It’s been a long time since a trailer gave me chills, but that’s exactly what this new one for Mafia III has done. The last time it happened I was watching the Dead Island teaser, which unfortunately under-delivered anything actually resembling what was shown.

This time, though, could well be different. Mafia III looks to be quite different to the first two games with a new lead character, a new setting and a new time period through which to romp.

Perhaps the biggest change is the fact that gone are the greasy-haired Italians of I and II, and in their place is a brand-new protagonist – a bi-racial man by the name of Lincoln Clay, and boy is he pissed off.

The trailer opens with Clay talking about family, the one thing that Mafia games and movies keeps going on about, but he gives it his own twist.

Orphaned at a young age, Clay spent years looking for people who would accept him as family, finding it during the Vietnam War and the “Black Mob” which he joins on his return home, so when the Italian Mafia takes his brothers out when he gets back, that sets him off on his own trail of violence and revenge.

You’ll see some of it unfolding in the trailer (more hinted at than graphically shown, fortunately), which seems to suggest a far grittier approach to design and mechanics than seen in previous Mafia games. Clay swears as well, so if that sort of thing turns you off then maybe give this a pass.

The game is also set in a new era and locale, starting off in 1968 in New Orleans which was a volatile, violent place and time, fraught with out-in-the-open racism and gang warfare. And on the slightly more positive side, also an era of really great music, some of which you’ll hear in the trailer. Will The Animals’ ‘House of the Rising Sun’ ever get old? I don’t think so.

Interestingly, right at the end we see three other people joining Clay, which IGN says are “Cassandra and her Haitians, Burke and his Irish, and the protagonist from Mafia 2, Vito Scaletta, who lends his faction of Italians”, so we’ll be seeing some familiar faces when Mafia III comes out next year.

I enjoyed both previous Mafias, but hope new 2K studio Hangar 13 works hard to make the world a little more vibrant and alive than it was in II, which I found to be rather dull, and more of a prop to the actual story than an interesting place with a life of its own.

Take a look at the trailer, and let us know what you think of the new characters, location and time period. Me, I think it lends the Mafia franchise a much-needed refresh, and can’t wait to see where 2K takes it.

Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.