We knew Mafia 3 touched on some very real subject matter, but it’s rubbed certain groups up the wrong way – Unionists are calling for a ban on the game for its ‘sick glamorisation of terrorism’.
Unionists have a number of problems with the open world gangster game, which is set in 1968 in the city of New Bordeaux. More than anything though, it’s a mission that sees players steal cars to be used by bombers in Belfast that’s really caused a stir.
The side mission – called IRA Don’t Ask – depicts a character in the game called Thomas Burke, who has to deliver three cars to his IRA connections. It’s the player’s job to steal these cars for him.
Later, during a cutscene, Burke suggests the cars will be used as part of an IRA terror strike. He tells the player that his IRA connections want to ‘keep the Belfast law guessing when things go boom’.
You can see the mission for yourself below.
Completing the mission prompts Burke to say:
While we’ll have a lot of regular folk missing their wheels, the brothers back in Belfast really appreciate your help.
This prompted Democratic Unionist Party MP Jeffrey Donaldson to suggest that 2K withdraw the game from sale. He told The Irish News he was worried about the impact it could have on ‘impressionable’ minds.
The IRA were a terrorist organisation that murdered very many innocent men, women and children in Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK. 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. 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.
Meanwhile, Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister had harsher words for Mafia 3, calling it a ‘sick glamorisation of terrorism’.
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.
Neither publisher 2K nor developer Hangar 13 have commented on these allegations yet – however, Hangar 13 do open Mafia 3 with a statement that explains they’re trying to create an ‘authentic’ period experience.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.