The original Mafia games are held in high regard for their compelling storytelling and the immersive 1900s American aesthetics. However, some game-play limitations and developer decisions left some fans longing for more. Mafia IV might just be the one to finally give us the fully refined Mafia experience we’ve been craving!

Developed by Illusion Studios, the very first Mafia game debuted in 2002 on the Playstation 2 and Xbox. It’s sequel, Mafia II, was released in 2010 for the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. 2016 saw the release of Mafia III for the Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Excluding 2020’s Mafia: Definitive Edition, fans have been clamoring for another core entry in the series for nearly ten years and it looks like the wait is almost over. Project developers 2K/Hanger 13 announced the development of Mafia 4 back in early 2023 under the Unreal 5 Engine. Since the initial news of its existence, fans of the series are digging deep to find out what’s in store for Mafia 4.


Mafia I Gameplay

There’s been many rumors regarding when and where the events of Mafia 4 will take place. The most likely idea being floated around on the internet is that Mafia 4 will act as a prequel to the original Mafia game and it’s speculated to be set in both Sicily, Italy and the United States between the years 1890 and 1920 during the rise of the Italian mafia, the Cosa Nostra. This, of course, is the timeline which many consider as the golden age of the mafia. If true, it’ll be interesting to see how this game will pull off having the game set in two different countries.

New Features/Improvements

Mafia II Gameplay

Mafia 4 is said to have a focus on its improved stealth mechanics and multiplayer. The original Mafia games included a stealth mode, but it felt clunky and rudimentary compared to other games of the genre. An improved stealth system will be a welcomed addition to the franchise.

The addition of multiplayer has also been suspected to be included in the game, which would be a first for the series. Known for their compelling and in-depth narratives, the Mafia games have primarily been a single-player experience. Mafia 4 looks to shake things up and deliver an online multiplayer experience akin to Grand Theft Auto Online. It’s possible that the game will have a main single-player mode and a separate online multiplayer mode. Although the experience may not be as deep or expansive as Grand Theft Auto’s online mode, this could be a great way to gain a new player base and keep them coming back for more online showdowns.

Another feature said to be included is the integration of player decision making throughout the story. This would allow players to have more freedom with the events of the plot, allowing for a more unique experience which in turn would create more replay value. The incorporation of such a feature would give players more control over the narrative and allow the developers to add in alternative endings, missions, cut scenes, and scenarios.

Possible Release Date

Mafia III Gameplay

It is still left up in the air as to exactly when fans can expect this game to be released to the public. Some sources say to anticipate at late 2024 release, with others projecting a release in early 2025. Mafia 4 is expected to be playable for the PC, PS5, & Xbox Series X/S. Whatever the exact release date may be, it’s important it hits shelves before the release of Grand Theft Auto 6. It’s imperative for Mafia IV to beat GTA 6‘s release date in order to achieve the most amount of players and reach a wider audience than just the die hard Mafia fans. Many gamers are chomping at the bit for another immersive open-world game and Mafia 4 could help satisfy the GTA6 fans’ cravings until that game inevitably shows up to dominate the market.

Personal Thoughts on Mafia IV

Mafia IV Promotional Image

As a fan of all things related to the mafia lifestyle, I enjoyed playing the previous games of the Mafia series, but admit I had to look past a lot of glaring issues in order to enjoy them. To me, the Mafia games always felt like untapped potential. The plots were always deep and engaging, but the actual game play left much to be desired. Being that they are linear-story driven games set in an open world environment, it makes me feel like the developers could do so much more with the series.

The online multiplayer definitely intrigues me. I believe that if the Mafia games were made with the same attention to detail and functionality of Grand Theft Auto, they would pose as real competition to the open-world game market. One thing the develops should focus on when it comes to this mode is to how they can make it a unique experience from other open-world/sandbox type games. The sweet spot for me would be for this game to mechanically feel more like the Grand Theft Auto games in terms of functionality, but include a multitude of things to do within the mode (Games like the Yakuza/Like A Dragon series come to mind). Of course, card games/gambling, mob hits, and bank robbing are some obvious things to include but even the little details could make a huge impression. From something as small as eating food at a diner with your pals, or being able to stuff people in the trunk of your car, to betting on horse races would be just some of many ideas that could add to the overall impressiveness of the online experience.

As far as the single-player mode, I have no doubt Mafia 4 will deliver on that end. They’ve always had stellar work in that department. The mob culture is deeply woven into the American fabric, which is why I think people are so fascinated by it. There’s a reason why shows like The Sopranos and movies like The Godfather are so well loved by critics and audiences alike; the subject matter is just too fascinating to resist.

Mafia 4 is shaping up to be perhaps the greatest edition of the series. In what seems like a comeback out of nowhere, 2K and Hanger 13 might deliver us the authentic and impressive mafia experience unlike any other. As the countdown to Mafia 4 winds down, expect to hear more details, announcements and updates surrounding the game and its official release date. With many eyes now back on the iconic series, this is 2K’s opportunity to deliver a stellar mafia experience!

1 Comment

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