Seen as too exploitative, Mafia III’s original opening was deleted and scrubbed from developer’s servers
If there’s one thing Mafia III didn’t do, it was shy away from controversy. The game dealt with some heavy subject matter, with the series eschewing its La Cosa Nosta roots in favor of putting players in control of half-black Vietnam veteran Lincoln Clay as he carves a bloody path to revenge in the tumultuous, racially divided American South in the late 1960s. And while the game features plenty of scenes expressly designed to make the player feel uncomfortable – including a shady black market auction for an actual African American – one scene was just too intense for the developers to keep in the full game.
The documentary-style opening players saw when Mafia III first released in 2016 wasn’t always the way Hanger 13 wanted to kick things off. Eurogamer reports that, while speaking at Brighton’s Develop Conference yesterday, Haden Blackman, the game’s director, detailed the creation of a much different, and darker, introductory sequence. “We went back at the eleventh hour,” he began. “added a cold-open to the game that was a really violent prologue which basically shows Lincoln and his friends getting ambushed by the mob. It’s super-violent and Lincoln has to resort to violence to escape. He ends up killing a cop and has to flee to Vietnam”.
In the end, the team felt the scene was “powerful and polarising”, but ultimately a bit too gratuitous to make the cut.
“It felt exploitative instead of something that really grabbed you and put you in Lincoln’s shoes and made you afraid for him and want to help him,” Blackman continued. “So we ended up cutting it because of the feedback, which was super-painful for me personally because it was something I’d pushed forward and championed, and I ended up directing that day’s mocap shoot because it was such sensitive subject matter, and we worked on it for a couple of months. But it was absolutely the right thing to do in hindsight.”
Those hoping this scene will surface on the internet one day are out of luck. “That whole cold-open has been burned from our servers,” said Andrew Wilson, Mafia III’s executive producer. “It literally does not exist.
Mafia III was developed by Hangar 13 Games and published by 2K Games. It released on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on October 7, 2016. Summing up his time with the game, HPP’s Deputy Editor Jonathan Trussler said, “Mafia III is a basic, but fundamentally sound experience about shooting and stealthily stabbing people – with a healthy, but superficial, sprinkling of southern-fried flavour.”
You can find our full Mafia III review here.