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MosesVandenberg

Why Mafia 1 is not a GTA 3 clone

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MosesVandenberg

Many gamers don't understand that Mafia 1 is not a GTA 3 claude, I mean, clone. My holy mission is to cleanse the masses of heretics and prove that Mafia 1 is not a GTA 3 clone. And by the way Mafia 1 is not a GTA 3 clone.

 

1. Pseudo-Philosophy

Unfortunately many casual gamers not witnessing and experiencing the dawn of computer and video games industry in general and not playing Mafia 1 in particular, find it hard to accept that although these two games have similarities - in reality they are two almost completely different projects using very eclectic approaches in terms of mood, atmosphere, focus, purpose of their gameplay mechanic, level design and the structure of the open world they use. Both games are gangster themed fictions and both of their core mechanics were developed with that theme in mind, but the style and execution of that theme in each case is unique. Contrary to the popular opinion these two games have a lot more differences between them than similarities. And here's why.

2. Game Digger

By digging deeper into Illusion Softworks' history we can find out that their previous game - Hidden & Dangerous - is a tactical shooter action adventure game simulating sabotage operations behind enemy lines during World War II, it was so amazing that I even make custom writing about it when I had stuing in college. in Mafia's case their goal was to simulate the rise and fall of a fictional gangster and the only Rockstar game that really tries to simulate something similar to Mafia 1 would be L.A. Noire, but that's a story for another time kids.

Speaking of Rockstar, in GTA 3 their purpose was to "simulate" a world ruled by gangsters and corruption. Atop of that it was made in a satirical fashion, in contrast with Mafia's realistic approach. GTA's realistic incarnation came out some time later, but we will get to that part. If we'll look back at the early DMA's attempts of recreating a criminal world, it would become perfectly clear that GTA was always meant to be a product that possesses a cheerful arcade machine mood. Arcade cabinets are known for score bars that award you points for performing actions or for different gathering activities. That element migrated to a lot of games actually. Wolfenstein 3D, Commander Keen or Dangerous Dave had it. GTA 3 is no exception. For every activity, game rewarded you with money, where the money bar also played the role of a score bar. By pausing the game and visiting the game stats menu you could find a global game stat that even was able to give you a nickname based on a score.

Lots of gathering occupations were also one of GTA's all time features. You had to find one hundred hidden packages scattered across the entire Liberty City. San Andreas expanded that aspect by making you to look for fifty horseshoes and fifty oysters, but now on scale of a whole state instead of just one city. The more realistic GTA 4 entry in the series proposed a very original and even lore justified solution. You could eradicate one hundred pigeons, that apparently carried the infamous bird flu. It's safe to say that bird flu mass hysteria saved us from looking for another one hundred purple dildos.

To be perfectly fair, the more realistic gathering approach Rockstar first introduced in San Andreas, with painting one hundred walls with graffiti. It even made sense for a change, and never felt like a burden, because, you know, that's what you do when you're protecting your turf.

 

3. Legend of Maria: Hookerine of Time

Mafia's arcadey nature is revealed only after you beat the main campaign and unlock a separate game mode that uses the open world assets for different purposes. The player must fins 19 different locations and accept some extremely difficult missions which are given to you by the hand floating guys. Each mission success rewards you with a unique crazy ass design car that you can store in your garage or crash it somewhere, because the handling physics of some of them is extremely infuriating.

The overall progression differs quite a lot as well. GTA 3's sandboxy nature let's you pick-up an activity and stick with it until you want to try something else. Even the story arc progression is structured in a similar fashion. You can always go and try a different mission just by stepping inside a marker, while in Mafia the plot progresses continuously, just like in any other action adventure game, like let's say - Max Payne. To be perfectly clear - GTA 3 is Ocarina of Time with hookers and rocket launchers, but Mafia 1 is more of a Max Payne style third person shooter and action adventure game, but with greater emphasis on simulating it's story, it's setting and the things which inspired it - like Goodfellas or The Godfather, but we will get to that part too.

It's open world is meant to deepen the meaning and put the player into the right mood for his next mission, instead of just creating a more sandboxy "do whatever you want" environment. This is the reason why Illusion Softworks were inspired by Driver series and separated two completely unrelated to the plot game modes - freeride and freeride extreme. The open world in both Mafia and Driver is meant to be a facade or a decoration, but in a little more sophisticated sense of the word, because it is actually there and you can interact with it, not just witness a scalable city texture in the background. And by the way Driver had a city texture in the background, but it wasn't there for the reasons I mentioned, but rather for masking the low draw distance of the PlayStation hardware capabilities.

Interestingly enough, similarities between these two franchises don't end here. The Mafia main menu looks pretty similar to the undercover campaign menu from Driver.

If you try to explore Mafia 1 root directory you can also find some interesting things. Each mission is a pre-set combination of different game assets. There are no global open world rules, because technically, or in more traditional sense of the word, there is no open world, only a big map of the city that serves as a mean to give you the opportunity to drive to your destination yourself, thus simulating an important aspect of being a gangster - driving a car. Each mission in the game has it's own city map, even the freeride and freeride extreme are categorized as separate missions. If you'll recall a mission where you need to walk Sarah home, you can notice that you are being surrounded by invisible walls and the city isn't actually there anymore, only a little portion of it, but the player can't see that because each angle Tommy is facing is cleverly designed to obstruct his view with a building. In that case there is no need to render the rest of the city behind, it already creates an illusion of a city presence.

The low number of cars, few noises and beautiful Solaire style sunset builds the mood needed for this one unique scene. That's one of the main differences between GTA 3 and Mafia 1. If GTA is blurring the lines between driving, walking, shooting, progressing through story and exploring - Mafia strictly draws lines between it's aspects for you to know that this is a driving mission, this is a indoor third person shooter and this is a stealth mission.

Rockstar usually doesn't bother to accompany your mission with the appropriate weather for setting up the mood. You are in a sandbox and each on engine cutscene plays during the time and weather you started your mission. Illusion Softworks completely eliminated the need for day and night cycle in Mafia's case, because absolutely every aspect of the game is scrupulously directed. And if you want to freeride at night you have to choose night from the menu. That's one more similarity between Mafia and Driver, where you also could choose between day and night, as well as your vehicle.

Speaking of directed events - a guy trying to commit suicide at Juliano Bridge is a unique event, a guy trying to pry open the door with a metal bar is unique too. These unique events are meant to thicken the atmosphere and add a cinematic touch to the game, but they are also quite interactive, because of their high levels of gnoseology.

 

3. I hate, therefore I am

Ironically enough later Mafia games tried to appeal to mainstream market and please GTA fans. If Mafia 2 feels like an unfinished game with only fifty percent of content that made the first game so special, Mafia 3 is a completely unoriginal GTA clone that was meant to gather the forces of mass consumer "fast food" gamers and feed them their dosage of sausage. Mafia as a series is dead, but Mafia 1 still lives.

The fact that amuses me to no end is the reception of GTA 4. Although it was as always an enormous success, it is still the worst received GTA of the series. The direction the game took was a lot more mature. The game itself felt more realistic than it's predecessors. The abovementioned bird flu annihilation is a good example of a mix between keeping the roots intact, but at the same time eliminating "the Nintendo feels". It's also quite astonishing that Driver played it's role as an inspiration for Rockstar to include a built-in film director tool. Back in the day Driver was famous for giving you the opportunity to recreate a couple of Vanishing Point chases.

The conclusion is that "the most Mafia 1 GTA game" which is GTA 4, is the most unpopular among GTA fans, but "the most GTA game of them all" which is Saints Row accumulates a cult following which soon will be called "the esoteric order of Saints Row". That means that GTA will always remain in the middle and Mafia 1 is not a GTA clone. If you want to think about clones then it is very obvious that GTA 3 itself is a Ocarina of Time clone, just like a big chunk of the whole game industry.

Edited by MosesVandenberg

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perennial

OK?

I think the main thing to point out is that Mafia had been in development since the end of 1998 (GTA 2 was released in fall 1999). The term "GTA clone" only exploded in use due to the success of GTA III.

Edited by perennial

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oliviagreen
Posted (edited)

Those who played these two games will understand what's the difference between these two games. I did, and if to speak  what is concerted cultivation in it, is that I never thought that there are anything mutual until this moment. The genres may be similar, but Mafia is about Italian gangsters, old-fashioned game, and because of it is attractive. My experience with GTA is San Andreas, Vice City, GTA 4, yet the best for me is GTA SA. For what o compare incomparable things. 

Edited by oliviagreen

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Beato_dim
On 8/30/2018 at 6:20 PM, MosesVandenberg said:

Unfortunately many casual gamers not witnessing and experiencing the dawn of computer and video games industry in general and not playing Mafia 1 in particular

I think that Mafia 1, or even Ocarina of Time, is very far down the road from the dawn of video gaming.

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universetwisters

You're forgetting that open world setting + stealing cars = GTA Clone to the masses

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Zello

Mafia 1 was linear...

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Mr Zedd
Posted (edited)

> Mafia was in development since the end of 1998 <

 

It was in development before gta 3 release. I think top down gtas could have been influential on the developers who wanted to offer an open world in 3d with a mature story. There's a detailed development history of mafia 1 hidden somewhere in the internet but i am not able to locate it. 

 

I think Mafia developers were unfortunate that the game came out after gta 3 and is exactly the reason why people often label mafia 1 as a gta 3 clone, and not a revolutionary game for telling a mature story and a number of other things like the physics, driving, shooting mechanics, etc 

 

The idea to develop a 3d open world had been already in planning stages by the mafia developers in and around the same time gta 2 came out

Edited by Mr Zedd

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KGBeast

The games were developed side by side and Sam Houser served as executive producer on both of them. The two games probably influenced each other during development because of that connection but it can't be said either was a clone or copy of the other. 

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Zello
Posted (edited)
On 7/27/2019 at 9:18 PM, KGBeast said:

The games were developed side by side and Sam Houser served as executive producer on both of them. The two games probably influenced each other during development because of that connection but it can't be said either was a clone or copy of the other. 

What did he do on Mafia? source? The only reason I can think of is that at that time in the early 2000's the Housers were in charge of 2k/Take Two as well as R* and that's why he was credited. In some places he's listed as the Vice President of worldwide development at Take Two.

Edited by Zello

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KGBeast
18 hours ago, Zello said:

What did he do on Mafia? source? The only reason I can think of is that at that time in the early 2000's the Housers were in charge of 2k/Take Two as well as R* and that's why he was credited. In some places he's listed as the Vice President of worldwide development at Take Two.

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0396759/

 

2002 - Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven - Executive Producer

 

I assure you it's in the game's manual as well. 

 

Take 2 did not own Mafia at the time. The developer, Illusion, was purchased a few years later and became 2K Czech. The publisher, Gathering of Developers, was also purchased and folded into Take 2. I can't say for sure what the depth of his involvement on the game was, but it wasn't because of Take 2. My best guess is that Vavra asked Sam to consult on the game given the success of GTA, and that relationship is what resulted eventually in the purchase by Take 2. Sam apparently did work on multiple games outside of Rockstar's wheelhouse back in the early days. For instance he apparently did some uncredited work on DMA's Body Harvest and Space Station Silicon Valley between GTA and GTA2.

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Zello
Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, KGBeast said:

Take 2 did not own Mafia at the time. The developer, Illusion, was purchased a few years later and became 2K Czech. The publisher, Gathering of Developers, was also purchased and folded into Take 2. I can't say for sure what the depth of his involvement on the game was, but it wasn't because of Take 2. My best guess is that Vavra asked Sam to consult on the game given the success of GTA, and that relationship is what resulted eventually in the purchase by Take 2. Sam apparently did work on multiple games outside of Rockstar's wheelhouse back in the early days. For instance he apparently did some uncredited work on DMA's Body Harvest and Space Station Silicon Valley between GTA and GTA2.

Take Two purchased Gathering in 2000.

 

Daniel Vavra is still on Twitter right someone should ask him.

 

 

Did some digging and don't see Sam Houser's name at all.

 

https://www.gamesdatabase.org/Media/SYSTEM/Microsoft_Xbox//Manual/formated/Mafia_-_2004_-_Gathering_of_Developers.pdf

 

Over in the Gathering production team section you do see some R* people who are also founders of R* Jamie King, Gary Foreman, and Terry Donovan. Oh and Jennifer Kolbe R*'s head of publishing only recognized her name because she was mentioned in the Benz suit.

 

In the credits in game you don't see Sam Houser's name either.

 

 

Edited by Zello

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Helegad

That's an astounding amount of effort you're putting in to defend an 18 year old game because of what I assume was a YouTube comment. Let it go man.

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