Even after you've experienced Tommy Angelo's journey into the world of organized crime, there's still plenty to see and do in Mafia: Definitive Edition via Free Ride mode. "Free Ride is a bonus mode that we included as a nod to the original game," explains Ondřej Vévoda, Lead Designer at Hangar 13. "The basic idea is that Free Ride allows players to explore Lost Heaven freely without any mission objectives. It’s an opportunity to check out the beautiful vistas around the city, test drive the vehicles in your garage, find collectibles out in the world, and maybe uncover a few secrets."
Free Ride harkens back to the 2002 original Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven, letting you explore the 1930s landscape at your own pace. "Confusingly, there were two versions of Free Ride in the original game," says Vévoda. "There was 'Free Ride,' a city tourism mode with very simple taxi-driving type gameplay, and 'Free Ride Extreme' which added some crazy challenges. We combined ideas from both into one mode, so the Definitive Edition version of Free Ride contains both the tourism part and some hidden bonus content to discover."
To unlock Free Ride mode, all you need to do is complete the first mission in Mafia: Definitive Edition's main story. "When you enter Free Ride, you'll start at Salieri’s Bar, with access to your garage, wardrobe, and armory, plus the ability to change the time of day and weather," says Vévoda. "Once Tommy is kitted up, you can head into the city and start poking around." The most dedicated players may find a few unlockables as a reward for following a trail of cryptic clues.
Vévoda particularly loves exploring the serene countryside beyond the busy streets of Lost Heaven in Free Ride. "We added a big rural area to the north of the city, and the main story only takes you out to a couple of spots," he explains. "There are a lot of great views and little places to discover up there. Also, all those long country roads and dirt tracks are perfect for putting vehicles through their paces."
Of course, longtime Mafia fans may remember the more absurd aspects of the original Free Ride that exist way outside the story's canon. "I think like most players, I loved Free Ride Extreme in particular," recalls Vévoda. "After all the serious Mafia business of the main story, surreal challenges like shooting a sea monster or tailing an invisible man were a lot of fun and a great way to spend extra hours in the world once the story was complete."
Will those sillier elements return in Mafia: Definitive Edition's Free Ride? "All I can say is: The truth is out there," Vévoda remarks. You'll have to see what secrets you can uncover for yourself in Free Ride when Mafia: Definitive Edition launches later this week; check out the "When Can You Play Mafia?" release schedule for details.