When EA announced that it would not appear at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this year, choosing instead to host its own EA Play event (which took place earlier this week), many wondered who would step up to fill in the void. The answer turned out to be 2K Games, which came in ready to promote its big hit for the holiday 2016 season: Mafia III.
Taking place in the 1960s, Mafia III puts players in the shoes of Lincoln Clay, a vengeful man who finds himself fighting a war against the Italian Mob after they wipe out his entire crew during an ambush. But the tale of revenge isn’t a simple one, as Clay vows to wipe them out financially first with the help of rival mob bosses.
The trailer provides a better idea of how closely the team at Hangar 13 is working to recapture the era of the ’60s in the game, including an authentic soundtrack with selections from Credence Clearwater Revival and other artists. But 2K didn’t stop there. The publisher went all out to recreate the city of New Bordeaux (loosely based on New Orleans) on the E3 show floor, complete with buildings and a variety of activities for attendees. These include catching beads thrown from second-floor balconies; getting their fortunes read by tarot card readers; and listening to a live band with a lot of ’60s influence.
2K also had a roaming New Orleans funeral making its way through the halls, with a big bang to back them up throughout. Additionally, Mafia III was promoted outside of the show floor with a food truck serving authentic New Orleans cuisine, including jambalaya and alligator tenders.
It’s a step above for 2K’s usual marketing. Mafia II was well promoted when it released in 2010, but it didn’t get the kind extravaganza its sequel is getting at E3. 2K had no problem making its booth take front and center in the South Hall on the show floor, and it befits the publisher that has put out hit franchises such as NBA 2K, Borderlands and Grand Theft Auto.
In fact, the booth gained huge buzz on social media as well, with a couple of examples below:
From tarot readings to jazz, Mafia's #E3 booth is like walking through New Orleans.
— IGN @ E3 (@IGN) June 16, 2016
— rem scobell (@remscobell) June 16, 2016
— Ben Jones @ E3 (@Bagelbeard) June 16, 2016
Although the publisher’s other games–WWE 2K17 and NBA 2K17–got little promotion compared to Mafia III, there’s no question that 2K has made a huge impression at E3 this year, which could resonate to the fall when Mafia III releases on October 7 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.