Mafia: Definitive Edition’s developers revealed why they decided to recast the lead role of the game. Tommy Angelo is a bit different in the new version and that’s completely by design, apparently. When it became clear that getting the voice cast back together wasn’t going to happen, they had to look at a plan B.
Australian actor Andrew Bongiorno was the man who was thought to be the new English version of Angelo and Hangar 13 decided to go with the big change despite the criticism they might face. Producer Nicole Sandoval and CCO Haden Blackman added their thoughts on how they could best realize Angelo in this new era of graphical fidelity.
“I definitely looked into the possibility of getting the original actors,” Sandoval explained. “No one’s voice stays the same, especially after such a long period of time…Some might ask ‘Well, why not just keep Tommy?’ Sure, but then you don’t really have a ground-up ensemble that you’ve built to go with the expanded version of the story. And it’s really important for us at Hangar 13 to make sure that, because we do invest so much in the story, we’re building a cast around the story that we feel will be the best at bringing these characters to life, working together and becoming like a family.”
Giving Mafia: Definitive Edition the polished, cinematic presentation it deserves meant redoing the audio from scratch. Learn how the game has been recast to create an ensemble that builds upon the original's incredible performances.
— Mafia: Trilogy (@mafiagame) July 1, 2020
“In many respects, we knew that we had to build the rest of the cast around that actor in order to ensure a sense of camaraderie and family,” Blackman added. “Tommy needs to be believable as both a mobster and a family man. Because he’s the stand-in for the player, he needs to be able to walk that line well. We wanted someone who was aspirational at times—someone you might want to be—but who could also convey his very human weaknesses. He also needed to be able to run a gamut of emotions. When Andrew auditioned, he was able to provide that range.”
“In the callbacks, we really like to give the actor a lot of back and forth with the notes directly in that moment,” Sandoval revealed. “He just took the direction so well; when we pushed him, he was willing to go there. And it doesn’t hurt that he also looked like how we want Tommy to look. Obviously the technology back in 2002 didn’t allow for facial likeness… but for Mafia: Definitive Edition we were able to not only find somebody who could sound and act like how we wanted, but we could have the trifecta of ‘this guy even looks like what we believe Tommy would look like if he wasn’t pixelated.’ And that’s one of the great benefits of being able to redo something like this for the fans: the technology now allows us to have that much more say over what the character looks like. “