The Mafia series is one of ups and downs, but if there’s one game in the trilogy that has been unquestionably successful, it’s the first one. The 2002 crime epic was a masterpiece of storytelling and action – especially for its time – and soon, fans will have the chance to jump back into it. Hangar 13 is modernizing the game for current-gen consoles, and putting a surprising amount of work into it. As we approach its launch, in this feature, we’re going to talk about the fifteen key pieces of information you should know about Mafia: Definitive Edition.
REMADE FROM THE GROUND-UP
Rather than being a remaster (or a glorified texture pack like the recent Mafia 2: Definitive Edition was), Mafia: Definitive Edition is a ground-up remake of the first game. Literally everything in the game has been redone- all the assets are newly made, there are major gameplay and story changes (which we’ll talk about in a bit), the music and audio have been redone, and the game features some impressive graphical upgrades, all of which is coming together for what looks like a pretty thorough remake of the original game.
One look at Mafia: Definitive Edition is enough to tell you just how much of a leap it’s going to be over the original game in terms of visuals, and how impressive it looks on its own. Hangar 13 have built the game on an updated version of the Mafia 3 engine, and most impressively, have put a completely new lighting system in place. They’ve also done some impressive work with the cinematics- which brings us to our next point.
For all its faults, Mafia 3 excelled at storytelling, and had some of the best cutscenes we’ve ever seen in a game. Hangar 13 are looking to bring that flair over into Mafia: Definitive Edition as well. All cutscenes in the game have been re-recorded, complete with full motion and performance capture and a new voice cast. A lot of the dialog has also been re-written to make for more effective storytelling.
Mafia: Definitive Edition is going to have flashier, shinier cutscenes and (hopefully) snappier dialog, but it isn’t making too many changes to its story. Hangar 13 have expressly said a few times now that they’re keeping the larger, more important story beats intact. That said, they are fleshing out the narrative a great deal by expanding upon it and adding more meat to its bones. For instance, one character in particular that the developers have said is going to have a much greater role in the remake is Sarah.
Mafia games aren’t typically too concerned with their open world settings- they usually serve as backdrops for the stories rather than being sandboxes for players to mess about in. Lost Heaven, however, is receiving a pretty major facelift. The improved visuals help with that, of course, but some changes are also being made design-wise to make it a city that’s larger and more fun to explore.
OPEN WORLD IMPROVEMENTS
What exactly can we expect from Lost Heaven in terms of improvements? For starters, the game now has collectibles, so exploring the open world and looking out for these will surely appeal to the completionists out there. On top of that, Hangar 13 have also attempted to make the city livelier, taking cues from Mafia 3 and including more NPCs, NPC interactions, larger crowds, and more.
Given the fact that Mafia: Definitive Edition is a remake of a nearly two decade-old game, it’s not surprising that the developers are reworking and modernizing several gameplay systems. Most notably, the driving and shooting mechanics are completely different, and now fall more in line with what we saw in Mafia 3.
Hangar 13 seem to be putting a lot of energy into ensuring that they capture the feel of the Prohibition Era just right with Mafia: Definitive Edition, and they’re doing that with some more granular details as well. For instance, several new weapons are being added into the remake for players to use in combat, and Hangar 13 have said that all of these are going to be true to the game’s Prohibition Era setting.
Those who played the original Mafia will remember that several sections of the game relied on melee combat quite a bit (not unlike future Mafia games). In order to ensure that they don’t feel out of place, Hangar 13 have updated the melee combat system as well. From the looks of it, it seems like it’s going to be pretty similar to the melee combat in Mafia 3, though the developers have suggested that improvements have been made to it.
Something else that Hangar 13 are offering greater variety in with Mafia: Definitive Edition is vehicles. More vehicles and vehicle types are being added to the game- most notably, motorcycles will also be included, which, as you might remember, wasn’t the case in the original Mafia. Whether or not the remake will leverage motorcycles in particular during chase sequences remains to be seen- we certainly hope that’s the case.
Mafia games have always had a very particular style of driving mechanics, with the original Mafia especially having rather eccentric driving controls that leaned more toward simulation than arcade. In Mafia: Definitive Edition, you can tweak options in the game to change how vehicles handle, and decide whether you want more accessible and arcade-y driving mechanics or the weightier driving that the original Mafia was known for.
Another interesting promise that the developers have made is that Mafia: Definitive Edition is going to be a pretty challenging game, especially when compared to Mafia 3. Given the fact that Tommy, unlike Mafia 3 protagonist Lincoln Clay, doesn’t really have much combat experience, firefights in the game are being described as being more tense, with players having to be more mindful of switching weapons, flanking enemies, being aware of enemy position, properly using ammo, and more.
For those who’re looking for a level of challenge that sticks close to the original Mafia – which could be a pretty challenging game – the remake is going to offer the Classic Difficulty. On Classic Difficulty, driving assists are turned off, cops are much less forgiving and will chase after you for even the smallest infractions, in-world navigation is more difficult, health regeneration is not very generous, and even reloading your weapons means any ammo you currently have in your clip is lost.
PS4 PRO AND XBOX ONE X ENHANCEMENTS
Mafia: Definitive Edition is going to be a very impressive looking game, that much is abundantly clear, but if you’re playing it on PS4 Pro or Xbox One X, it will look even better. The developers have confirmed that the game will feature 4K visuals and HDR support on the Xbox One X, and though they haven’t said anything specific about the PS4 Pro version, they have said that that, too, will be enhanced- so we can probably expect those same enhancements on it as well.
Surprisingly enough, in spite of being what looks to be a pretty major undertaking by Hangar 13, Mafia: Definitive Edition is not going to launch as a full-priced game. When it releases for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on September 25, it will release for a price of $40. Of course, the game is also included in the Mafia Trilogy collection that launched earlier this year. That costs the full $60, but also includes the not-so-Definitive Editions of Mafia 2 and 3.