Though numbers count for only so much, the nearly 700-page script that is behind the narrative of 2K Games’ upcoming open-world action game Mafia II should be a good indication that the team’s focus on telling a compelling story is perhaps the primary goal. More telling is the fact that the team at 2K Czech (one of 2K Games’ newest development studios) isn’t even creating a multiplayer mode in the game. Instead, the team seems determined to raise the bar for video game storytelling while still making a game that’s a lot of fun to play. We had a chance to see the latest slice of Mafia II behind closed doors at 2K’s E3 press room.
You play as Vito, an Italy native and former soldier whose only goal in life is to make a living for himself in America. Of course, this being a mob tale, Vito’s path through life has resulted in taking a job within organized crime. That said, this isn’t a game about Vito’s rise to the top of the Mafia; rather, it seems the devs are aiming for a more plausible and human story, one producers liken closer to Goodfellas than The Godfather.
The demo showed during the presentation took place about three to four hours into the game, with Vito taking his car across the snowy streets of Empire City, the fictional town in which Mafia II takes place. Producers said that there are elements of real-life cities found in the design of Empire City and the 20 neighborhoods that make up the city will have their own distinct look and feel. It’s worth noting that Mafia II takes place during a 10-year span beginning in the mid-1940s and ending in the mid-1950s. Those eras will be defined not just by their look (with period-style autos to drive and old-school advertisements spread around town) but also by the music playing in the background (including licensed music from that particular time period).