after Sal Marcano. He tries in vain to reason with Lincoln, warning him that he’s going down a path he can’t turn back on. At the end, when Lincoln has to choose between leaving the city or running it, Father James gives him another warning. If he doesn’t leave town, then Father James wants nothing more to do with Lincoln. This puts Lincoln into a tougher position, torn between power and his old friend. Lincoln’s surrogate family is dead, so Father James is all Lincoln has. If Lincoln leaves, the two stay on good terms, with Lincoln keeping in touch occasionally. If Lincoln stays and rules the city though, despite doing good, Father James is upset by his decision.
Even though he saved Lincoln’s life, Father James is just as willing to kill him. If Lincoln chooses to betray and kill all his underbosses and rule alone, Father James will kill Lincoln with a bomb he planted on his car. He felt that he had to do it, afraid that Lincoln was becoming too much like Sal Marcano. It’s a shocking turn of events, especially as Father James is a priest and doesn’t seem the type to want to hurt anyone.
The first underboss that Lincoln recruits to help him run New Bordeaux. She operates from a voodoo shop. When you first meet her, she seems like a broken, used woman. However, it turns out that she’s the real leader of the Haitians, a tough, no-nonsense woman.
Cassandra forms an alliance with Lincoln, even though they seem an unlikely match. Cassandra is black and has faced struggles like Lincoln, but they have different opinions on how things are done. One example is when Cassandra is interrogating a member of the Dixie Mafia. She wants to kill him, but Lincoln lets him go instead, to Cassandra’s annoyance. Lincoln and Cassandra have a hard time trusting each other. Cassandra doesn’t believe Lincoln is committed enough, and Lincoln thinks Cassandra is a loose cannon. If you treat her well though, she gets on better with Lincoln.
Cassandra is fiercely protective of her people and won’t hesitate to take matters into her own hands. She gets Lincoln to steal guns for her, so she can supply the black population with them, as they’re prohibited from possessing fire arms. Her daughter and mother were killed because they couldn’t defend themselves, and Cassandra wants to prevent it from happening to someone else.
Cassandra supplies Lincoln with some useful contacts, one who can disable phone lines, which prevents witnesses from calling the police or sentries from calling in reinforcements, saving you a lot of hassle. She also provides you with a contact who supplies weapons and upgrades. In a game loaded with shootouts, you’ll be needing it.
If Lincoln chooses to leave the city, Cassandra may end up running it. Things gets so bad that the government seizes funding, as she makes many enemies. She’s so notorious that a hurricane that destroys the city is named after her. Cassandra taking control means an unhappy ending for her and the citizens of New Bordeaux.
5. VITO SCALETTA
If you’ve played Mafia II, then you’ll already know about Vito. He returns in Mafia 3, having relocated to New Bordeaux, now working for Marcano. Sal doesn’t think much of Vito. It’s no surprise that Sal ends up betraying him. The one thing Vito hates is betrayal, and he’s all onboard with Lincoln to take Marcano down. Loyalty is important to Vito, so it’s wise to keep him happy as Lincoln’s underboss.
Vito’s probably become more ruthless since Mafia II. After saving Vito, you help him regain control of River Row from Michael Grecco, Sal’s nephew. Vito wastes no time in interrogating him. Vito is not best pleased to see Grecco. He even cuts off one of his fingers to make him talk. Vito decides to finish Grecco in a rather grisly way, by turning him into fish food.
Vito has his own mission in Mafia 3; he wants to avenge the death of his best friend Joe Barbaro, from Mafia II. It’s rather touching that even after all this time, Vito still cares greatly about Joe, and clearly misses him. Vito asks Lincoln to deal with the men he holds responsible for Joe’s death.
Vito has some rather useful contacts for Lincoln. His mob doctor gives Lincoln extra adrenaline shots, as well as improved health and stamina, so it’s harder for Lincoln to go down in those tricky shootouts. Vito has one super-useful contact which is a massive time-saver and convenience, in the form of a consigliere. You can call the consigliere pretty much anytime and anyplace, and they’ll take any money you’re carrying, as well as collecting any kickback. The third contact is in the form of hit squads. If you’re faced with an intense shootout and you don’t want to fight alone, you can call these guys in and they’ll be ready to fight. They’ll help you take out as many goons as possible to make your fight easier.
If Lincoln leaves town at the end of the game and Vito takes control, his ending is the most positive of all the underbosses. Vito takes control of Sal’s casino. Over time, Vito turns New Bordeaux into a place like Las Vegas. In the present day, Vito is still alive and living in the casino’s penthouse. This is a big contrast to Cassandra and Burke, who lead the city into ruin and end up dead. Vito managed to be sensible with running the city and stayed alive, giving him and the city a happy ending.
6. THOMAS BURKE
The head of the Irish Mob, Burke and his son Danny help with the Federal Reserve heist. Burke hopes to redeem himself after falling out of favor with Sal. However, it all goes horribly wrong as the Marcano’s betray everyone, including Burke. Danny is killed, sending Burke into grieving, drinking heavily and heartbroken. Lincoln promises to help Burke get revenge.
Burke isn’t quick to agreeing to be Lincoln’s underboss. He’s too full of grief to join Lincoln’s fight. It takes some persuading to get Burke to change his mind. Lincoln was heavily affected by Sal’s betrayal, but Burke is almost completely destroyed. If Lincoln hadn’t intervened, Burke would have gone on a serious downhill spiral.
Burke asks for Lincoln’s help with dealing with Roman Barbieri, who took over Burke’s territory and even partially crippled him. Burke leaves him alive long enough to torture him. Barbieri’s skeleton is found years later in the trunk of a sunken car, with his legs broken so many times that there wasn’t much bone left. This gives us a rather grisly idea of Burke’s payback on Barbieri. Burke may seem like a reckless drunk, but he is not to be underestimated.
Throughout the game, Burke has Lincoln steal cars for him. He claims they’re for the I.R.A., but eventually, Burke reveals he’s dying from liver cancer. Concerned for his daughter Nicki, he wants to sell the cars so she has something after Burke is gone. Since Burke and Nicki have a tense relationship, it’s surprisingly touching and thoughtful. He clearly cares for his daughter, despite her feelings towards him.
As an underboss, Burke offers Lincoln some useful contacts and favors. He can have someone deliver cars to Lincoln, which comes in handy if you don’t want to find a car to steal or you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere. He also has a contact who can make the police ignore you and any crimes you commit for a short time. Since the police are easy to attract and very hard to shake off once you get their attention, this comes in handy.
Burke can take over the city if Lincoln leaves. He gets himself a new liver from the black market in Mexico, allowing him to live on. He doesn’t treat the city well, using it to run booze as well as drugs. New Bordeaux, renamed as Bourbon City by Burke, becomes a dangerous lawless place, ending in Burke’s death. Even after Burke dies, the city is in a bad way.
7. SAMMY ROBINSON
Sammy Robinson is leader of the Black Mob, and he owns and runs a bar. Sammy has close ties with Sal Marcano, but business between the two becomes tense when Sammy fails to pay his dues to Sal. Sammy is anxious to make it up to him.
Sammy might be a mob boss, but he’s a good man at heart. He cares about the community, particularly the poor black population where he resides. He also took in Lincoln Clay after the orphanage was closed, becoming Lincoln’s surrogate father. Sammy cared a lot for Lincoln, worrying about him when he was away fighting. Sammy also has a son, Ellis, who was also very close to Lincoln.
Sammy’s association with Sal Marcano brings him a lot of trouble. For a start, some disagree with him working with a non-black gang, including the Haitians, who mess with him. Sammy might come across as a kind and warm man, but he orders the Haitians to be killed. To make amends with Sal, Sammy agrees to help him with the Federal Reserve heist.
Lincoln has huge respect for Sammy, as a leader and a surrogate father. When Sal wants Lincoln to take over from Sammy, Lincoln refuses out of loyalty, even though it disappoints Sal.
The heist is a success, but Sal callously shoots Sammy dead and sets fire to his bar. Sammy’s death has an enormous impact on Lincoln, the reason he goes after Sal.
8. SAL MARCANO
The main antagonist of Mafia 3. Sal runs all of New Bordeaux.
Sal was the brains behind the Federal Reserve heist. He betrayed the Black Mob, as well as Vito and Burke. Sal shoots Sammy Robinson dead, even calling him a racial slur. This act is what kicks Lincoln into a war against the Marcano’s. Killing Sal is the ultimate goal of the game.
Sal gives you chills, with a big presence that’s hard to ignore. He’s so authoritative that you daren’t say no to him, with a voice that’ll rip through you. That’s what happens to Lincoln Clay, costing him his family, friends, and nearly his own life. Sal is not someone you want to upset, and many people fear him. His associates know that if Lincoln doesn’t finish them off, then Sal will. This happens with Olivia Marcano, when Lincoln chooses not to finish her.
There’s more to Sal than meets the eye though. He’s fed up with the criminal life and having a target on his head, constantly stressed and tired. He’s getting old and wants to go legit. The big plan is to open up a casino in New Bordeaux. He wants his son Giorgi to go straight too and settle down with a family, scared he’ll end up dead. As Lincoln unravels Sal’s big plans, Sal becomes increasingly desperate, clinging onto his hope for a simpler and safer future.
Sal is almost a tragic villain. He might be ruthless and cunning, but he just wants to protect his son. You almost feel a bit sorry for Sal, except he cruelly betrayed Lincoln and many other people. When Lincoln finally confronts Sal, he knows it’s all over, with his son dead. Sal has no desire to fight back. After everything you went through in the game, facing off against countless enemies, there’s no big boss battle with Sal. He shares a last drink with Lincoln and then practically begs him to finish him off. If you do nothing, Sal shoots himself. Lincoln’s plan to tear down Sal piece-by-piece worked all-too-well. He was destroyed by the time Lincoln reached him.
9. GIORGI MARCANO
The son of Sal Marcano. It’s interesting how Lincoln and Giorgi were once friends, considering their backgrounds. Giorgi was raised in a rich white background, with his father being the big mafia boss of the city, while Lincoln was from a poor black background. The racial views of those days didn’t seem to deter Lincoln and Giorgi though. During the Federal Reserve heist, Giorgi actually apologizes to Lincoln for joining in with any racial language, stating that it’s nothing personal. This is quite surprising on Giorgi’s part. He might be a flawed character, but this is the only time someone actually apologizes for any racism.
Even though Giorgi is good friends with Lincoln, it doesn’t stop him from shooting Lincoln in the head, leaving him for dead. After turning his gun on Danny Burke, he sets the bar on fire before leaving. Luckily for Lincoln, the bullet doesn’t penetrate his skull, surviving. This was Giorgi’s biggest mistake, and one reason Sal’s plans were scuppered. Maybe Giorgi failed to kill Lincoln because he didn’t really want to, only doing it on his father’s orders.
Giorgi does whatever his father tells him, even if it means killing his own friends. Giorgi relishes in being a gangster. He doesn’t share his father’s enthusiasm for going legit and settling down with a family. He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty. He is right alongside Lincoln in the Federal Reserve heist, although that’s only because he needed to steal some money plates. Giorgi also killed Olivia Marcano, slitting her throat in a hospital. It’s quite disturbing the way he seems to enjoy this unnerving act.
Giorgi is on Lincoln’s kill list, right next to Sal. When Lincoln confronts Giorgi at the final showdown, Giorgi tells him that he was doing it for his father, just as Lincoln would do anything for Sammy. Since Giorgi almost killed Lincoln, his death is personal.
10. REMY DUVALL
If you thought Sal Marcano was the most unpleasant character in Mafia 3, think again. Remy Duvall is probably the most vile character you’ll come across in the game.
Racism is a theme throughout the game, but Remy takes it to a whole other level. He is leader of the Southern Union, Mafia 3‘s answer to the Ku Klux Klan, a group of white supremacists. One example of a vile act is a black slave auction, selling blacks to rich white folk. The Southern Union is so abominable that you don’t even get the choice of sparing the racket leaders, and Lincoln refuses to have anything to do with the practice, the facilities being used for something else.
Remy owns the land the casino is built on and is Sal’s only legitimate business partner. Sal has Olivia Marcano keep Remy under her thumb. When Remy learns that Lincoln, a black man, is undoing all his work, he decides to take care of Lincoln himself, despite Olivia’s strong protests.
Remy has his own radio show, Native Son. He talks about different topics, usually involving racism. He may present himself as a pleasant man, but that is far from the truth. His true colors are revealed when he makes his final broadcast after Lincoln tears down his operations, drunkenly ranting against blacks and rallying the Southern Union, ending with him protesting as he is forcibly removed from the station.
Remy gathers his Southern Union followers and gives a big speech about how they’re going to burn down the black folk’s neighborhoods and teach them a lesson. Remy’s death is long coming. Defeated, Remy’s literally laughs in the face of death, even spitting on Lincoln’s face – big mistake! Remy meets an ironic death when he is burnt on his own cross.
That completes the list of top 10 characters in Mafia 3. It certainly wasn’t easy choosing from a big cast, and a lot of other great characters sadly didn’t make it onto this list, but each and every character will stick in our minds after playing the game.