Why Mafia 3’s “super-violent” opening was axed by developer Hangar 13


It’s clear Mafia 3 was one of 2016’s most eagerly anticipated games: an open-world adventure set in 60’s America featuring the brutally violent action the Mafia series is renowned for, plus atmosphere you could cut with a knife and an interesting protagonist to boot too.

The consensus, however, was that Mafia 3 simply failed to live up to its predecessors (particularly Mafia 2, one of the best GTA clones out there) due to its repetitive open-world activities, average gameplay and other issues, even if the game’s story, music and 60’s atmosphere were quite good according to many.

As is the case with earlier Mafia titles, Mafia 3 is a violent game, and could have been even more so if US developer Hangar 13 had not removed an interactive “cold open” it was planning for the game.

According to Hangar 13’s Andy Wilson, this opening sequence was “super-violent” and portrays the events prior to protagonist Lincoln Clay’s departure to Vietnam.

Fearing this ultra-violent opening (which never actually made it to the game) would leak out and cause a negative reaction, the people at Hangar 13 decided to forever erase it from their servers, lest it ever find its way to the big, dark world of the Internet…

“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, 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”, Wilson told Eurogamer, adding that the whole opening sequence has been “been burned from our servers”.

The man also revealed this alternative opening was not featured in the game for other reasons, amongst which is the fact characters don’t acknowledge the events after the fact, likely leading Hangar 13 to think the opening felt “tacked on” and therefore deciding to erase it from the final product and scrub it from existence forever too…

But even if Mafia 3 failed to live up to many gamers’ expectations and did not exactly set the video game world alight in 2016, Wilson said he is still happy with the game, and the way it depicts a controversial period of American history.

“The fact we tackled this really tough subject matter was fantastic. But at the end of the day it’s a dark game – it’s a violent exploration of damaged people”, said Wilson.

It’s a pity for Mafia fans, then, that Mafia 3’s less than stellar performance two years ago means that another game in the franchise won’t be coming anytime soon, although hopefully Hangar 13’s next game (a yet unannounced IP) might yet prove why the US studio is still one of the most talented devs out there when it hits shelves sometime in the future.

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