Mafia III’s frame story, conveyed in flashback through the lens of a documentary, suggests that the entire game is filtered through the unreliability of memory and myth, yet simultaneously employs slideshows of actual period photographs and newsreel footage as though to allege the grounded reality of these events. The game suggests that Lincoln Clay essentially undergoes the same cultural and historical developments as other black Americans in the 1960s, surrounded by the music of Sam Cooke and amidst the public grieving over the death of Martin Luther King Jr. Nevertheless, this notion remains a falsity; New Bordeaux exists in a fictional bubble outside the true contexts of Birmingham or Selma, and far from the legacy of slave revolts in New Orleans like the 1811 German Coast Uprising or white supremacy outrage following the New Orleans school desegregation crisis of 1960. Mafia III occupies the realm of fantasy, erasing certain elements of history and diluting the complex processes of time.
Read the full column at Haywire Magazine.