Mafia boss squeals
Gathering vice president Graeme Struthers spills the beans on the forthcoming console versions of the PC gangster epic...
The first big new release of the year finally arrives in stores this Friday, in the shape of the long-overdue console conversion of Mafia on PS2 and Xbox. It was a big hit way back in August 2002, and although Illusion Softworks' take on 1930s gangster America polarised opinions, it's a game which arguably lends itself to consoles and looks set to succeed on the back of the unquenchable demand for mission based driving games. Expect a full review shortly, and expect a higher mark than the 4/10 awarded it back then. Until then, enjoy this PR-rolled Q&A with the Gathering vice president Graeme Struthers...
It is very difficult to bring a game of Mafia's size to the console market, especially as we wanted to retain the depth of the game and not cut it down in any way.
Yes, including the Free Ride missions, as well as the 13 city race tracks - exclusive to the console versions.
There was really no need to tone down or boost the gore factor - Mafia is a narrative driven game and we always felt that it would make a great console experience as it was originally designed.
We have adjusted some of the missions – such as the race track – to make them more console-friendly as well as adjusting the vehicle physics. In addition the controls have been altered significantly to give console gamers what they expect. There are no new missions – getting the original Mafia missions to ‘fit' onto the consoles has been a massive task in itself.
We are using the LS3D engine - optimised for the consoles.
For the console versions of the game, we have made the vehicles more forgiving and given the player more latitude. The LS3D engine handles vehicle physics really accurately and gave us the opportunity to reflect the varying dynamics of the vehicles – in speed and handling.
There is cause and effect within the missions. It has been toned down from the original game, so we will not be 'insisting' you stop your car at each red light and wait for it to change to green, however, you start shooting at people, you can expect the Police to come after you.
There are 36 vehicles in total ranging from grocery trucks right up to concept prototypes like the Crazy Horse. There are 16 standard vehicles and 20 'specialist' models, and the latter really come into their own when you get involved with the 13 city race tracks that are exclusive to the console version of the game.
The name came from various names that were used for parts of American cities that were used in the 20's and 30's, like 'Hell's Kitchen' and also commonly used names for cities such as 'City of Angels'. Lost Heaven was inspired by that. Lost Heaven is inspired by lots of locations, from Chicago and New York. Cities that were (unfortunately) synonymous with the Mafia of that era.
The city covers 12 square miles, and has around 400 buildings, of which around 20 you can enter. There are a few secrets as well.
If you look at the cut-scenes I am sure you will see moments that have their origins in many Mafia based films. Even if we did not deliberately set out to mimic movies, after watching them over and over again, their influence seeps through the subconscious.
There is no "most powerful weapon" in the game. It depends on the mission the player is playing as to what weapon best suits. People may have a favourite weapon and the Tommy gun would be many peoples pick - but that weapon is not very accurate over distance, so often is not the best choice. Mafia is ultimately not some basic 'shoot-em-up' and the weapons found in the game are those that would have been available in the era and were used by gangsters of the day.
The music is of the era. We felt it is important to create the atmosphere of the '30s through the visuals (clothes, buildings, cars) and through the sound (dialogue and music).
Tough question to answer as there are so many but - if I absolutely had to name one - the Bank Robbery, when Paulie stands over a female hostage and simply terrorises her. Absolutely chilling.
Mafia is due out on PS2 and Xbox on January 30th.