GR: Lost Heaven also sported a lot of "off the map" countryside for players to putt through; are you planning something similar for Empire, or will it be strictly urban?
DV: The rural surrounding areas of Empire City are smaller than Lost Heaven. However, because the surrounding rural areas are smaller, the urban portion of city itself is bigger.
The main reason for this is that the storyline itself didn’t call for Vito to make a lot of trips to rural areas. Most importantly, though, we spent a lot of energy recreating a gritty 1950s urban environment and wanted the gamer to be immersed in that environment throughout the majority of the game.
GR: One of the things that Mafia was notable for was "unlocking" cars one at a time, as the main character was taught to break into and hotwire them. Will we see more of that this time around?
DV: The gameplay mechanic of the player being taught to break into different cars in order to unlock that specific car model has been removed and replaced with a mechanic we feel is much more streamlined [and] doesn’t interrupt gameplay flow, while still adding to the actual gameplay. [The player] can now steal any car he/she sees, and he can do it in a few ways.
He can steal a car through physical violence, lockpicking, or carjacking. Each option, though, has a consequence, and it will be up to the player to decide carefully on which technique to use, given the present set of circumstances.
We can also tell you, carjacking in Mafia II isn’t going to be as simple as kicking somebody out of their car and driving away, like in most other games.
GR: The first Mafia was notable in that each neighborhood of Lost Heaven was represented by its own catchy piece of jazz; how will you be handling music in the sequel?
DV: For Mafia II, we have fully functioning radios and car radios in the game. Not only will the soundtrack be handled through these radios, but radio DJs and news reporters will react to real events that go on in the city.
The soundtrack will again be split between licensed contemporary music and original composed music. We brought on a new, very talented composer and we are taking a slightly different path with the composed music than the standard symphonic orchestra.
GR: You've mentioned that we'll see references to the first game in Mafia II - does that mean we can expect appearances from any familiar characters?
DV: Mafia II has a totally new storyline with all new characters. As you will recall most of the characters from the first Mafia game came to a sticky end. However rumor has it that a character from Mafia I may be spotted by the keen observer, but you’l just have to wait and see.
Apr 23, 2008