Spoilers for the end(s) of Mafia 3
What was your ending?
I left town. I expect you did too, because we always do the same thing.
So we finally found out what Donovan’s deal was…
I did leave town. And Cassandra took over, and I immediately regretted leaving town, which didn’t surprise me, as the whole time I was leaving I was thinking “I am going to regret this.”
I just watched the “other” endings, and the only one that makes sense for the FBI guy to even be there, and for James to be so sad, is staying and running it with everyone. But whatever.
Did you kill Sal? That’s a better question.
Because I think, in the end, this game was REALLY about games themselves. It was about making game players wonder why they’re ok with some things, not ok with others. I think it’s why they tried so hard to humanize bad people: it’s what WE do every time we step into a “hero’s” shoes.
Cuz there’s Giorgi. He’s easy to hate. He’s there all bragging about killing Olivia with a knife. Eww, right? And then he’s all “But I did it for my father.” Whatever, right? He’s evil. But how many people did we kill with knives? And how many trophies did we get for it? Why? For our in game father. Right? We are him, he is us. And yet, we instinctively hate him, and we choose to spend hours BEING Lincoln Clay.
And then Sal pretty much giving up because he’s lost Giorgi. Did you kill him?
As for Donovan……I still don’t know WHAT the fuck is with that.
I COULD say that it, too, was an indictment of both “well meaning” white folk and the player, especially players who are well meaning white folk. After all, Donovan is nuts. We spent many a word here, on the worst fitness blog on the internet, trying to read between lines trying to figure out what rational reason he had for helping Lincoln: Politics? Money? It had to be SOMETHING that made sense because he was a “good” guy, right? But nope. He was just as crazy and deluded and zealous about something so WRONG as all the other white folk. Everyone, really.
So is this “Even the good black folk are puppets of crazy white people no matter what?” Is it that pessimistic?
But when I think on that, it falls apart. Lincoln called Donovan. Not the other way around. What was Donovan’s master plan? “I will befriend this soldier I met in Vietnam who I know is into some sketchy shit in New Orleans. Why? Because I am mad that, three years ago, JFK was shot, and I am so obsessed with it, and there is a chance that this man will someday take on the mob in New Orleans who might be involved with JFK, and, if, by chance, he takes on the mob, his priest friend might call me and I’ll get to the bottom of everything.”
That is one hell of a plan.
So I don’t get it. It was a weird last image of the game.
And what makes even less sense is that, in none of the possible endings, does ANYONE in the present acknowledge it at all. You’d think the FBI guy, at least, would have SOME interest in the fact that Lincoln’s close friend was the guy who went batshit and shot a sitting Senator. Even if that was “classified,” one would think that a sitting Senator being killed was news, and relevant news to the narrative of the documentary.
Some people think that the scene was setting up a Mafia 4, but I doubt it. This game took a knock for not having a lot of, you know, MAFIA in it, so what would a game with Donovan be like? “Take the role of a batshit conspiracy theorist as he does…something mafia like in furtherance of his batshit ideas….who knows? There’ll be Italian food? Close enough? MAFIA 4! Pre-order now!”
So, good job really challenging why we, as players, have so much sympathy for some devils and so little for others. That’s a cool thing to make me think on. But this Donovan stuff? Oooookaaaay.
Oh, and did your Cassandra take over? Cuz we can talk on that.
I partly left town because Donovan as he’s leaving said “you’d better take out the people who’ve been working with you before they come after you,” and I was afraid that if I went to the plantation I’d wind up having to kill Cassandra, Burke and Vito. Which I kind of didn’t want to do because…I mean, we weren’t exactly friends, but they were the closest thing I had.
And James saying “if you do anything but leave, we’re through,” I figured James IS the only person Lincoln has left who’s family, in a sense, and maybe he doesn’t want to lose that. Doesn’t want to trade that for the mob ‘family,’ anyway.
I did kill Sal. Killed everybody, man. It was interesting, that scene where you sit and have a drink with him and tell each other about your nightmares. It really was a moment where Lincoln basically becomes Sal…or doesn’t, quite, if we wind up leaving town instead of taking over.
I didn’t feel BAD for Sal, but I kind of respected him at that point. “I’m not going to say I’m sorry for any of the bad stuff I did.”
Lincoln also never says he’s sorry for any of the bad stuff he did. It was a perfect set up, really, for the logical narrative next step of Lincoln taking over. Lincoln was MEANT to take over!
So it’s actually a little weird that you even have the option to refuse, and perhaps even weirder that, given that option, all the players we know (us) will take it. A desperate last-minute grasp for redemption?
If so, it wasn’t a very successful one given that we spend the rest of our life on the run, can’t maintain a relationship, etc. But perhaps that’s all we deserve, given the many, many bad things we’ve done.
My Burke took over…I wonder how it decided which one wins? The FBI guy said that he wasn’t even supposed to live more than six months because of liver cancer, but he took the money Lincoln left and went to South America for a black market transplant, and lived another dozen years or so selling cocaine and stuff until the Colombians (I think) moved in and he died in a shoot-out. I didn’t hear anything about what happened to Vito or Cassandra.
“And to this day, New Bordeaux is a lawless hell-hole,” FBI-guy said, or words to that effect.
As for Donovan–I don’t know if we’re meant to think that he originally befriended Lincoln because of some long-range plan that culminated in a senate hearing. He tells the senator that he found his name in Sal Marcano’s papers after Sal was dead, so it’s not as if he was actually targeting that guy to start with.
I think maybe they did just meet in the army doing black ops or whatever, and then Lincoln thought of him when he needed some help with this revenge thing, because who better than a guy who cheerfully dismembers old women, and Donovan leaped at the chance to help because he thought the mob was involved with JFK’s death and this was a chance to learn more. He probably met a lot of people in the army, and maybe just never bothered to help any of them with their death plots because there wasn’t a mob tie-in. (Or maybe he DID help more of them, and we just don’t know about it because it wasn’t in this game!)
And then he did learn more, helping Lincoln, and he went with it in his own head until he’d built up a satisfactory conclusion. It’s…honestly not the MOST satisfying explanation, but it’s OK.
As for what that means, and whether it makes Lincoln the puppet of a crazy white man…meh. I think Lincoln did what Lincoln wanted to do, and Donovan helped him. Did he also help Donovan? Sure. Did Donovan prompt him on occasions when he might have felt like just giving up? Maybe. We don’t know how serious any of his thoughts about giving up were. He never actually vocalized any such ideas, we just read into it because he’d take a break for a minute and then go talk to Donovan again, or stop to close some guy’s eyes. We could also read it that Lincoln was going to get himself psyched back up and carry right on with the quest no matter what, and all Donovan did was cheer him on and give him information he would have had to work harder for otherwise.
I don’t know.
Apparently, if you go back, you have a choice to either kill everyone or rule together. Certainly, the best thing for everyone is ruling together. You set up a massive criminal empire, everyone gets rich, you reopen the amusement park, build hospitals, sell drugs, that sort of thing. You get so powerful the FBI can’t touch you and the FBI guy is all “I did this documentary to shine a light on the real Lincoln Clay” and James cries and stuff. Somehow Katrina doesn’t happen, etc.
If you kill everyone, you get in your car, which blows up, and the documentary cuts to James confessing that he planted the bomb to save the city.
But yeah, figured James’ approval would matter to Lincoln.
If you watch the endings, certainly the one where he takes over a) makes the most sense and b) is probably the canon ending as it sets up a sequel in which there is an actual mafia.
As for redemption…Yes and no. I did not kill Sal. Well, I did, because if you put a square in front of me I will press square. Then it occurred to me that the quest wasn’t “Kill Marcano,” so I reloaded and just walked away. He sat there screaming “You COWARD” and “DO IT!” and shit until he shot himself. Which wasn’t redemption, per se. He WANTED us to kill him. He wanted to go out like a mobster, I guess. So denying him that wasn’t exactly nice.
Huh. My Cassandra got it. And things went BADLY. She was never respected by the other gangs, so se had to, basically, kill the fuck out of, like, everyone, including the old guy we see at the end. No 20% option for her. So the Governor cut all sorts of aid to the city, so she had the governor killed, which was basically the end of any aid as the white folks left New Orleans to rot. It’s schools, roads, everything went to shit. Then “In the last big storm, that some people think of as Hurricane Cassandra” (seriously), when thousands died, she disappeared. “Some think she drowned, but she’s more likely out in the bayou, running the underworld still.” Last thing is her, on a bridge, in silhouette, a truck diving by and she’s gone.
Ok, I’ll go with your theory for Donovan. He might not have been targeting the Senator, but he certainly wanted the MOB for his own bullshit.
Or, really, do you think we’re supposed to think he’s nuts? Yes, we hear conspiracy theorists and think “nuts.” But we also hear people think they saw aliens, and yet we happily play games with aliens all the time. Fiction. So do you think the game was wanting us to buy this? That there really was a conspiracy in the game world and Donovan is right? And onto it?
And remember the Pagani bit where Lincoln WAS having doubts.
Oh man! We should have taken it over and ruled with our people as an unstoppable force. Siiiiigh.
Interesting that Cassandra went that hard core. Killing the governor! Burke just let the city go to cocaine. I wonder what Vito did?
I thought about that, with Donovan. Are we really meant to think he’s a crazy conspiracy theorist, or are we meant to think he actually HAS uncovered the truth (or some truth), considering that weirder truths have been uncovered in video games we’ve played before? Or are we meant to not really know, because who knows what the truth is?
And yeah, the Pagani bit had doubts, but was Lincoln seriously contemplating calling the whole thing off? Would he, at that point, having already taken over all those territories and killed all those guys, have really said “you know what, this quest for vengeance is destroying my soul and turning me into the very thing I hate. I’m out.”
I don’t think there was any indication that he was actually pondering that. “I don’t know, it doesn’t seem quite right” or whatever he said is not exactly “I’m not doing this anymore.” Maybe he was just pondering whether or not he was really a “good man,” as James stated (almost accusingly).
I mean, yeah, we made much of how James is the conscience and Donovan is the tempter, or whatever (and I think that was legitimate analysis!), but in that read, they’re both only giving voice to things Lincoln already knows/feels/wants. Did Donovan’s encouragement really keep Lincoln on the quest at a moment when he was about to give it up, or just cheer him on at a moment when he was feeling a bit less than pumped about the whole thing?
I still think in the end, Lincoln did what he wanted to do, and like Sal, I think he accepted what that made him and didn’t apologize for it. Did it make him a monster? Kind of. Was he, as you pointed out, no better than Giorgi, killing people for a father figure? Indeed. Did he, in the end, get any long-term peace or satisfaction out of the fact that he’d succeeded? We don’t know. Maybe not. Maybe those nightmares he and Sal talked about still haunt him.
Maybe there’s not a ‘good’ ending because it’s a game about bad people doing bad things.
Maybe that works.
I watched Vito’s ending, too!
He “spat on Marcano’s grave one last time” by actually completing the casino. This led to revenue, and stadiums and that sort of thing, and New Orleans became the “Vegas of the South.” It didn’t have any of the “good stuff” that Lincoln did if he took over, like rebuilding the Hollow and having hospitals named after him, but it thrived as a casino/Vegas kind of place. He’s still alive, living in Marcano’s penthouse, looking out at the city he owns. Final shot: him standing in front of huge windows, smoking, in the lap of luxury, looking just like the old gangster you meet when you kill Marcano.
But Donovan…Yup. We’ve done weirder things than “Unravel the real truth about JFK!” But he sure seemed unhinged at the end there. And the total lack of an epilogue for him would make one think he’s the sequel. But MAN that would be a weird game, even more so if he IS unhinged. He sure seemed nuts. Turning back all “Whaa! Made you flinch!” as he was exiting, that’s not something you do if you’re being all business, CIA style. That’s just nuts.
And James certainly thought that there was an off ramp for Lincoln, no matter what. So….
But I think it does work at the end. And it certainly makes you think as a player. We enjoyed being the same as the very baddies we had visceral reactions to. You just HATE Giorgi in the game, or I did. Yes, Olivia tortured dudes. But so did Vito (while we stood idly by) and Donovan sure did. We talked on how we liked Conti, but he dissolved bodies. This game really did give you characters who were all the same in terms of their inherent goodness, but we both had varying feelings towards them, and it’s up to us to look in the mirror and wonder why.
We even had varying feelings about Lincoln. One thing that I was pondering was his name: Clay. Clay is, after all, something that you take and mold into whatever you want, and that, I think, was something the player was encouraged to do, and then wonder why they made what they did.