Though it’s dealing with a little controversy right now, Mafia III may just gain a little good will by taking a page from CD Projekt RED’s playbook. Developer 2K Games has promised to add a stream of free content to their open-world game after its October 7 release, a move that’s guaranteed to soften some of the vitriol aimed at it since its reveal.
‘Mafia III’ is Going to Drown Your Hate in Free Content
In Mafia III, you play as Lincoln Clay, a mixed-race veteran who’s roaming around a New Orleans-inspired playground looking for some Cosa Nostra heads. Unfortunately, the decision to recast the series’ typically Italian lead as an outsider fighting for new ground has flown like a lead balloon. Detractors say you can’t call something “mafia” if the hero isn’t part of the Italian mob. Casting Italians as the villains simply won’t do, both in terms of real-world history and the history of the Mafia franchise as a whole.
The rationale for that critique is profoundly ill-informed. However, complaints about the game’s protagonist, its setting, and the general motives it uses for its bloodshed represent a very real hurdle for 2K Games. 2K has decided to mount that hurdle by using a shitload of free content as a stepping stone, a trick it seemingly picked up from CD Projekt RED.
The Polish developer faced similar rumbles of discontent after the release of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. A portion of the gaming community felt the studio had delivered a product that wasn’t as pretty as promised. Fortunately, CD Projekt RED had an ace up its sleeve that helped combat irked gamers.
While it certainly helped that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was a masterpiece, the game’s long term popularity was cemented when CD Projekt RED released 16 free DLCs on top of their major paid expansions. The avalanche of new content served not only to keep the game in the headlines for weeks after its release, but it also went a long way toward getting critics to stick a sock in it.
Given the air of gamer aggravation surrounding Mafia III, it’s not unlikely 2K is hoping for a similar swell of good feeling.
So What Will You Be Getting?
Though the offering leans cosmetic, it seems 2K has provided something for everyone in its post-release offerings. In the DLC announcement, the studio explained the weeks following Mafia III’s release would see the world fleshed out with new outfits:
New vehicle customization options:
And new races:
2K has also hinted there’s a surprise or two waiting to be revealed in the weeks following the release of Mafia III. That lump sum of free content combined with the strength of some pretty positive gameplay reviews might go some way toward improving Mafia III’s perception among those gamers who feel the title betrays previous installments.
It’s a Solid Plan, Provided ‘Mafia III’ is Actually Good
In their free offering, 2K has not only given players even more incentive to pick up the ambitious title, but they’ve also granted themselves the benefit of exposure long after the initial release controversy dies down, and that’s nothing but smart.
Assuming Mafia III can maintain the franchise’s well-earned place among gaming’s most respected titles even as it tries to experiment with a well-worn formula, these DLC releases should help give the game a boost in the eyes of gamers initially turned off by the controversy, because no one’s going to be mad about a ton of free shit.