Developer Hangar 13 has revealed some of the ideas it kicked around for the next game in the Mafia series before deciding to go with what would become Mafia III.
Creative director Haden Blackman told the PlayStation Blog that Hangar 13 considered returning to Mafia II's Empire Bay, a fictional city inspired by Chicago and New York. Hangar 13 also thought about "a number of smaller locales rather than a single, more expansive city," Blackman said. Additionally, the team considered having the game start in 1952, not long after the events of Mafia II. Another idea would have told a story across the entirety of the '60s. Ideas for a main character included a "fixer" (someone who could handle any mafia problem), a crooked police officer and a low-level mobster who got in way over his head.
"Any of our early ideas would have likely yielded a solid hard-boiled crime drama with compelling gameplay, but we didn't feel that any of the combinations were quite right," Blackman said.
Speaking to GameSpot, Blackman added that the team ultimately went with a New Orleans-inspired location as Mafia III's setting (it's called New Bordeaux in the game) because it matched up nicely with what the studio hoped to achieve.
"We knew we needed a city that could be treated as a main character; we wanted a city that was iconic," he said. "A city that had a lot of history to it, but also felt very different from Empire Bay."
New Orleans was perfect because it "checked off all those boxes," Blackman said.
Mafia III is set in 1968 and you play as Lincoln Clay, a mixed-race Vietnam veteran; the game's story will tackle racism and that war.
For more on Mafia III, be sure to check out GameSpot's "Reviving Mafia" series. You can watch the first episode here, while the second is available through the video embed above.
Additionally, a new Mafia III trailer was released today that talks about how Clay's underbosses work with him to help get revenge on Sal Marcano. Watch it below.