Empire Bay is a city on the East Coast of the United States that serves as the setting for Mafia II. It features an open-ended map of about four square miles. The city also features sights based on famous landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building.
- "A city on the grow"
- — City slogan
Empire Bay was founded in 1547 by the Italian explorer Giulio Contadino and named Porto Romano, after the founder's home town of Rome. Porto Romano served as a simple trading post on the mouth of the Culver River until the start of the 17th century when it came under Dutch rule. Under the rule of the Dutch, the city rapidly grew to be a major colonial metropolis on the East Coast of the Colonies. It would remain under Dutch rule until 1694 when the British came to take over the city. The British governor Sir John Stanmore, who began his rule in 1694, was the one who named the city Empire Bay.
Stanmore governed Empire Bay until 1739. The city remained under British rule until after the American Revolutionary War, during which the British used the city as a place to keep American prisoners of war. Throughout the 19th century, during the immigration booms, many of the city's districts were formed around the waves of immigration. Examples are Kingston, built around the Irish immigration wave, and Chinatown, built after the large Chinese immigration boom.
It was during the 19th century and the start of the 20th century that the city really grew to be a modern, American big city with the construction of the Culver Dam and the famous Empire Arms Hotel, which would burn to the ground in 1942 before it was rebuilt. The rebuilding process was completed sometime between 1945 and 1950.
Today, it is a thriving and economically powerful metropolis among the larger cities of America.
Quote from the Mafia II development team as written in the collector's edition art book:
- Instead of modeling Empire Bay after a specific American city, we were inspired by iconic American towns of the 40s and 50s, combining them into a unique urban settings with its own narrow alleys and reaching skyscrapers. To capture the look and feel of this period we spent weeks in New York and Chicago researching architecture, neighborhoods, and other details. We wanted the feel of a real mafia neighborhood and spent time where the police do not frequent and there are no sightseeing tours. When finished, we were stocked with an arsenal of photos which inspired the design of Empire Bay. The city also changes its face in various weather and time conditions. Just when you think you know it well, night falls and the city is new again...
Empire Bay is an ethnically diverse city with sizable Italian, Irish, Chinese and Black populations - due to immigration and, in the case of the black population, the Great Migration from the Southern United States to northern industrial cities. Estimates would place the racial division at ~70% White, ~15% Black, ~10% Asian, and ~5% Other. The city is home to seven million residents.
Many nationwide corporations are headquartered in the city, such as Swift Cola and Big Break Tobacco. In the city, a wide variety of businesses can be found - such as clothing stores and real estate agencies.
The city is surrounded by countryside, and the map is open ended, with an area of about four square miles. The city is surrounded by mountains and hills, much like Upstate New York.
- Main article: Locations in Mafia II
There are 20 neighborhoods in Empire Bay. On the in-game map they are outlined by a black dashed line.
Law and Order
The Empire Bay Police Department (EBPD) is responsible for law enforcement and investigation within the city of Empire Bay. Included in the EBPD is also the Empire Bay SWAT Team, which deals with situations that call for special force skills. In addition to the EBPD, some local business also employ private security guards. Just outside the city is Hartmann Federal Penitentiary, which houses those convicted of major crimes.
Empire Bay's underworld is comprised of three Mafia families. In addition to these, there are also smaller, less-powerful gangs that are involved in the city's underworld.
- Main article: The Mafia
- Main article: Criminal Organizations
- Main article: Empire Bay Radio Stations
There are three different radio stations in Empire Bay: Empire Central Radio, Empire Classic Radio, and Delta Radio. Each radio station plays different songs in the different time periods the game takes place in. Empire Bay is also served by five broadsheet newspapers.
- Main article: Characters in Mafia II
Empire Bay's public transport is run by Empire Bay Transport Lines. The city has a rail line, which is predominately based upon the New York Central RR, as screenshots have shown trains in the company's livery, as well as company logo types. The railway line is also linked to a large dock/industrial complex. However, the railways are not usable in the game. There are buses serving the city as well.
- Lincoln Park (based on both Central Park and Boston Common)
- Empire Arms Hotel (based on the Lever House)
- Grand Upper Bridge (based on the Brooklyn Bridge)
- Empire Bay Building (based on the Empire State Building)
- Ulver Building (based on the Chrysler Building)
- Zavesky Observatory (based on LA's Griffith Observatory)
- The Docks (based on the Brooklyn Shipyards)
- Hillwood Sign (based on the Hollywood Sign)
- Highbrook Bridge (based on the Boston University Bridge)
- Culver Dam (based loosely on Hoover Dam)
- Empire Bay Church (based on the Czech Republic's Evangelical Comenius Church)
- Kingston Stadium (based on Yankee Stadium)
- Southport Tunnel (based on New York's Lincoln Tunnel)
- Empire General Hospital (based on Los Angeles City Hall)
- Empire Bay Police Department (based on US Post Office on Canal Street in New York)
- Empire Bay Courthouse (based on Second Church of Christ, Scientist in New York)
- In the early stages of game development the city was called Empire City. Mafia II Mobile uses the Empire City name.
- Although being inspired by New York City, it does not replace it in the Mafia series canon.
- The press releases and retail packaging of the Mafia Trilogy also claim that Empire Bay in located in the state of New York, though this is not presented in the game itself.
- Mafia: Definitive Edition reveals that there is an airport in Empire Bay, but it does not appear in Mafia II.