The header artwork above depicting the Salieri Crime Family is a Mafia: Definitive Edition throwback to promotional art for the original Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven. Click here to see it at full resolution.
Recasting Tommy Angelo for Mafia: Definitive Edition was just one piece of the puzzle, because without a Mafia family to join, enemies to war with, or citizens filling the streets of Lost Heaven circa 1930, there would be no crime drama. While discussing the techniques, training, and technology that brought the new Tommy Angelo to life, Hangar 13's developers also had lots to share about the ensemble cast surrounding Tommy throughout Mafia: Definitive Edition's revitalized story.
Here's a look at the English-language actors who provided the voices, likenesses, and mocap performances of the supporting cast in Mafia: Definitive Edition. Though it's far from an exhaustive list, these are some of the key characters Tommy meets during his journey through the world of organized crime. All supported languages will include localized subtitles.
Sam: Don DiPetta
Paulie: Jeremy Luke
Don Salieri: Glenn Taranto
Sarah: Bella Popa
Frank: Steven Oliver
Don Morello: Saul Stein
Detective Norman: Dameon Clarke
Expanding Mafia's narrative
Mafia: Definitive Edition isn't a word-for-word retelling of the original 2002 game Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven, as it builds on Tommy Angelo's iconic story across gameplay and cinematics alike. Affording you more insight into the supporting cast is a crucial component to that additional context, fleshing out the people in Tommy's life to make his story feel that much more real. "Ultimately, we wanted to retain the spirit of the story and the characters, while developing them further where possible," says Hangar 13 President and CCO Haden Blackman. "Paulie is a good example: in the original, he's something of a loose cannon. He's funny but a bit hot-headed," adds Blackman. "We kept all of that, but also gave him a bit more depth and foreshadow some events that come later in the game. He's got plans, wants to be the brain behind a score."
Sarah, who is arguably the most important and impactful person in Tommy's life, also has a greatly expanded role in Mafia: Definitive Edition. "In the original, Sarah is Tommy's love interest, but she doesn't get very much screen time," notes Blackman. "We wanted her to appear more often so you have a better sense of who Tommy is trying to protect from the outset. We knew from the original that Sarah is the daughter of Salieri's bartender, Luigi, so we thought it made sense to have her helping out around the bar. This allows us to introduce her earlier and establish that she has some understanding of the work Tommy does."
The updated performances also give more gravitas to the bosses of Lost Heaven's underworld. "We remind the player that there is a larger war brewing, and that they are joining the Mafia—which has its own history and traditions," says Blackman. "There's very few scenes with mob boss Salieri where he doesn't reference the war with Morello and, perhaps more importantly, hints at their former friendship and long rivalry. We really wanted to establish that the Salieri crime family is an underdog in the war against the Morello crime family; this is something we reinforce multiple times now, and it helps drive some of Salieri's decisions."
You also get more sense of the Mafia's far-reaching influence, and events that have repercussions for the rest of the Mafia: Trilogy timeline. "We worked hard to build a number of 'hidden histories' throughout the game—references to events, characters, and places that aren't ever fully fleshed out in this narrative, but give you a sense that the world existed before Tommy and will exist after he's gone," explains Blackman.
A couple of wise guys
Were it not for Sam and Paulie, Tommy would've never made the transition from honest cab driver to one of Salieri's soldiers. And casting these two mobsters who eventually befriend Tommy and show him the ropes was directly correlated to Tommy's role. "You want to be able to cast voices and actors who are uniquely different from your lead," says Hangar 13 Producer Nicole Sandoval. "What are you looking for with your hero, and who are the people who are going to complement him? Thanks to the original version of this game, we had two really great bases to start with in his friends Sam and Paulie. Getting a chance to build on that and get two awesome actors, Jeremy Luke and Don DiPetta, to play off each other and counterbalance Andrew Bongiorno's performance as Tommy was really key for us." That dynamic benefits the actors' mocap performances, with a comradery that can be felt in all languages.
Sandoval stressed that Hangar 13 wants the cast members of its games to feel like family by the end of it all, and Mafia: Definitive Edition's intensive recording schedule certainly helped. "These guys not only got to act with each other nearly every day—they were living with each other for two-and-a-half months straight," says Sandoval, who oversaw all the mocap work and flew the lead actors out to Hangar 13's Brno office for facial scans. "As awesome as it is when your cast gets so bonded like that, I also felt like a momma hen trying to herd them. Like 'Okay, come on you guys, calm down!'" laughs Sandoval. "The pranks that were happening on set… Don and Jeremy were like bickering brothers who had been separated at birth. It was amazing. And Andrew was the straight man between these two knuckleheads."
The denizens of Lost Heaven
Beyond the core cast, it's the people walking, chatting, and driving around Lost Heaven who make it feel like a truly lived-in, of-its-time city. And to ensure that everything about Mafia: Definitive Edition's setting feels authentic, the cast providing the voiceovers for Lost Heaven's many civilians, police officers, and enemy mobsters received coaching material to ensure they sounded the part for a Midwesterner living in 1930s America. Sandoval also credits contract writer Will Porter with helping shape the finer details of Mafia: Definitive Edition's many NPCs. "He did extensive research on the time period that this game takes place in," she says. "Not only on vernacular and slang that people were using in those times, but also, what were the things people would be talking about?"
Topics you might overhear being discussed on the streets of Lost Heaven run the gamut from Prohibition and The New Deal to Hoover and FDR, all through the lens of the economic ruin and societal hardship brought on by The Great Depression. You might even pick up on some words that are mostly unfamiliar to the modern ear and proved difficult to translate for international regions, like "Boondoggle," a term used to decry odd jobs that were paid for by President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. "Will made some of the most amazing ambient chatter lines," says Sandoval. "Not only did I relearn history I hadn't thought about in a really long time, but I really felt like he had actually given these individual civilians life. They have real character. And our actors who came in to do these civilian voices did an amazing job because Will gave them so much to work with."
When Mafia: Definitive Edition launches worldwide on September 25, 2020, you can experience for yourself just how much character and personality the supporting cast and city populace imbue into Tommy's classic story. And if you're the type to seek out every tidbit of narrative nuance dotting the city of Lost Heaven, you'll have your work cut out for you. "One of the things that Haden always wanted when we first started Hangar 13 was to make our worlds feel real, and feel alive," says Sandoval. "And part of the way you do that, for the player who just wants to meander through the world and catch a conversation between a shop owner and a customer, is to give them those nuggets. I hope the fans can appreciate those mini-conversations that they might overhear in the game, because they were some of my absolute favorites."