Mafia 3 has become 2K Games’ fastest selling game ever, beating both the NBA 2K and BioShock franchises. Parent company Take-Two (which also owns Rockstar Games) revealed that the game had a “sell-in” of 4.5 million copies within a week of launch, a figure that includes copies sold digitally as well as physical copies that have been sold to retailers (but not necessarily sold to customers, yet).
Despite this figure not necessarily being representative of the overall Mafia 3 sales picture, the figure is still impressive. Not least because the game garnered reviews that were “lower than we would have liked,” according to Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick.
Mafia 3 Sales Set New Record
Speaking during Take-Two’s latest financial briefing, Zelnick explained that “there are a lot of stellar reviews and I think the most prominent reviewers really loved it and recognized that what we are doing here from a story, art, character and excitement perspective is really unmatched in the marketplace.”
Seemingly referring to Bethesda’s new policy of not providing review copies until the day before a game’s launch, Zelnick also said that “in terms of the reviews and scores, sort of an odd anomaly. I think we and our competitors are seeing some anomalies in the review system, we take them as they are and we don’t argue with it.” Zelnick added that “most importantly…consumers love the title.”
The promising performance of Mafia 3 is being seen as a Big Deal because of just how many risks the game takes. Not only does it star an African-American protagonist, which is something of a rarity, but also for its unflinching portrayal of racism.
Gamers of colour especially have commented about how honest the game’s racism feels, from the micro-aggressions to the racist epithets. At a time when games like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided are getting it wrong and at a time when just the very existence of black characters is seen as a political statement, the fact that Mafia 3 refuses to back down is a bold step that has clearly paid off.
With Mafia 3 also being a serious departure from the previous two games (in which the player character was working with the Italian mob rather than against them), it will be interesting to see where the franchise goes next. Sure, Mafia 4 hasn’t been confirmed yet but with that 4.5 million figure no doubt set to climb, it certainly looks likely.