Last year was more challenging than any in living memory. Quarantined, restricted from seeing loved ones and hunting through empty supermarkets, fighting over toilet paper – it wasn’t good. One of the few lights in the darkness was and continues to be video games. One such “bright light” was the remastering of Mafia II and Mafia III, as well as the full remake of the original Mafia: Definitive Edition. The trilogy provided a much-needed respite from world events and reignited my hope to see the franchise continue.
With that said, here are three avenues that the franchise could take in a future sequel that Hanger 13 is hopefully working on.
The Groovy Seventies
The franchise has followed a chronological order from prohibition to the social turmoil of the sixties. Reason would suggest that the next stop would be sometime in the seventies. The decade was a successful one for the Mob as the families made their way into more legitimate rackets like construction. It was also a transition period where younger hoods started their climb to the top. These were second-generation Italian-Americans who showed but a passing respect to the oaths their mentors took. The powers of law enforcement were also sharpened, allowing them to bug known Mob hangouts and even the houses of godfathers – this would eventually be the downfall of the Mafia.
As for a future sequel, one possibility comes to mind straight away – a narrative with two converging threads, one of a lawman and a gangster. Taking this path could also suggest a return to an established setting, most likely Empire Bay. The last time we saw the franchise’s vision of New York City was over a decade ago; considering the significant improvement in graphics between then and now, the developer could bring the Big Apple to life, unlike any game before it. A return to Empire Bay could also mean a return and a fitting ending for Vito Scaletta who deserves to have his story come to a satisfying conclusion, something Mafia III failed to do.
Las Vegas Or San Francisco
It’s no secret that the city of sin was built, funded and controlled by the Mafia, specifically the Chicago Outfit. From the late 40s to the mid-eighties, Las Vegas was the Mob’s bankroll. Although predictable, it’s a city tailor-made for organised crime and would make a perfect setting for a sequel. Considered a “free city” by the nation’s underworld, several families used Vegas as an income source known as ‘the skim’. The Mob would skim money off the casino’s gross earnings in layman’s terms before it could be counted and forwarded to the IRS for tax. Anyone familiar with Martin Scorsese’s Casino knows there’s plenty of mob tales to be mined from the city’s seedy history.
Conversely, San Francisco would make a fitting base for a crime tale, but not quite for the same reason as Vegas. The Italian crime families never held a significant presence on the West Coast and were considered by the guy’s back east as the “Micky Mouse Mafia”. Its vibrant Asian community far more influenced the Bay City, and while this diaspora was mostly law-abiding, the criminal Triad element made deep roots in the city. Both of these locations have so much to offer but are under-utilised, in my opinion. Exploring either city, before the family-sanitisation of Vegas or pre-silicon valley Frisco would be excellent.
The Narco Connection
The interest in South and Central American organised crime has increased exponentially with the help of shows like Netflix’s brilliant Narcos series. The show follows the rise of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, his downfall, and the Mexican cartels’ eventual supremacy.I’ve always been disappointed by how south and Central American locations are depicted in video game, often as dilapidated and war-torn failed states.
Too often is the culture and fascinating history of these lands ignored, set aside for the typical sunshine and dictators motif. Hanger 13 nailed the world-building in Mafia: Definitive Edition. I see no reason why the studio couldn’t do justice to say Bogotá or Guadalajara, naturally giving them alternative names as is the the studio’s tendency.
Sadly, this is the least likely of all my ideas. We know nothing concrete about Grand Theft Auto 6, but a popular rumour is that the game will take inspiration from Narcos. If we assume a 2025 release for GTA 6, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that we could also get a Mafia game within the same timeframe. A sequel, if in development, would likely have been so for roughly four years. The fandom surrounding Rockstar’s seminal franchise is magnitudes larger than Mafia. With both studios under the banner of Take-Two Interactive, it’s unlikely that two games would be so similar in setting.
Ultimately we don’t know if or when we’ll see the studio’s next project or whether it’ll be a Mafia game at all. But if Hanger 13 are busy developing the fourth in the series, these three ideas should be at the top of its list. Where would you like to see Mafia 4 set? Let us know in the comments below.
Mafia Trilogy Collection is available on PS4/5, Xbox One/SX and PC.