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2K Games’ big Summer Game Fest announcement needs to be Mafia 4

2K Games will take the stage at Summer Game Fest, and it is about time I got some good news about the state of Mafia 4's development.

Mafia 4 Summer Game Fest 2K Games: An image of Vito Scaletta and Tommy Angelo in the Mafia games.

The early 2010s were full of GTA clones, and games like the excellent Mafia 2 rose above all in the crowded genre. With 2K Games set to appear at Summer Game Fest soon, it could be an exciting time for the Mafia franchise. Instead of announcing a new Borderlands title, which feels like the most likely scenario, I’m itching for a Mafia 4 teaser.

I know what you’re thinking: Mafia 3 wasn’t very good. And while I certainly see the criticisms levied at the flawed open world game, I don’t regret the time I spent playing it. Yes, it is repetitive and had its fair share of bugs at launch, but there was a solid story underpinning it all. Seeing familiar faces like Mafia 2’s Vito Scaletta and his promises of whipping up fresh bucatini still makes me chuckle. The franchise still has plenty of juice left, and Summer Game Fest is the perfect place to let players know that.

The forthcoming gangster game sequel has been in development since late 2022, with developer Hangar 13 looking to hire new talent last April. Since then, word on Mafia 4 has been largely quiet, although slithers of leaks are starting to emerge. According to known leaker ‘Kurakasis’, who also claims a new Matrix game is in the works (please, please), 2K Games’ parent company Take-Two Interactive is getting ready to tease Mafia 4.

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“I can tell you that a few days ago, Take-Two began preparations for an announcement regarding the Mafia series,” claims the leaker on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Additionally, they add that it is difficult “to determine the timeframe, but with Judas, I’ve seen them gearing up for the new trailer about 3–4 weeks before it dropped.” For further context, the last Judas trailer dropped back in January, followed by in-depth gameplay previews last month from IGN and Summer Game Fest’s host, Geoff Keighley.

Keighley is known to get hands-on with the games shown at both Summer Game Fest and The Game Awards, visiting studios ahead of the big show. A recent social media post from Summer Game Fest says “2K [Games] plans to reveal the next iteration in one of 2K’s biggest and most beloved franchises.” The most obvious scenario would be revealing the next iteration of the popular apocalyptic sci-fi RPG game franchise Borderlands. 

Mafia Summer Game Fest: An image of leaker Kurakasis talking about Mafia 4.

However, the time is right for Mafia’s current-gen debut. With the GTA 6 release date targeting Fall 2025, the Saints Row franchise meeting its demise, and the lack of any news on Just Cause 5, there’s a gap for Mafia 4 to swoop in and make its own. Insider Gaming purports that Mafia 4 will be set in the birthplace of the mafia, Sicily.

Throughout the Mafia trilogy, real-life locations like New York City and New Orleans have been replicated with an original spin. If Mafia 4 is a prequel, channeling those The Godfather vibes for a Sicily-based story would be a welcome change of pace.

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Speculative, it could feature Don Ennio Salieri from the first game, and show his rise to power before moving to Lost Haven. It wouldn’t be the first time the Mafia games have added expanded backstories to known events.

The prospect of Mafia 4 utilizing Unreal Engine 5 on PS5 and Xbox is exciting, and if it can deliver a story as riveting as the first two entries, then that’s an offer to play I definitely can’t refuse.

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