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More details about cancelled Rhapsody from Mafia III makers

The game was loosely inspired by Kingsman.

  • Text: David Kers
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We already knew Mafia III studio Hangar 13 was working on a third-person action game that mixes combat and music, but no more details about the project had emerged. Until now, that is, as according to Kotaku the cancelled game was a new IP called Rhapsody.

The game was originally going take place in Berlin during the '80s, where players would walk in the footsteps of a Russian Jew whose parents had been killed in a Soviet labour camp. The character thereafter rescued by Americans and recruited by the spy organisation, Rhapsody.

"It was hitting a lot of the beats we were good at. Like Mafia III, this game would put you in the shoes of someone who was treated as subhuman by the people around him and thought largely in terms of vengeance. He's doing missions, trying to save the world and get revenge on whoever killed his parents, trying to decide between the personal good and the public good."

According to one source, the game could be compared to the Kingsman movies, but "without the really goofy shit". Players would be able to use a spy car to cross the border between East and West Germany and items for each mission had to be limited to what you could smuggle in with you via the car.

The original concept was eventually changed. One of the gameplay mechanics would involve musical cues because the main character's backstory had him playing the piano his parents bought for him when he was little. Players could enter a Detective Mode by listing to music. This was discarded after leadership changes at Hangar 13: Berlin was replaced by San Francisco. The role of the spy was replaced by that of a superhero, and "the concept was using music as a weapon" instead of detective work.

"You'd be listening to, say, Survivor's Eye of the Tiger. Press buttons on the controller at the right time, and you'd summon an actual tiger to help you in a fight. Another idea, described to me by a different person on the team, involved taking riffs and song stems from a variety of tracks and combining them all to create different abilities. "

Eventually, a dozen people were laid off at Hangar 13, which affected Rhapsody even more. "A year into it, most of us still didn't get what the concept was". The production of a secret project, which is rumoured to be a new BioShock game, caused even more tension among the team. After that, in March 2018, even more people were laid off and with that Rhapsody was put on indefinite hold.