The response to Mafia 3 has been mostly mixed. The game’s metacritic rating sits at below 70, while we here at Fenix Bazaar gave the game a 6.5, saying its fantastic story doesn’t save it from its barren, tedious game world.
Gamers don’t seem to have taken notice, with Mafia 3 topping sales charts in the UK, across Europe, and in other regions. Sales are above what they were at launch for Mafia 2, and in a stacked month of big releases and even the launch of PlayStation VR, no amount of bad reviews have stopped the game from flying off shelves.
It might just be pulled off them in Ireland, however, if local unionists have their way.
Reported by Irish News, a mission in the game titled “The IRA Don’t Ask” that tasks the player with stealing cars for the republican movement has caused major offense in the country. In the mission, Thomas Burke, an underworld figure in the game, tells the player’s character, Lincoln Clay, that the cars are needed to “keep Belfast law guessing when things go boom”.
Due to the game’s frequent anti-union sentiment, which includes graffiti scattered throughout the game’s fictional New Orleans-inspired world of New Bordeaux, unionists have called for the game to be withdrawn from sale.
“The IRA were a terrorist organisation that murdered very many innocent men, women and children in Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK,” Democratic Unionist Party MP Jeffrey Donaldson said. “Whilst this game may seem to be a work of fiction for some, it could be seen as trivialising the suffering of innocent victims and the evil that is represented by all forms of terrorism.”
Donaldson said he was concerned about the impact that the game could have on “impressionable” minds.
“I invite the makers of this game to come to Northern Ireland and meet some of the innocent victims of the IRA and then consider whether the contents are appropriate. I hope they can be persuaded to withdraw the game and think again.”
The North Antrum constituency in the Northern Ireland Assembly also voiced concerns.
“When they use the name of an actual terrorist organisation in this fashion they are being even more insensitive as victims were directly impacted by actions such as those portrayed in this game. This game would appear to treat the IRA in a fashion which is grossly offensive to the many people who suffered as a result of IRA bombs. This may be viewed as another clever way of earning money by some but it is most insensitive to victims. I would urge all involved in the production of this game to consider how they would feel had they lost a loved one or a limb in a Provisional bombing.”
Mafia 3‘s developers, Hanger 13, wrote a message to players about the game’s confronting content and themes. The below message appears when the game is first booted up.
Mafia III takes place in a fictionalized version of the American South in 1968.
We sought to create an authentic and immersive experience that captures this very turbulent time and place, including depictions of racism.
We find the racist beliefs, language, and behaviors of some characters in the game abhorrent, but believe it is vital to include these depictions in order to tell Lincoln Clay’s story.
Most importantly, we felt that to not include this very real and shameful part of our past would have been offensive to the millions who faced – and still face – bigotry, discrimination, prejudice, and racism in all its forms.