Mafia 3 is 2K's biggest launch, shipping 4.5 million units during its first week

Players gravitated to the sequel's diverse characters, setting, and themes.


Publisher 2K shipped 4.5 million copies of Mafia 3 between digital and retail stores during its first week, according to The Washington Post

However, note the distinction between shipped and sold: a publisher can ship X amount of games to a store, but the store might not have sold through its stock. 

Nevertheless, shipping 4.5 million units is still a big deal. That statistic makes Mafia 3, developed by Hangar 13, the biggest launch in 2K's history.

Critics and consumers are mixed regarding how Mafia 3 turned out. "The story is amazing, capturing perfectly the time period and character's motivations. Sadly, the open world and filler content make it almost unbearable, forcing you to choke down a whole lot of bad for just a few small sips of the good," concluded Shacknews editor Joshua Hawkins in his review.

Despite uneven criticism, Mafia 3 deserves recognition for how it handled its characters and themes. The game industry routinely catches flak for slotting in white male protagonists. Lead designer Haden Blackman and the team at Hangar 13 set out to design their lead, a biracial man named Lincoln Clay, as a character who not only challenged an industry norm, but whose race became an integral part of his identity and story.

"Lincoln's racial identity came from a desire to have the game tell its own story, and to look at who would be the most interesting from that time period," said Blackman.

"It’s tough to take on a subject material like this and treat it realistically and sensitively. We have to be sure not to put our words in the character's mouths, but to make sure the words belong in the mouths of the characters," said Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick.

The developers did their homework, reading through hundreds of firsthand accounts and watching documentaries centered on African Americans who lived in the south during the 1960s.

"The reaction from most critics and players has given me the validation that we walked that tightrope pretty well," Blackman said. “We received a lot of feedback from African American players who appreciate a character that represents diversity and that we weren't shying away from what that means."

I do think consumers are searching for a representation of our exceedingly diverse world in our entertainment and art," Zelnick agreed.

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at and @davidlcraddock.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    November 2, 2016 1:28 PM

    David Craddock posted a new article, Mafia 3 is 2K's biggest launch, shipping 4.5 million units during its first week

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      November 2, 2016 2:02 PM

      Didn't see that coming, didn't interest me at all

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      November 2, 2016 6:55 PM

      Very cool, I personally love the game its very good.

      Also I am very happy for the team they did a really good job, these stats should ensure that they make another game in the series which I am already really looking forward to.


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      November 2, 2016 11:39 PM

      Hot garbage

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      November 3, 2016 12:41 AM

      Easily the best in the series. Any and all Far Cry 2 fans need to check it out. You won't be disappointed!

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        November 3, 2016 1:58 AM

        Wait, wait, what? I love Far Cry 2.

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            November 3, 2016 2:18 AM

            Shit man. What I got from reviews was that the story and grind was dissapointing. I'll add this to the wish list though.

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              November 3, 2016 2:22 AM

              I thought the story held up the whole way through. The rackets can be repetitive but the systems support dynamic play, so you can blow through them really quickly in creative ways. Hire a hit squad, strap a bomb to your car and drive it into an enemy hide out, approach a racket through a canal and stealth your way up through the sewers. The biggest thing is that the gunplay is hands-down the best out of any open-world game. The hit reactions and weapon feedback has no competition.

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              November 3, 2016 2:25 AM

              It's not perfect and the launch was rough, but it's only going to improve the experience so holding off won't hurt you (there adding races, player customization, and extra legacy features like speed limits). What's there is mostly great, and it offers an amazing sense of time and place. Plus, killing the KKK never gets old!

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                November 3, 2016 4:48 AM

                That's man, you've sold me! I don't have time to play it right now anyway but can see this being one of my christmas binge games.

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                November 3, 2016 5:40 AM

                Man, first thing I did was look for speed limits on release.

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            November 3, 2016 6:15 AM

            welp looks like I'm buying Mafia 3

            I loved Mafia 1 even though it was kind of a mess when it came out. There was a racing part that was a BITCH to get past, and then a week later they released a patch that made it easier. Well thanks guys I already suffered through that part.

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            November 3, 2016 7:20 AM


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          November 3, 2016 6:17 AM

          Well, fuck. Was gonna wait on this, but now I wanna dive in.

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        November 3, 2016 6:20 AM


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          November 3, 2016 6:21 AM

          Looks like people are comparing the variety of options you have for dispatching your enemies. I guess it really depends on how you played Far Cry 2.

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      November 3, 2016 1:16 AM

      Well this kind of undermines that evil 2K article from the other day.

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      November 3, 2016 6:57 AM

      You guys recommend for someone who loved 2? I know it had its critics but I really enjoyed the last game.

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      November 3, 2016 10:57 AM

      Three just needs a fast travel system and some AI adjustments. Its a cool game.

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