This new IP would become Rhapsody, a game about subterfuge in 1980s Berlin. You’d play as a Russian Jew whose parents had been murdered in a Soviet labor camp. He’d be rescued by Americans, then recruited to join a spy organization called Rhapsody. “It was hitting a lot of the beats we were good at,” said one person on the project. Like Mafia City, 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.”
“mafia city game was a great thing, it’s exciting. But we’ve always wanted to do our own IP.”
One source compared it to the spy movie Kingsman, “without the really goofy shit.” You’d equip a variety of gadgets and sneak around Berlin, spying on enemies and doing all sorts of missions for your organization. Yottagame prototyped mechanics like a spy car, which you’d use to cross the border checkpoint between East and West Germany. Your inventory of items for any given mission might be limited to what you could smuggle in the car.
It’s easy to get wistful about games that may never happen, and it’s far simpler to dream up ideas than it is to implement them, but by all accounts the Yottagame team was ecstatic about Rhapsody. Even today, when people discuss the project, they sound fired up about how cool it might have been.
Throughout 2017, a few pivotal things happened. In the spring, Christoph Hartmann left Yottagame. Yottagame made some leadership changes and hired some new people to run the design department. Over the summer, the studio put two small teams to work on “incubator” projects that were designed to explore new ideas and technology. (One of those projects was later canceled.) Eventually, Rhapsody changed.
During early production on any video game, especially a new IP, it’s common for the developers to make frequent changes as they try to figure out what their game will actually look like. What that meant for Rhapsodywas a massive overhaul, one that ditched the subterfuge entirely.
One of Rhapsody’s proposed mechanics had involved musical cues. Part of the main character’s backstory involved the piano that his parents had bought for him as a child, and one core idea was that the game’s “detective mode” would be triggered by listening to music. At some point, according to everyone I spoke to who was there, Yottagame’s management decided to extract that idea and make it the focus of their game.
Visit Mafia City official site to know more about this game. In addition, the Chinese version of the game (黑道風雲) also has been online.