Beware, Facebook users: Zynga launches Mafia Wars 2

The popular title has been refreshed and focuses heavily on "player vs. player combat," Zynga says.

The popular Mafia Wars franchise, which has entertained millions and annoyed just as many , has a new addition.

Dubbed Mafia Wars 2, the sequel to the popular game from social-gaming company Zynga, is debuting today in 16 languages, including Italian, French, and German, in addition to English. Once they sign up for the title, Facebook gamers around the globe will be able to "rise up, get revenge, and build the largest crime empire the world has ever seen."

According to Zynga, players will take the role of a person who has just left prison, and welcomed back to the crime family by the boss, who gives them their own "turf" to run. Soon after, Zynga says, players are betrayed, and must fight to "seize control of what's rightfully theirs."

Similar to the last game, players will be able to build crews to engage in combat with crime bosses and complete missions. The title, Zynga says, emphasizes "player vs. player combat." And to make that combat more sophisticated, the game comes with 300 types of weapons, vehicles, and armor. A player's avatar can be outfitted with over 600 articles of clothing.

Mafia Wars has long been a favorite among gamers. However, the title caught some flak last year when the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) complained that the game's use of pit bulls as attack dogs would "encourage the wrong type of people--those with no heart and no understanding of a dog's needs." Zynga quickly removed pit bulls from the title.

Although Mafia Wars has been successful--the game has about 4 million monthly active users--it has been overshadowed by many other Zynga games, including FarmVille and CityVille, which have 35 million and 76 million monthly active users, respectively. Whether Mafia Wars 2 will be able to do a better job than its predecessor of matching those titles remains to be seen. Right now it has fewer than 2,100 active users.

 

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