Mafia III, for all its flaws, delves into some pretty dark subject matter. But developer Hangar 13 originally planned to open the title with an introduction so controversial that it’s since removed all traces of the scene from its servers. “If ever that had come out without any context in any form it would have looked terrible,” executive producer Andrew Wilson said as part of a panel watched by Eurogamer.net.
Those of you who’ve played the game will know that the story picks up just after protagonist Lincoln Clay has left Vietnam. There’s a kind of pseudo-documentary sequence which sets up the story, but in the original version of the game there was a scene that detailed exactly why Clay joined the army in the first place. It was rough.
“We've never really talked about this anywhere,” game director Haden Blackman revealed. “We went back at the eleventh hour and added a cold-open to the game that was a really violent prologue which basically shows Lincoln and a couple of his friends getting ambushed by the mob. It's super-violent and Lincoln has to resort to violence to escape”
In the scene, Clay would end up killing a police officer, and subsequently flee to Vietnam. However, the developer realised that, because the scene was implemented towards the end of development, it didn’t really make much sense in the context of the wider narrative. “It felt exploitative instead of something that really grabbed you,” Blackman explained.
It’s probably for the best that the scene was cut, and to be fair the game starts really strongly all the same. In many ways, Mafia III was a very brave game, but it won’t be getting a sequel just yet, as the team’s beavering away on a new project. There’s no details on what that will be just yet, but it won’t be as dark as Lincoln Clay’s effort – which, depending on your personal perspective, may be for the best.