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"I think I've lived long enough to see competitive Counter-Strike as we know it, kill itself." Summary of Richard Lewis' stream (Long)
I want to preface that the contents of this post is for informational purposes. I do not condone or approve of any harassments or witch-hunting or the attacking of anybody.
Richard Lewis recently did a stream talking about the terrible state of CS esports and I thought it was an important stream anyone who cares about the CS community should listen to. Vod Link here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/830415547 I realize it is 3 hours long so I took it upon myself to create a list of interesting points from the stream so you don't have to listen to the whole thing, although I still encourage you to do so if you can. I know this post is still long but probably easier to digest, especially in parts. Here is a link to my raw notes if you for some reason want to read through this which includes some omitted stuff. It's in chronological order of things said in the stream and has some time stamps. https://pastebin.com/6QWTLr8T
"The last month has convinced me, that we are going to be heading into a dark place for Counter-Strike esports in 2021."
"I think I've seen the scene essentially kill itself."
"For the past 5 to 6 years, we've basically been in a holding pattern of people coming into our game wanting to run it, wanting to run all of the esports and wanting to profiteer and its been sort of a concerted effort to drive them off and push them away."
"We're spread way too thin."
"If Riot don't get involved and stop the scumbags that have moved over to Valorant from getting their feet under the table, Valorant is going to have real problems."
RL thinks too much has happened all at once for us to do anything except watch it play out, like:
Recent CSPPA strike against BLAST
ESIC failures and them not being supported enough
Teams cheating i.e. coaches/bugs
Widespread match fixing
"People who try to hold bubble events are so incompetent and fuck up and people get the 'rona and its their fault."
"People who say Flashpoint is a bubble is full of shit and is a lie and people are now suffering for that lie."
"To save money they let people go home and break the bubble for a week."
"Not just Flashpoint peoples decision, they have a partner that handles the production." (hinting FACEIT)
"People are trapped in hotels essentially under house arrest because of COVID restrictions and has fucked peoples lives up."
"It's all too much, all of this incompetence, all of this greed, maybe we ride it out."
RL says he has talked to the Riot devs (the ones working on Valorant) and says, "They are so cognizant of all the fuck ups and all the problems we have in Counter-Strike."
He continues to say that this is factored into their business plan and that we never had a competitor, but just so happens to have one coincide, when we are at our worst.
CSPPA - Counter-Strike Professional Players' Association
"Who does this union really fucking serve?"
RL believes that the CSPPA is a mockery.
He points out the hypocrisy that they wouldn't strike for the pros who were kicked out of ESL Pro League, or for Jamppi or dream3r.
He also says ESL paid CSPPA and are racketeering and many other TOs have to pay them to get their "seal of approval"
He says they would strong-arm TOs saying "well if you don't give us the money, these guys are so we'll just have to commit to playing their event."
Also points out that they will strike against a competitor they are not in agreement with (Flashpoint)
RL: "It's what it says about every other time you haven't done it and it's about every time you don't do it now moving forward." "The issues they've chosen to ignore this year alone are embarrassing."
Then he points out that there was no strike for Valve qualifiers even if we have no major but Jamppi and dream3r can't play in them.
"and Valve have said 'Oh yeah we know actually their stories are accurate, Jamppi didn't cheat, now in a legally binding document. Yep dream3r did have his account hacked in a LAN café', but they still can't play. Where is the fucking solidarity? Gone. Doesn't exist. It's not important [because] it doesn't affect you." "That's what the union does right now, it looks after all the tier 1 people."
He says the CSPPA doesn't represent all players all the time and has driven a divide where you have the haves and have-nots
"We have a tier of players that operate with impunity and do not help their tier 2 or tier 3 players out at all." "If you are not a tier 1 player you do not matter, they don't event ask your opinion."
He tells chrisJ to admit and own the fact that the reason he didn't speak up during the ESL Pro League debacle is because it didn't affect him
"They are looking after some players at the expense of other players. How the fuck is that a union?"
He says the BLAST situation is a reasonable dispute and supports the players but is not the right time for a strike and have not even identified the correct enemy
He thinks players are lashing out now due to previous incidents and are upset that BLAST are working with ESIC
He stated that CSPPA shouldn't beefing with ESIC and they should be working in harmony
He says what they need to do is talk with the teams/organizations that have sold that right to BLAST
RL: "Your employers, the people who pay you that massive exorbitant salaries, when you don't stream and you don't do interviews and you offer no value beyond your ability to click heads and you get 25k dollars a month." "Why don't you talk to them about it? Oh right. You're happy to take away BLAST's paper, but you don't want to risk your own."
"I am seeing such unbelievable cowardice from the players here with the battles you choose."
"Where was the strike action when in the qualifiers for the world championship, there were teams and players engaged in huge conflicts of interest?" "Where was the strike action when your image rights were taken and sold to every league you've ever been in every union type organization you've ever been associated with like, WESA, to your org every time you sign a contract, to the leagues you play in."
"Your image rights are essentially worthless now, there's about 10 fucking separate parties that have them, and how many of them are giving you anything for it? Not much pretty much your org by the way."
"That's a big issue. Your image is you, your image is your brand. What are you doing about that? Nothing."
He is also angry at SirScoots who is "popping off" at people on Twitter who all want the same thing, which is 'A unified Counter-Strike scene for everybody, that works for everybody, that has a sustained ecosystem that nourishes everybody.' "We don't have that now."
He also says their rankings are a joke
"Just so happened, oh look TACO, that very important prominent member of the board, we pushed his team artificially up when they weren't even in the fucking top 20, not by a long shot."
He also says the ineptitude of the CSPPA cost Flashpoint a monitor sponsor
"Is it really a player association or is it like a fucking agency at this point"
ESIC - Esports Integrity Commission
"They have been put in an impossible position."
RL says that Ian Smith, the founder of ESIC and who was done work in mainstream sports, is a good and honorable man who has dedicated his life to integrity and sports. He takes on both sides, ensuring match fixers are punished, but also doing appeals and ensuring those punishments were fair.
"ESIC is a tiny organization" and are in need of money, "They didn't run a grift like the CSPPA did."
"Saying 'you want our support and you want the players to turn up you better pay us.' They don't do that."
"Had startup seed money from MTG and since then they've been pecking shit with the hens."
Ian Smith made sure that the money given by MTG (Modern Times Group, parent company of ESL, ESEA, DreamHack) was nothing more than startup money and wouldn't be in debt to them
Ian Smith sat down with other TO's not part of MTG and wanted to partner with them. They declined and called ESIC "ESL spies and we will never align ourselves with you"
"They only were just able to afford, hiring a PR guy on a full time salary to deal with the press and send out those releases you've seen, this year."
"They have a tiny group of staff investigating these things and they have taken on the biggest problems in our scene: the cheating, the match fixing."
ESIC have had "unprecedented levels of cheating to deal with, because there's something wrong with our scene ever since we went online. There's something wrong with it, everyone's lost their fucking pride and self-respect and they got no passion for it anymore, so they think fuck it, what's in it for me?"
He calls out coaches who are talking about players rights when they would rob and steal from them.
Also says more coaches being banned are coming
He also points out flaws in community's reaction to the punishments to coaches bans: "Half of the cunts still have jobs and some of the cunts got new jobs. We didn't even shun the cheating coaches."
ESIC have "found I think another 2 or 3 exploits like that one and they are investigating them all right now, it's going on right now."
"I know that there are going to be more names getting banned, again."
"So they're doing that on a skeleton crew while, investigating 3 continents worth of match fixing in MDL and semi-pro level CS." "They're doing this with half a dozen people." "They don't have any money or any help. People barely even fucking cooperate with them, they are treated like pariahs. It's ridiculous."
"Why are the CSPPA popping off at ESIC on my Twitter timeline, when you should be working together." "because its all about what's in it in for me." "2020, the online era of CS: 'What is in it for me?' How can I cheat, how can I get my paper, how can I bleed this scene one last time before I fuck off and play shooty shooty bang bang Riot Games babys first fps."
RL says that in the CIS region, teams have gone to tournaments and have been eliminated multiple times by the same team. We found out they were cheating and those players who lost, have been cut from their roster, careers ended because of cheaters.
"They're all at it in the online era, they're all at it, they're all cheating, they're all using exploits, probably that see through smoke bug got used a bunch of times"
RL talks about how there is no integrity from dead (the player), always denying when caught doing something
On the topic of 'BLAST never said we couldn't stream snipe': "Lies, BLAST never said you could do that, they had to sort of retcon it." "because what happened after that they fucking started snitching and squealing"
"Suddenly you had like, 10 of the top 15 teams in the world, staring into the abyss of being banned for 6-12 months in line with ESIC recommendations."
He says that ESIC was put in a tough situation and couldn't enforce the bans because it would have resulted in killing CS. What resulted was, BLAST, ESIC, and teams came together and gave them a warning and told them, in RL's words "don't do this again or you're gonna get got."
He then says the top teams brushed this off and didn't give a fuck
The new MiBR team playing Flashpoint, that wasn't involved in the previous incidents are doing it again (stream sniping). He gave credit to Flashpoint for the quick resolution and punishment and respect for cogu's response to the situation.
"ESIC came out and said, once more, 'Guys, zero tolerance from now on.'" RL then got upset at community's reaction calling ESIC "pussies" for their non enforcement and said if we want competitive CS we cant ban the top 10 teams.
He points out how players have no integrity and will do anything for an edge as long as they won't get detected or banned or it's within a grey area.
"All of this shit was mad avoidable, even in the pandemic era."
He talks about why aren't we filming them. Why aren't there representatives for leagues and tournaments making sure players aren't cheating?
"How many years have we let our scene be fucking pillaged by these greedy cunts?" "We just let it happen."
RL says that gambling and skins betting which existed in moderation was "accelerated and blown up by the Call of Duty greedy fucks."
"Never forget TmarTn was on the board of EnVyUs." "His website, CSGOLotto, they had a bunch of off-the-books sponsorships." "NBK promoted them. People forget."
"Those people who had access to the skins, go to the players" "Even people like s1mple, best player in the world, even he scammed knives and skins off fucking fans."
Owners of skin casino sites would approach pros and lend them skins to use in tournaments and possibly keep them after reaching a deal
Players would tip off inside info about matches and teams in exchange for skins. Info such as: roster changes, how they played in scrims
They would use this info to bet and subvert the odds on their sites. "That happened religiously, I can't even tell you how many times it happened."
"I had access to the biggest database of information, from an inside betting circle in NA, and it would take information and screenshots from other pro players, who were feeding them info in exchange for money or skins."
"Some of these players are still playing." "Incredibly, there are players still in the CSPPA today, complaining about the BLAST recordings, that were embroiled in this murky shit back then."
RL also says that there were tournaments where teams contrived with each other, who should throw, who should win.
"There's a handful of people that are trying to fucking clean it up, and you think you get something over the line and you see something like the CSPPA and it's run by corrupt fucking chuckle heads, and now you've got another corrupt body you have to fight on a fucking daily basis, it's demoralizing."
"It's too far gone. Our entire semi-professional scene is compromised."
"It's rife guys, I'm not going to lie any more. It's not just China, it's not just Russia, it's here, it's NA, it's Europe, it's Australia, so much more than you think, so much more than we can prove."
"I get sent chat logs all the time […] and they're morons, these players, short-sighted, amateur, morons and they're doing it on WhatsApp." People would get cut from the bets because they want to make more money, then they leak the logs. He says, from the chat logs, they spread "little" bets across every site they can (400 to 1k dollars) to prevent shifting odds
He says the scumbags who've fucked off to Valorant will do the same there if Riot doesn't do something and says Valorant "is an esports scene heading for a very early fall based on the sheer volume of scumbags that are already there."
"That's tier 2 CS in a nutshell these days. They know they're never going to play in a major, so what's the punishment?"
"All of these tier 2 fucks that are fixing games now they are like the fucking mafia compared to iBuyPower" "These guys are working with organized criminals to fix entire seasons worth of games. That's what's going on in your tier 2 CS."
"I'm literally being told that there are players fixing games at all levels of Chinese esports and motherfuckers with guns are turning up to team houses and stuff."
"Everyone in NA has left we've lost a continents worth of support during this pandemic and Valve haven't said a fucking word."
RL says the Call of Duty "goblins" that destroyed CS for years are the same people who are now trying to leave CS. "The nerve to treat a game where the fans, and the community, and the TO's were nothing but good to you." "To just kick the players out now and go and leave and say 'It just doesn't make financial sense.' Oh you'll slither back when we have a major though for them stickers won't you."
There's a cascading effect in NA where people don't bother with CS anymore and people like Chaos suffer.
He says NA team owners are incompetent for always wanting it easy and always wanting a guarantee on their investment without skill or nuance.
RL says he would be able to market a team correctly and would have a good ROI and also points out how TSM wouldn't even be bothered to tweet that their team, which was one of the best in the world, was playing at the Major.
He also says not all NA owners are like that, compliments and respects Jason Lake who nearly lost everything to keep Complexity going.
He then calls out the incompetence in Infinite Esports when they acquired OpTic Gaming and bought an Indian CS team.
He says HECZ is not to blame here and that they couldn't tell forsaken was cheating when it was so obvious.
They measured his reaction time to the likes of dev1ce and s1mple
When an enemy showed up on his screen he won that duel something like 44% of the time
"was like the number 1 player in the world statistically"
He brought a laptop to their bootcamp and refused to use the high end PCs that hey provided
He respects Andy Miller (NRG CEO) and HECZ but says that the attitude of not being able to easily monetize their teams is "piss weak" and there needs to be a risk.
He says Chaos EC shouldn't be cutting their roster and should be competent enough to be able to figure out how to make money off their team.
He says there are still opportunities in NA and people are panicking and pulling out, and says Valorant will be the same if not worse.
He also says "bums" who couldn't even get out of groups in NA competitions, are making crazy money in Valorant and says it will continue to inflate.
He also said that he heard rumors that EG (Evil Geniuses) are done.
He also thinks that the rumors of a Valve franchised league from before was sparked up from "these lazy fabled weak NA fucking team owners basically trying to see if Valve would bite at the hook if it was dangled and they didn't"
Slasher says NA team owners are really in favor of franchised leagues because they want to make more money. "Most of the powerful team owners right now are on board with ditching this third party organization structure, or they are trying to play this power politics with all the TOs, and that is contributing to a lot of the problems there"
RL says that Riot has proved they can run a franchised league (LCS) and will be profitable in 2021 which is what a lot of team owners care about and says the competition will only serve to snatch people away from CS.
RL continues to say, "I am so sick and tired of what we have done to this scene, I am just exhausted with it." "I think we have legitimately fucked it, I really think we have. I think we're staring into almost like a CGS (Championship Gaming Series) wasteland in NA." "Counter-Strike esports is a fucking joke."
"TO's have treated CS talent like absolute human garbage for years now."
RL says that people like Sean Gares and ddk switching over to Valorant isn't for financial reasons because they are making less over there.
He points out that TO's can't even give talent a 3 month in advance calendar.
Because of the pandemic TO's won't hire certain people and some people are working more hours for the same money.
He says we as a community don't respect journalists enough which is why we don't have good journalists.
He also says DeKay is leaving the scene soon and that Thorin is close to leaving also
He says he had to talk a caster down from quitting and was struggling to find reasons.
He says that DreamHack told Vince they would hire him but not if he wants to stick with dusT and says that this is the norm in esports. "Constant leveraging of people against each other." and says this is why we don't have a talent union.
New gen casters are getting put into shit situations and the community's reaction to them is adding fuel to the fire
He says the reason Moses left was because of the terrible conditions
He says that Anders had to constantly leave his family and kid because someone fucked up or broke promises and had to constantly tell his kid to their face that "daddy can't be home this weekend."
He says that esports has always been a lie to sell you this dream, "Meanwhile there's about 2% of the cunts getting all the checks."
"Anything that Riot does, is better than Valve's inaction"
Slasher says that the larger aspect of esports as a whole compared to other entertainment mediums and Valve's lack of inattention are the bigger problems. He continues saying that the fact that Valve let their game be ran as an esport, they need to take on the responsibilities of it.
Both Slasher and RL wants Valve to take control but not on the level of Riot Games, there needs to be a balance.
In case it was ever a question: Gabe Newell has been to 0 CSGO Majors.
RL calls Valve out saying they could have done something during the gambling era.
He says Valve used to come to the majors, but doesn't think they do anymore.
RL had met with Valve at the Cluj-Napoca Major and had tried to appeal iBP's indefinite punishment and had also gave Brax's life story:
A recent family member passed away, they had lost a lot of income, they had to live in trailer, iBuyPower did not pay any salaries, and was pressured by family to make money who didn't support his career.
RL said that Valve told him, "How dare you try and make us feel guilty." "We shouldn't feel bad about enforcing the only thing that matters that we need to make players afraid of: cheating and match fixing"
RL also tried to share other info about match fixing and nothing came of it
RL points out that Source 2 or a new engine is not something you will want based on the experience of transitioning from CS 1.6 to CS:S. "Valve's track record with brand new engines being launched, not fucking great from what I remember."
Slasher says "If there is anything the community should do, is pressure Valve to hire a community manager."
They say that we need a commissioner, a community manager (not the person who runs the Twitter who posts memes all day), then we need to have a circuit
RL reiterates that Valve doesn't care about CS esports and says they need to change the culture at Valve to make them care about CS esports
Slasher says a systemic problem is making it so working on CSGO would be a bad decision for you as an employee for Valve
He also hasn't talked to Valve in ages and have sent over bugs and cheats and doesn't get emails back anymore
Slasher says we should be directing attention at the developer leads, pointing out Ido Magal, if he even is still the project lead
RL thinks that Ido and Brian are the only people that "vaguely even give a fuck about CS" and were the only people that RL recalled that actually read Reddit and paid attention from time to time
"It is really fucking precarious. Somebody has got to step the fuck up and start giving a shit"
Slasher suggests org owners, with CSPPA, with ESIC, with TOs have a concerted effort against Valve
"Riot Games are doing better things than Valve in the esports space" which is something RL didn't think he'd say.
"People who used to be talent, working with unions, arguing with other talent, when the unions fucked them over, can't understand their perspective, TOs fucking over broadcast talent, broadcast talent wanting to leave and go and work for orgs, orgs having no money, Valve might take coaches away because all the coaches are cheating, ESIC has about 4 people in a fucking call doing the investigations, everyone thinks they're spies for ESL, ESL are just the evil fucking overlords wanting to rule the scene and will just somehow, like cockroaches outliving a nuclear bomb, and Valve are in a fucking holiday in Hawaii thinking about the next Dota character because they don't give a fuck about us."
"We've peaked. If we want to sustain and exist, now is the time to figure it out. No esports lasts as long as this, we've already done 8 years. We've already broke the records. We have got to figure out a way to coexist and drive the negative forces out and we need to do it as a collective and we're not doing that."
RL compared the Counter-Strike scene to the people on the Titanic who ran around with guns robbing people while the boat was sinking.
"We have given up on being a respectable esports scene." "We are now a conduit to make money for those who want to just milk it, just have one last ride, one last roll of the dice. It's done." "What a fucking mess. What have we done to our fucking scene?"
"There's just too much self-interest driving all of this." "I don't see a way we stop the dominoes." "When it's that bad, when there's that many dishonest people that ESIC have to come out and say that if we punish them all there's no one left. What does that tell you?"
"How many opportunities have we had to clean house? How many times have we said, 'this must never happen again', and another scandal." "The entire skins betting operations was the biggest criminal conspiracy in esports ever executed and no one has been punished for it." "The people who could be driving that don't want to."
"Right now people are fans of those organizations because the scene has value. It is worth being a fan of Astralis because they are excellent at Counter-Strike. It is worth being a fan of s1mple because he is the best player in Counter-Strike, maybe the exception of ZywOo. If the scene is devalued, if the scene loses its meaning, those things lose its meaning too, and people will leave, people will stop tuning into the games. I have seen it happen in multiple esports, this is not my first time at the rodeo. I am getting big Brood War vibes right now and I don't like it."
"The role you play in all of this as fans, as viewers, as listeners, as consumers of esports content, it's absolutely imperative that you know who the good guys are. It's absolutely imperative that you use your voice. It's absolutely imperative that when things are bad, you know who, at least, is trying to make them good, and you have to apply your criticism to the right targets."
He continues saying it's no good in continuing to attack ESIC and saying how they are bad, ESIC have it hard
He says CSPPA are on the right side of the argument on BLAST but have been on the wrong side of many arguments many times.
"If you are not willing to stand along side the weakest member of the union, with the least amount of influence, and the least amount of power, then it is not a union at all and you shouldn't pose as one." "You wanna serve a bunch of special interest do it, everyone else in esports fucking does, but do not pose as something you are not." "We love the players. I've been fighting for players rights for as long as I've been able to, but the CSPPA is not what we needed."
"They are not applying the pressure to the right people, they are not fighting the right battles, they are not helping their weaker members."
He says what orgs have done by keeping or hiring coaches is bad. "When you give up on holding an appreciable standard, you've lost the scene" "Competition matters, rules matter, punishments matter, achievements matter, excellence matters" "If you start stripping that away, you have nothing" "You guys need to take that knowledge and apply it sensibly."
"Valve has sold you all down the river, they sold everyone in the esports scene down the river, tournament organizers are selling their talent down the river. Don't hate on them for sounding tired after a 16 hour day. Don't hate on them because the hype for a matchup they've seen for the 20th time in the past 3 months, they can't be as excited or it sounds contrived. Support your guys, they're there for you, these are your people."
"This community has got to start acting like one for the first fucking time. Just put the petty shit away, let's try and fix this fucking scene while we still have one to save."
"You can't rely on Valve, you can't rely on ESL, you can't rely on the CSPPA, you can't rely on anyone." "Once again, it's gonna be the likes of us, the amateurs, the people who give a fuck, rolling up our sleeves and grafting." "I'm old and tired and I don't want to have to do it again. People need to pick up the torch and do it."
"Like Michal did, like Dudenhoeffer did. You see something wrong, fix it. You see somebody doing something wrong, call it out. If you think something could be better, let people know."
"Vote with your wallets if you're not happy with the direction Valve goes in. If when we do get to the Major, they serve up another subpar, same old bullshit stickers and signatures package again, do not buy it."
"You're a powerful block and if you use it correctly we can fucking avert this disaster."
"I'm not doing another year in this broken, bust-up fucking scene, where everyone is miserable, everyone is broke, everyone is tired, and everyone is trying to fucking rob everyone else, blind, while the fucking people who are meant to be protecting you, are just fucking enhancing it and lining their own pockets."
"I'm not doing it anymore and you shouldn't want to do it either."
"I stand by every fucking thing I said. I mean it, because this game fucking matters to me, this scene fucking matters to me. I put my life into this, my adult life, and to see it in this state is fucking sad."
[US Promotion] I would like to celebrate Thanksgiving by gifting you all books!
UPDATE: More books added by siffis and West1234567890 further down If are late coming across this post then do not worry you can still message me your email for a book. To celebrate my day off today and Thanksgiving tomorrow I would like to gift my audiobooks. In order to recieve a free audiobook gift just message me any title (below) along with your email address. If you have not recieved a gift before then you will get the audiobook for free. More details here and here. I am in the US market (but I hear from Canada and UK that it still works). Books crossed out are not available. TITLE - AUTHOR (Ordered by author)
21 Days of Meditation - Aaptiv
5K Training - Aaptiv
What Happens Next? Conversations from MARS - Adam Savage
You Ought to Know Adam Wade - Adam Wade
The Fall of Carthage: The Punic Wars 265-146BC - Adrian Goldsworthy
Children of Time - Adrian Tchaikovsky
Andrea Vernon and the Corporation for UltraHuman Protection - Alexander C. Kane
The Ten Thousand Doors of January - Alix E. Harrow
The Story of Dr. Seuss: Theodore, Ted, Geisel Who? The Story of How Dr. Seuss Grew. - Amba Brown
You Have Arrived at Your Destination: Forward - Amor Towles
A Massacre in Mexico: The True Story Behind the Missing 43 Students - Anabel Hernandez , John Washington - translator
How to Defeat a Demon King in Ten Easy Steps - Andrew Rowe
Randomize: Forward - Andy Weir
Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook - Anthony Bourdain
Chaos Monkeys - Revised Edition: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley - Antonio Garcia Martinez
Goodnight Smartphone - Arianna Huffington
Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle , Stephen Fry - introductions
Viva Durant and the Secret of the Silver Buttons - Ashli St. Armant
The Home Front: Life in America During World War II - Dan Gediman , Martha C. Little
Cut and Run: A Light-Hearted Dark Comedy - Ben Acker , Ben Blacker
A Grown-Up Guide to Dinosaurs: An Audible Original - Ben Garrod
The Tao of Pooh - Benjamin Hoff
Finding Tess: A Mother’s Search for Answers in a Dopesick America - Beth Macy
Bill Bryson's Appliance of Science - Bill Bryson
The Lost Continent: Travels In Small Town America - Bill Bryson
Billy Kelly: This Is a Family Show! - Billy Kelly
The History of Ancient Egypt - Bob Brier]
Rage - Bob Woodward
Starsight - Brandon Sanderson
Skyward - Brandon Sanderson
Beezer - Brandon T. Snider
The Book on Rental Property Investing: How to Create Wealth and Passive Income Through Smart Buy & Hold Real Estate Investing - Brandon Turner
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are - Brené Brown
Algorithms to Live The Computer Science of Human Decisions - Brian Christian , Tom Griffiths
That Hideous Strength: Ransom Trilogy, Book 3 - C.S. Lewis
Perelandra: Ransom Trilogy, Book 2 - C.S. Lewis
Cosmos: A Personal Voyage - Carl Sagan
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark - Carl Sagan
Life Ever After - Carla Grauls
Everything is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity - Carlo Rovelli , Simon Carnell - translator , Erica Segre - translator
How to Build Meaningful Relationships Through Conversation - Carol Ann Lloyd]
El Norte: The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America - Carrie Gibson
The Flying Flamingo Sisters - Carrie Seim
Press Pause: A Young Person's Guide to Managing Life's Challenges - Catherine Singer
Cesar Millan's Guide to Bringing Home a Shelter Dog - Cesar Millan
Cesar Millan's Guide to Audiobooks for Dogs - Cesar Millan
The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder - Charles Graeber
Second Skin: Audible Original Novella - Christian White
Eldest: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 2 - Christopher Paolini
The Space Race: An Audible Original - Colin Brake , Patrick Chapman , Richard Hollingham , Richard Kurti , Sue Nelson , Helen Quigley , Andrew Mark Sewell
Bluebird Memories: A Journey Through Lyrics & Life - Common , Awoye Timpo , NSangou Njikam
Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle to Save the Florida Panther - Craig Pittman
The Dead Drink First - Dale Maharidge
House of Teeth - Dan Jolley
Dan Rather: Stories of a Lifetime - Dan Rather
How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States - Daniel Immerwahr
The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition - Daniel N. Robinson]
My Lost Family: An Audible Original - Danny Ben-Moshe , Dasha Lisitsina
Body of Proof: An Audible Original - Darrell Brown , Sophie Ellis
Sum: Tales from the Afterlives - David Eagleman
Exploring Metaphysics - David K. Johnson]
Alone with the Stars - David R. Gillham
The Pragmatic Programmer: 20th Anniversary Edition, 2nd Edition: Your Journey to Mastery - David Thomas , Andrew Hunt
The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II - Denise Kiernan
Heaven's River: Bobiverse, Book 4 - Dennis E. Taylor
All These Worlds: Bobiverse, Book 3 - Dennis E. Taylor
For We Are Many: Bobiverse, Book 2 - Dennis E. Taylor
We Are Legion (We Are Bob): Bobiverse, Book 1 - Dennis E. Taylor
Metro 2033 - Dmitry Glukhovsky
The Theory of Everything: The Quest to Explain All Reality - Don Lincoln]
Mostly Harmless - Douglas Adams
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Book 2 - Douglas Adams
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish - Douglas Adams
Life, the Universe, and Everything: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Book 3 - Douglas Adams
The Case of the Damaged Detective: 5-Minute Sherlock, Book 1 - Drew Hayes
Forging Hephaestus: Villains' Code Series, Book 1 - Drew Hayes
I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life - Ed Yong
Mythology - Edith Hamilton
Musashi - Eiji Yoshikawa , Charles S. Terry - translator
Hunting LeRoux: The Inside Story of the DEA Takedown of a Criminal Genius and His Empire - Elaine Shannon
The Science of Sci-Fi: From Warp Speed to Interstellar Travel - Erin Macdonald]
Junkyard Cats: Shining Smith, Book 1 - Faith Hunter
The Golden Orchard - Flora Ahn
The 3-Day Effect - Florence Williams
Catch Me If You Can - Frank W. Abagnale , Stan Redding
The Panama Papers: How the World's Rich and Powerful Hide Their Money - Frederik Obermaier , Bastian Obermayer
The American Civil War - Gary W. Gallagher]
Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond - Gene Kranz
The Creative Thinker's Toolkit - Gerard Puccio]
Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organ - Giulia Enders
Burr: A Novel (Narratives of Empire, Book 1) - Gore Vidal
The Getaway - Greer Hendricks , Sarah Pekkanen
The Minuteman - Greg Donahue
Failure Is an Option: An Attempted Memoir - H. Jon Benjamin
The Beautiful Brain: An Audible Original - Hana Walker-Brown
A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor: A Novel - Hank Green
Bella Bella - Harvey Fierstein
The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country - Helen Russell
The Iliad: A New Translation by Caroline Alexander - Homer , Caroline Alexander - translator
H.P. Lovecraft: The Complete Omnibus Collection, Volume I: 1917-1926 - Howard Phillips Lovecraft , Finn J.D. John
Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga - Hunter S. Thompson
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Hunter S. Thompson
Casino Royale: James Bond, Book 1 - Ian Fleming
I, Robot - Isaac Asimov
Malcolm and Me - Ishmael Reed
Peter Pan: An Audible Original Drama - J. M. Barrie
Tell Me Lies - J. P. Pomare
The Return of the King: Book Three in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Fellowship of the Ring: Book One in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Children of Hurin - J. R. R. Tolkien
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Book 2 - J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Book 1 - J.K. Rowling
The Tales of Beedle the Bard - J.K. Rowling
The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over - Jack Schafer PhD , Ph.D. Marvin Karlins Ph.D.
Midnight Son - James Dommek Jr. , Josephine Holtzman , Isaac Kestenbaum
The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey - James Lecesne
Break Shot: My First 21 Years: James Taylor - James Taylor
Forget Nothing - Jason Anspach , Michelle C. Meyers
The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine who Outwitted America's Enemies - Jason Fagone
Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple - Jeff Guinn
1066: The Year That Changed Everything - Jennifer Paxton]
Flux - Jeremy Robinson
Space Force - Jeremy Robinson
Infinite - Jeremy Robinson
When You Finish Saving the World - Jesse Eisenberg
The Mystwick School of Musicraft - Jessica Khoury
Call Me God: The Untold Story of the DC Sniper Investigation - Jim Clemente , Tim Clemente , Peter McDonnell
The Wisdom of Wolves: Lessons from the Sawtooth Pack - Jim Dutcher , Jamie Dutcher , James Manfull - contributor , Marc Bekoff - foreword PhD
Escape from Virtual Island: An Audio Comedy - John Lutz
The Men Who Stare at Goats - Jon Ronson
So You've Been Publicly Shamed - Jon Ronson
Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie - Jon Ronson
438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea - Jonathan Franklin
Carmilla - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Stuff You Should Know: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things - Josh Clark , Chuck Bryant
Vroom Vroom - Josh Koenigsberg
King of Sting: The Story of Australian Conman Peter Foster: An Audible Original - Justin Armsden , Bronwen Reid , Hamish Macdonald
American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer - Kai Bird , Martin J. Sherwin
You Can Thank Me Later: A Novella - Kelly Harms
The Vikings - Kenneth W. Harl]
Building a Better Vocabulary - Kevin Flanigan]
More Bedtime Stories for Cynics - Kirsten Kearse , Gretchen Enders , Aparna Nancherla , Cirocco Dunlap , Dave Hill
The Math of Life and Death - Kit Yates
Oz. The Complete Collection - L. Frank Baum
A Murder of Manatees: The Further Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent - Larry Correia
The Half-Life of Marie Curie - Lauren Gunderson
Interview with the Robot - Lee Bacon
The Messengers - Lindsay Joelle
African-American Athletes Who Made History - Louis Moore]
The Real Sherlock: An Audible Original - Lucinda Hawksley
The Devil's Highway: A True Story - Luis Alberto Urrea
It Burns: The Scandal-Plagued Race to Breed the World’s Hottest Chilli, An Audible Original - Marc Fennell
Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla: Biography of a Genius - Marc J. Seifer
The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition - Margaret Atwood , Valerie Martin - essay
Buried Deep - Margot Hunt
Black Hawk Down - Mark Bowden
How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It - Mark Cuban
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
Tinaca Jones - Matt Boren
Phreaks - Matthew Derby
Pont Neuf - Max Byrd
Find Another Dream - Maysoon Zayid
One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War - Michael Dobbs
The Entrepreneur's Toolkit - Michael Goldsby]
The Fifth Risk - Michael Lewis
Dear Reader: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Kim Jong Il - Michael Malice
Caffeine: How Caffeine Created the Modern World - Michael Pollan
I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer - Michelle McNamara
Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 - Michio Kaku
The New One: Painfully True Stories from a Reluctant Dad - Mike Birbiglia , J. Hope Stein
Even Tree Nymphs Get the Blues - Molly Harper
Motivational Runs: 3 audio-guided run stories and 6 audio-guided Olympic Interval runs - MoveWith
Half Marathon Training Part 2: To the Finish Line: 6 week training plan with 22 audio-guided runs - MoveWith
Half Marathon Training Part 1: Build Up Your Pace + Endurance: 6 week training plan with 22 audio-guided runs - MoveWith
Emergency Skin: Forward - N. K. Jemisin
Silverswift - Natalie Lloyd
The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail - but Some Don't - Nate Silver
Good Omens - Neil Gaiman , Terry Pratchett
Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society - Nicholas A. Christakis
American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road - Nick Bilton
Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies - Nick Bostrom
Based on a True Story: A Memoir - Norm Macdonald
Leven Thumps and the Eyes of the Want: Leven Thumps, #3 - Obert Skye
Leven Thumps and the Wrath of Ezra: Leven Thumps, #4 - Obert Skye
Leven Thumps and the Ruins of Alder: Leven Thumps, #5 - Obert Skye
Adulthood Rites: Xenogenesis, Book 2 - Octavia E. Butler
Dawn: Xenogenesis, Book 1 - Octavia E. Butler
Wild Seed - Octavia E. Butler
Kindred - Octavia E. Butler
The Life and Times of Prince Albert - Patrick Allitt]
The Name of the Wind: Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 1 - Patrick Rothfuss
Thinking about Cybersecurity: From Cyber Crime to Cyber Warfare - Paul Rosenzweig]
Into the Water: A Novel - Paula Hawkins
The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions - Peter Brannen
Terminus - Peter Clines
The Fold - Peter Clines
14 - Peter Clines
Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness - Peter Godfrey-Smith
Norco '80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History - Peter Houlahan
Harry Potter: A History of Magic: An Audio Documentary - Pottermore Publishing , Ben Davies
How the Stock Market Works - Ramon P. DeGennaro]
How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems - Randall Munroe
The October Country - Ray Bradbury
The Selfish Gene - Richard Dawkins
The Making of the Atomic Bomb: 25th Anniversary Edition - Richard Rhodes
The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World - Robert Garland]
Treasure Island: An Audible Original Drama - Robert Louis Stevenson , Marty Ross - adaptation
Swan Song - Robert R. McCammon
The Mueller Report: The Findings of the Special Counsel Investigation - Robert S. Mueller III , Special Counsel's Office U.S. Department of Justice
Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators - Ronan Farrow
Once More upon a Time: A Novella - Roshani Chokshi
Bind, Torture, Kill: The Inside Story of BTK, the Serial Killer Next Door - Roy Wenzl , Tim Potter , L. Kelly , Hurst Laviana
Elizabeth II: Life of a Monarch: An Audible Original - Ruth Cowen
The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements - Sam Kean
Bad Luck Charlie: The Dragon Mage, Book 1 - Scott Baron
Rivals! Frenemies Who Changed the World - Scott McCormick
Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are - Seth Stephens-Davidowitz , Steven Pinker - foreword
Sea Wall / A Life - Simon Stephens , Nick Payne
Carnival Row: Tangle in the Dark - Stephanie K. Smith
D-Day: June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of WW II - Stephen E. Ambrose
The Stand - Stephen King
The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World - Steve Brusatte
Foreverywhere - Steve Burns , Steven Drozd , Gabe Soria
The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe: How to Know What's Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake - Steven Novella , Bob Novella - contributor , Cara Santa Maria - contributor , Jay Novella - contributor , Evan Bernstein - contributor
Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills - Steven Novella]
The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in "Healthy" Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain - Steven R. Gundry MD
My Dad the Spy - Stewart Copeland
The Age of Living Machines: How the Convergence of Biology and Engineering Will Build the Next Technology Revolution - Susan Hockfield
Guards! Guards! - Terry Pratchett
History's Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach - The Great Courses , Gregory S. Aldrete
Great Mythologies of the World - The Great Courses , Grant L. Voth , Julius H. Bailey , Kathryn McClymond , Robert André LaFleur
This American Life - This American Life
Writing Creative Nonfiction - Tilar J J. Mazzeo]
The Man Who Knew the Way to the Moon - Todd Zwillich
The Hunt for Red October: A Jack Ryan Novel - Tom Clancy
The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts - Tom Farley , Tanner Colby
A Crazy Inheritance: Ghostsitter 1 - Tommy Krappweis
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood - Trevor Noah
Thicker than Water - Tyler Shultz
The Year 1000: When Explorers Connected the World - and Globalization Began - Valerie Hansen
Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders - Vincent Bugliosi , Curt Gentry
SmartLess - Will Arnett Jason Bateman Sean Hayes
Climbing with Mollie - William Finnegan
Alien III: An Audible Original Drama - William Gibson
Gump & Co. - Winston Groom
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
siffis has generously offered to include his collection. If you like any of the books below then message directly.
World War Z: The Complete Edition - Max Brooks
Ready Player One - Ernest Cline
Ready Player Two - Ernest Cline
Halo: Shadows of Reach - Troy Denning
The Sandman - Neil Gaiman
The Ickabog - J.K. Rowling
The Last Tribe - Brad Manuel
Halo Grassland - Karen Traviss
Halo: Mortal Dictata - Karen Traviss
Halo: The Thursday War - Karen Traviss
Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman
Firefly: Big Damn Hero - Jame Lovegrove
After it Happened - Devron C Ford
Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds - Gwenda Bond
Blade Runner - Phillip K Dick
Hell Divers 1
Hell Divers 2: Ghosts
God of War - J.M. Barlog
The Time of Contempt - Andrzej Sapkowski
Blood of Elves - Andrzej Sapkowski
Solar Storms - Nicholas Sansbury
Planetside - Michael Mammay
Season of Storms - Andrzej Sapkowski
Dark Operator - Doc Spears
How to Defeat a Demon King in Ten Easy Steps - Andrew Rowe
Note: The particularly important details and music artist names are in bold text. Licensed music track names are in italics. The year is 1973, five years after the events of the Mafia III, and 22 years since Vito Scaletta’s seen or heard from his old friend Joe Barbaro. The canon ending of Mafia III with this Mafia IV story is Vito taking over the city after Lincoln skipped town, however Cassandra and Burke are left alive and loyal to both Vito and Lincoln still. Burke was able to survive his liver cancer by getting a black market liver transplant in Mexico, like he did in his ending, except with Vito running the city. On Vito and Lincoln’s behalf, Burke and Cassandra agree to stay behind in New Bordeaux and keep the city locked down, incase Leo Galante and the Commission try anything. The beginning cutscene is Vito answering his telephone after getting up in the morning in his new penthouse, on the top floor of the New Bordeaux casino he finished that was once Sal Marcano's, and grabbing a cup of coffee. It's Alma with some urgent news. Lincoln Clay came down to the cigar warehouse to visit her after 5 years of silence, and he has big news. Joe is alive in Empire Bay and has been this entire time. However, as punishment for his actions, he's become Leo Galante's personal driver against his will and is forbidden from contacting Vito ever again, or else him and Vito will be killed. Alma then tells Vito to meet Lincoln at the airport to learn more, as he's already there awaiting Vito's arrival. When they're away from anyone who could listen in on their conversation, Lincoln tells Vito he has a friend named John Donovan he's going to introduce him to, hiding in the outskirts of Empire Bay, ready to help Vito and Lincoln with their new mission Vito gets dressed in one of his signature trench coats with a suit and tie, ready to rain down hell on the Vinci crime family and their allies, and finally be reunited with his lifelong friend he previously thought was dead, Joe Barbaro. Here is my idea for the kill list, all related to the Commission in Empire Bay and their allies.
Leo Galante - Top target on the list, Vinci family consigliere who's in with the Commission and the man you thought put Joe in the ground for the past 22 years. Bury this wrinkly old cocksucker.
Johnny Galante - Vinci family capo and younger relative of Leo's mentioned in Cassandra's ending, possibly Leo's cousin even. John Donovan knows that the two are close, and that Johnny's a valuable asset to Leo's organization. Kill him both to hurt Leo's earn and influence, and to hit him straight in the heart by taking away his family and everyone he loves
Michele Galante Jr. - Another Vinci family capo, and Leo Galante’s youngest brother. Killing Leo’s little brother will both take away one of his most reliable allies, and leave him stricken with grief and enraged, and more prone to making mistakes.
Nunzio Galante - Leo’s seasoned older brother by 3 years, and yet another Vinci family capo. He knows enough about smuggling that he worked out an ingenious plan for smuggling military grade weapons into the city. He pays off corrupt officials at Empire Bay International Airport, to allow guns to be loaded inside the walls and floors of planes, unknown to everyone onboard save for the palms the Galantes and Frank Vinci have greased to cooperate and keep quiet. The time has come to put this crafty old bastard in the ground.
Don Frank Vinci - Frank Vinci is the boss of the Vinci crime family, the family Leo's been a consigliere of for decades, and a lifelong friend of his. Kill Frank, and Leo loses more ground than he could ever imagine, and will be forced to deal with both the loss of his boss, and the loss of his lifelong childhood friend.
Don Ennio Salieri - Longtime close friend of both Frank Vinci and Leo Galante, Don of the Salieri crime family, and a third party Frank and Leo call in to crush Vito's uprising, when it becomes too big of an issue for Vinci alone to handle. Salieri was eventually able to grease enough palms while behind bars to have his life sentence overturned, and he got released from prison on good behavior in 1953, after he served 15 years of his sentence. He’s since relocated to his main operations to Empire Bay, having already had connections and men present there while he was in prison, backed by the Commission and the Vinci crime family. He's seasoned, but he’s nothing Mr. Scaletta can't handle. Give this tired old fuck the gangland ending he's had coming.
Isaac - Isaac is the personal assistant to an influential loan shark named Bruno Levine, who handles the money of the Commission, including the Vinci crime family and the Salieri crime family. He does anything from serve his boss coffee, to count incoming and outgoing money for Bruno. Because of his duties, he's aware of Bruno's location at all times. You’ll need to get to Isaac to get information on his boss out of him, and dispose of him afterwards if you want to get to Bruno.
Bruno Levine - Bruno is a Jewish-American loan shark who kicks up all of his earn to both Frank Vinci and Ennio Salieri, and the Commission in Empire Bay. Killing him kills a lot of earn for the Commission, and they loses a valuable asset. In addition to getting rid of him being practical, to add insult to injury, he gave your father that loan. It's about time to put this asshole out of business.
Mr. Chu & Mr. Chu Jr. - This old man has been leading the Empire Bay Triads with an iron fist since before you were even born. The bastard has a son too, who eventually went on to become his underboss. The Empire Bay Triads became a close ally of the Vinci crime family, the Salieri crime family, and the Commission shortly after Vito killed Don Carlo Falcone in 1951, forming a lucrative partnership with the Commission. Mr. Chu and his eldest son are valuable assets for Leo Galante who give him extra reach. Melt their iron fists and show these two pricks just who they fucked with.
Eddie Scarpa - This cocksucker used to be Carlo Falcone's underboss for as long as you could remember. After you whacked Falcone in the fall of 1951, he decided to throw in with Vinci to save his own skin. He took over the smuggling and dock union extortion that fat fuck Derek Pappalardo used to run. You know all too well how to deal with this sorry fuckin' rat.
I'm thinking Vito and Joe work with Lincoln Clay and John Donovan to split up Empire Bay and distribute territory to three other factions not unlike what Lincoln did with New Bordeaux. This time though, this is a much larger city in a much, much different part of the United States. The empire building mechanics would be a lot smoother, more robust, and streamlined compared to Mafia III. They would work similarly a more modernized version of how the game Scarface: The WorldIs Yours handled it's empire building and management mechanics, minus the whole switching to other characters lower on the ladder to do your bidding. This would be ideal for a story rich organized crime game in my opinion. Here are my ideas for those factions, all close allies of the up and coming Scaletta crime family. The Cuban mob led by Alma Diaz. Vito goes way back with Alma, and she does not hesitate to answer him and Lincoln's calls to save Joe's life and royally fuck both Leo Galante and the Vinci family. Conti crime family, led by Enzo Conti. This Conti crime family formed sometime in late 1968, months after Lincoln helped Enzo flee New Bordeaux and drop off of Sal Marcano's radar. It turns out he fled north to Empire Bay and finally formed his own family, having more than enough years of experience in the underworld to handle the job. Lincoln's tight with him and manages to recruit him to Vito and Joe's cause. The Yakuza, based out of Empire Bay's Japantown. Longtime sworn enemies of the Empire Bay Triads, with bad blood going back decades. They would greatly enjoy seeing Mr. Chu and his son's heads mounted on pikes, along with whacking everyone who's ever supported their organization. You don't know them well, and they're known to be very unpredictable and ruthless. Use these traits to your advantage when taking on the Commission of Empire Bay and their friends. I should mention as expected, this entire 1973 section where you play as Vito is much shorter than Mafia III. Vito's takeover is shown much more quickly over time than Lincoln's, and there's time skips during it, to keep it short and sweet, and to show onscreen only what's important. There is also no option for your underbosses to betray you, as to reduce confusion and keep the story consistently the same each playthrough, like the first two Mafia games. However, unlike Mafia III, after all of these tasks are completed and every single assassination target on Vito’s kill list is dealt with, the game does not end. In fact, it's not even anywhere near close to being over yet. Vito's 1973 section was merely the beginning act. It was really a lead up to an entirely new Mafia story, centering around a newcomer to the American mob. Fast forward two years following Vito’s rampage that led to him taking over Empire Bay and the Commission, in the year 1975 him and Joe now rule Empire Bay, with Vito as the Don of the Scaletta Crime Family, and Joe working as his loyal underboss. You play the rest of the game as a young up and coming soldato named Louis in his 20’s, who’s a rising star in Vito’s organization. Do right by Mr. Scaletta and Mr. Barbaro, understand kid? My basic idea for the character and his backstory is that he's a young Italian-Canadian mobster from Toronto, Ontario, or whatever Mafia's equivalent of it could be called. Let's call him Louis DeAngelo. (No relation to Tommy Angelo) His family hails from Tuscany in Italy and moved to Toronto, Ontario in 1939, shortly after World War II broke out in Europe. Louis DeAngelo was born in July 1952 in Toronto, and was raised in Toronto's Little Italy. Louis fled south to Empire Bay when the feds started cracking down on his old family and put his boss in prison, and he ended up finding a new home with the Scaletta crime family. The first few missions playing as Louis DeAngelo involve shooting your away out of an arrest by a Toronto Police Service SWAT team in Toronto in December 1974, seeing the rest of the members of your old crime family either get arrested or shot in front of you as you make your escape. You spend the next two missions fleeing Ontario through Quebec and upstate New York, before finally arriving in Empire Bay in early 1975, late January to be exact. Winter is in full force with snow everywhere, Louis' arrival to Empire Bay for the first time in his life mirroring Vito's return to Empire Bay in 1945 30 years earlier, except under far different much more dire circumstances. Louis' older brother and his father, both capos in his old crime family in Toronto, are shown to be arrested by the TPS SWAT team in his first mission, the same one that attempted to gun him down when he resisted arrested. Louis knows someone had to have ratted out his old crime family, and he wants to find out who someday. The thing is though, he doesn't just want to kill them. He wants to get out of them why they did it before he kills them. More than anything else, he just wants to find out why his crime family was betrayed and served up to the feds on a silver platter, having most of his biological family sent to prison in the process. He’s out to uncover the mystery of why his family fell apart, and he’s more than willing to help people like Don Vito Scaletta and his underboss Joe Barbaro to eventually get the answers he seeks. I came up with the idea for this character because I figured that playing as a fugitive from the law made sense for the mob life, and I'm surprised we haven't had a fugitive protagonist in the Mafia series yet. In the 1975 chapters while playing as Louis, the Watergate scandal, President Richard Nixon’s resignation, and the official end to the Vietnam War are both discussed on the in-game radio during news segments. In the last 1979 chapter, the beginning of the Soviet-Afghan War is also the subject of a news segment on the radio. The story eventually transitions into the 1980's as years pass, with the scenery, cars, and music changing accordingly, and historical events of the time discussed in the game. By the time the game ends, it's 1992, and significant historical events from the past few years at the time that are covered on the radio in-game include anything from the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Gulf War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, to the 1992 L.A. riots. The rise of the internet and home computers are briefly touched upon during news segments on the in-game radio during the early 1990's section of the story, but not greatly delved into given their relative infancy in that time period. During this entire 1975-1992 stretch of the story, Vito is no longer playable, and Don Scaletta takes a backseat in the story as a main supporting character, similar to Don Salieri throughout Mafia: Definitive Edition. You now play as the Italian-Canadian Scaletta family soldato Louis DeAngelo, who is later promoted to being a capo in 1985. However, unlike Don Salieri, Don Scaletta has much more integrity, and has more genuine loyalty for his men and his associates. If you've beaten Mafia 1 or Mafia: Definitive Edition, you'll know this is something Salieri lacked in the end. The game will include a number of hit music from the 70’s that played on the radio back then, such as Bobby Womack’s Across 110th Street and Tony Christie’s (Is This the Way to) Amarillo, The Grateful Dead's Casey Jones and at least a few songs by the then new American rock band Cheap Trick, as well as popular songs from the 1960’s people still listened to at the time, such as Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs’ Wooly Bully, King Crimson’s 21st Century Schizoid Man,Zager and Evans' In the Year 2525, The Zombies' Time of the Season, and Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made for Walkin'. When you progress through the game, especially after you switch to playing as Louis DeAngelo for the rest of the story, years change, and the music changes. Different songs start playing on the radio, such as Sylvester's You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real),Randy Crawford's Street Life, and The Village People's Y.M.C.A., Cheryl Lynn's Got to Be Real, Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive, and the Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive start playing in the 1979 portion of the game. After you've completed the 1975 section of the game, Foghat's Slow Ride starts playing on the radio. Starting in the 1977 section of the game, Cheap Trick's I Want You to Want Me and Heart's Barracuda start playing on the radio. In the 1980's portion of the game, Thomas Dolby's songs Hyperactive! and She Blinded Me with Science, in addition to Night Ranger's Sister Christian also start playing on the radio. If Hangar 13 can afford the licenses, I also think a few Michael Jackson and Madonna songs should definitely be on the radio during the 1980's portion of the story, given the immense popularity and regular radio airtime those two had in that decade. If this ended up being possible, I imagine that Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal, Beat It, Bad, and Billie Jean being on the radio in the 80's sections would be a must, Smooth Criminal especially because of how well it suits the series. Madonna's Lucky Star, Burning Up, Like a Virgin, and Borderline would also be perfect for the 80's portion of the game to me. Also mentioned by NPCs and civilians in the game are topical events of the time period, such as the release of the groundbreaking 1973 horror film The Exorcist at the end of Vito's playable portion of the game. Other music of the 1980's segment when playing as Louis DeAngelo for the remainder of the game includes hits of the era such as Joe Jackson's Steppin' Out, The Buggles' Video Killed The Radio Star, Corey Hart's Sunglasses at Night,Laura Branigan's Self Control and Gloria, The Weather Girls' It's Raining Men, A-ha’s Take On Me, Men at Work's Down Under, Kim Wilde's Kids in America, The Gap Band's You Dropped a Bomb on Me, Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon, Twisted Sister's I Wanna Rock and We're Not Gonna Take It, Bon Jovi's Wanted Dead or Alive and Bad Medicine, Loverboy's Working for the Weekend, Dead or Alive's You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) and That's the Way (I Like It), Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone Now, Daryl Hall & John Oates' Maneater, Aneka's Japanese Boy, Mötley Crüe's Dr. Feelgood, Girls, Girls, Girls and Kickstart My Heart, Billy Joel's We Didn't Start the Fire, Huey Lewis And The News' Hip To Be Square, Bill Medley's (I've Had) The Time of My Life, The Police's Every Breath You Take, Whodini's Magic's Wand, Tears For Fears' Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Rockwell's Somebody's Watching Me, Regina's Baby Love, Nena's 99 Red Balloons, Earth, Wind, and Fire's Let's Groove and September, Billy Idol's Eyes Without a Face and White Wedding, Rick James’ Give It To Me Baby, Wham!'s Everything She Wants, George Michael's Careless Whisper, Toto's Hold the Line and Africa, Blondie's Heart of Glass and Atomic, and Mai Tai's History. Note that not every single year and moment of the 17 year 1975-1992 section playing as Louis DeAngelo is playable or chronicled. My idea is it would be handled similarly to how the time skips in Mafia 1/Mafia: Definitive Edition were handled. Time skips of two or more years, or in this case, even longer such as 4 years sometimes, the game skipping from 1979 to 1983. This is to keep the game and story length ideal, and not risk it getting boring or repetitive, or going on for too long. Repetition was a big problem in Mafia III even if I still thought it was a superb game, so I think it'd be best to learn from that for the next big entry. The games story will skip ahead and show onscreen only what's significant, similar to the first Mafia game and it's remake, as well as certain aspects of Mafia II. Louis starts his section as a 22 year old fugitive soldato who got picked up by another crew south of the Canadian border, and in the epilogue of the game in 1992, is promoted to the consigliere of the Scaletta crime family at the age of 40, being set to take over the family once Vito and Joe become too old to run the day to day on a regular basis. The years chronicled in the main gameplay segments are as follows: 1973 1975 1977 1979 1983 1985 1986 1987 1989 1990 1991 1992 Much more of the rural areas and countryside outside of Empire Bay are included than what was available in Mafia II. The way rural environments are handled for this hypothetical Mafia IV is akin to how Mafia: Definitive Edition and Mafia III handled their rural environments outside the main cities, except much larger in scale, given the increased power of the current new consoles such as the PS5 and Xbox Series X. This region is based off of upstate New York and the surrounding areas across multiple states in the Northeastern US, and includes forests, fields, mountains, rivers, lakes, beaches, and small towns. Also included are other cities and towns, based off of other large cities in New York like Syracuse, Buffalo, and Rochester, where other story missions, business activities, and side missions take place, along with smaller notable places like Ithaca, Binghamton, and Utica. The entire states of New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Delaware, Maryland, and Ohio are also included, including places based off of all of their major cities and most of their notable towns in between. Large portions of Pennsylvania are included as well, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Scranton. Large portions of the eastern half of the Canadian province of Ontario are included as well, including cities based off of Toronto, Ottawa, and Niagara Falls. There's even a small portion of Quebec included, including Montreal and the surrounding countryside of the province outside that city, including a few small towns in southern Quebec. The player must pass a quick border patrol check when crossing the US-Canada border in a car or other ground vehicle. Wildlife is present in the game, mostly to add to the background, scenery, and immersion in rural environments on the map. These are all animals native to the Northeastern US, ranging from white tailed deer, coyotes, bobcats, Canada lynxes, rabbits, hares, groundhogs, gophers, beavers, raccoons, opossums, bats, chipmunks, red and gray squirrels, mice, and rats to more formidable and potentially dangerous animals that may sometimes attack the player, such as grey wolves, black bears, mountain lions, and moose. These last four animals are known to spawn in the mountainous regions, especially in New York, Ohio, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Ontario, including the rural regions based off of the Catskills and the Adirondack mountains. Dogs are present in the cities, towns, and settlements where humans live and keep them as pets, being walked and sometimes found in people's yards. Some are used as guard dogs by enemies and are aggressive towards the player on sight. Domestic cats are also present in the background of residential areas, and both Louis and Vito own them as pets throughout the game in their safe houses, as well as other onscreen characters we see the homes of throughout the game. Aircraft make their first usable appearance in the Mafia series too, from airplanes to helicopters. Vito cannot use planes or helicopters in his playable 1973 portion of the game, as he does not know how to pilot, being a paratrooper in World War II who never actually flew any of the planes himself. Aircraft are unlocked to use when Louis DeAngelo gets his pilot’s certificate offscreen in 1977, and at the end of a chapter set that year, Louis has to fly Vito in a helicopter to a penthouse in Downtown Empire Bay acting as a family safe house, equipped with a helipad. Louis frequently serves as a personal driver and pilot for both Vito and Joe afterwards, having done a lot in his time serving the family to earn their trust and respect. Melee weapons also make a return from Mafia: Definitive Edition, with even more variety this time. In their respective sections of the game, Vito and Louis may use anything from baseball bats, pipes, shovels, brass knuckles, golf clubs, police batons, switchblades, kitchen knives, bowie knives, ice picks, 2x4s, claw hammers, crowbars, tire irons, chain links, machetes, meat cleavers, pickaxes, hatchets, sledgehammers, to fire axes. This amount of melee weapons is so no matter what environment the player finds themselves in during a mission or any other game activity, there is usually a weapon of some sort nearby. If the player has obtained piano wire, you may also strangle an enemy to death with it from behind as a stealth kill, this being a classic assassination method infamous for being used by the Italian Mafia. Rope can also be found and used for similar strangulation stealth kills, appearing in the gameplay environments where piano wire can’t be found. There is a wide variety of new guns and explosives to use in this concept for Mafia IV, going with the new weapons of the time the game takes place that criminals quickly got their hands on. This includes the SPAS-12 combat shotgun, the Beretta 92 pistol, the AK-74 assault rifle, the mini uzi, the MAC-10 submachine gun, both suppressed and unsuppressed variants, the Beretta 92 pistol, the Taurus raging bull revolver, Glock handguns, the TEC-9 machine pistol, illegally modified to be full auto, the Ruger Mini-14 full auto variant, and even Vietnam war era flamethrowers, which I think is only natural given that as of Mafia III, we already have RPGs and grenade launchers. Late in the game from the 1989 section and onwards, the Benelli M3 combat shotgun becomes available. The Milkor MGL grenade launcher becomes available beginning in the 1983 portion of the game. Attached grenade launchers are also available for the AK-47, AK-74, and M16 assault rifles. Free ride makes a return in Mafia IV, with the player having the options to change the weather, time period, and an option to play as Louis, Vito, Joe, or Lincoln. Naturally, a multitude of new free ride missions are available as well. I previously posted a much earlier and less detailed draft of this on the old Mafia3 subreddit 3 years ago back in 2017 as an idea for a hypothetical Mafia 3 expansion where you play as Vito, but have since updated and revamped it to a possible Mafia IV plot, and fixed any plot holes I noticed and made it much more fleshed out and in depth, and focus on more than just Vito in the end. You may view my original here if you so desire, to compare. https://www.reddit.com/Mafia3/comments/6sldhp/spoiler_mafia_iii_vito_dlc_basic_plot_idea/ Feel free to give me constructive criticism on this, as I encourage this discourse and believe it is integral to growing and improving, to build upon or improve these ideas I've come up with, or say whether or not you think something like this should happen in the future. Thank you for reading!
Why the Legion is Doomed to be Destroyed in a Total War with the NCR.
Even if the Legion were to win the Second Battle of Hoover Dam and conquer the Mojave Wasteland, they'd merely be buying themselves a little extra time and simply stall their inevitable demise. Note that the following analysis assumes that the Legion won the Second Battle of Hoover Dam and that the Courier died in Goodsprings. To start off this analysis, let's begin with a run-down of the respective weapons, equipment and gear of the respective ranks of the NCR and the Legion going into the Second Battle of Hoover Dam. Beginning with the NCR garrison at Hoover Dam. The NCR Trooper comprises the core of the Republic's colossal armies and is the prime component of the NCR Army. A superb combination of volunteers and conscripts whose degrees of training, motivation, combat experience and access to equipment vary across the ranks, they're some of the most disciplined, most professional soldiers in all of the Wastes. They're outfitted with modern military-grade ballistic vests that offer excellent protection against small arms fire, shrapnel and melee weapons alongside steel helmets. The NCR Army battalion that's stationed at Hoover Dam in particular is fully comprised of battle-hardened, fully-trained volunteer veteran NCR Troopers that are armed with 5.56 × .45mm NATO Marksman Carbines, 5mm Assault Rifles, 12-gauge Riot Shotguns and .308 Sniper Rifles to supplement their standard-issued 5.56 × .45mm NATO Service Rifles. The NCR Patrol Ranger is one of the finest, most elite warriors in both the NCR military and the Wastelands, overall. Having survived a brutal training regimen that's so ludicrously difficult that 8-out-of-10 aspiring recruits wash-out, these purely volunteer harbingers of death have little to no equals in terms of skill, fighting prowess and strength. They're outfitted with a suit of hand-made First-Generation Combat sporting a knife sheath, a hydration pouch and spiked spurs for unarmed combat that is impervious to any and all small arms fire, shrapnel and melee attacks. They're armed with 5.56 × .45mm NATO Marksman Carbines, .308 Sniper Rifles and .44 Magnum Trail Carbines. The NCR Heavy Trooper is not only the elite heavy shock infantry of the NCR Army, but is also the proverbial sledgehammer through which the Republic may crush its enemies and obliterate all that may threaten its values. Having earned their distinctive armor through immense sacrifice in blood, sweat and most of their young lives, they're the absolute best-trained, best-equipped, most battle-hardened, most professional, most skilled, most fanatically-devoted warriors in the whole of the NCR Armed Forces (rivaled only by the legendary NCR Veteran Rangers). Warriors that are more than willing to fight to their absolute last breath in defense of the Republic and all that it represents. They're outfitted with NCR Salvaged Power Armor, suits of T-45d Power Armor that were captured from the Brotherhood of Steel during the Brotherhood War that have had their joint servomotors removed and their back-mounted power cylinders replaced with custom-built energy modules and built-in air-conditioning units so that Power Armor Training wouldn't be needed to wear them. And while they're no longer legitimate suits of Power Armor in that they're no longer powered, they're still some of the absolute best and most protective suits of armor within the Republic's entire mammoth arsenal. Completely invulnerable to all but the most powerful conventional firearms, highly-advanced energy weapons, specialized ammunition and high-powered explosives, they can truly absorb Hellish amounts of punishment. They're armed with 5.56 × .45mm NATO Light Machine Guns, 5mm Miniguns, Heavy Incinerators, Flamers and Missile Launchers (albeit rarely). The NCR Veteran Ranger is a living, breathing legend walking amongst the ruins and ashes of the Old World, drawing inspiration and hope from soldiers and citizens of the Republic as well as fear and terror from enemies and all those who dare to oppose the NCR. Fabled for their unmatched fighting prowess, envied for their flawlessly unequalled marksmanship technique, feared for their unrivaled warfighting skills, awe-inspiring for their unsurpassed pugilist talent and legendary for their innate mastery over hardcore survivalist skills, the NCR Veteran Rangers are the absolute finest, best-trained, most battle-hardened, most professional, most skilled, most-elite and all-around most bad-ass warriors in not only the entire history of the Republic military, but also the whole of the Western Wastes, as well. Centurions and Praetorian Guards of Caesar's Legion, Knights and Paladins of the Brotherhood of Steel and even the Republic's very own NCR Heavy Troopers have learned to shudder in terror and fear at the mere mention of the mythical phenoms of the Wastelands that are the NCR Veteran Rangers These fabled guardian angels of the Republic are outfitted with the equally legendary Black Armor, a hyper-advanced suit of Third-Generation Combat Armor consisting of a highly-flexible vest of incredibly-rigid high-impact armored plating with adjustable straps on both the sides and the shoulders and a built-in throat protector that's mounted on the vest. Combined with the state-of-the-art rounded-shell ballistic helmet sporting built-in lamps and infrared/visible light projectors as well as the complimentary highly-sophisticated armored mask with built-in low-light optics, an incorporated locking mechanism that joins the mask itself with the helmet shell, ear covers with built-in membranes that confer additional protection without inhibiting the wearer's hearing and built-in air filters, the mythical Black Armor is well-deserving of its stellar reputation. As you can see, the NCR's forces are extremely heavily-armed, well-equipped and armed to the teeth with the absolute latest in top-of-the-line, high-powered firearms and state-of-the-art, highly-sophisticated energy weapons as well as superbly well-protected with an abundance of different varieties of military-grade body armors with varying degrees of effectiveness and even Salvaged Power Armor. Now it's time for an evaluation of the Legion's weapons and technology. The Recruit Legionary is the primary foot soldier of Caesar's army and comprises the vast majority of the Legion's ranks. Trained and conditioned from before they could walk to become the perfect warriors, Recruit Legionaries are incredibly well-conditioned and in phenomenal physical shape, owing to a savagely intense training regimen that even the NCR Rangers would envy. Despite said conditioning, however, they're still the equivalent of literal cannon fodder with little-to-no actual skill in firearms usage and maintenance. They're outfitted with a suit of makeshift featherweight armor that consists of sports equipment with bits and pieces of scrap metal atop a cloth tunic that's all lashed together with leather straps. An armor that's so weak that it couldn't even protect its wearer against the likes of a straight razor. They're armed primarily with a "Machete" (what's really a lawnmower blade that's lashed to a stick) and "Throwing Spears" (what's really even bigger sticks with pieces of sharpened scrap metal fastened and jabbed into the tips), though they can rarely get their hands on firearms (albeit damn near broken ones) such as .357 Magnum Revolvers, .357 Magnum Cowboy Repeaters, 9mm Pistols, 20-gauge Single Shotguns, 20-gauge Caravan Shotguns, 5.56 × .45mm NATO Varmint Rifles and 10mm Pistols. The Prime Legionary is the centerpiece of the Legion's fighting force and the core component of any Legion formation. Having survived 5 years in Caesar's forces, a remarkable accomplishment in and of itself, Prime Legionaries are no longer mere cannon fodder but are now the main frontline fighting force of the Legion. With the accompanying improvement in weapons and equipment as well as adequate firearms skills to make the promotion that much sweeter. They're outfitted with the exact same armor as before, only with a slight improvement in protection. It still can't protect the wearer from shit, however. They're armed with the standard-issued "Machetes" and "Throwing Spears" though they also have much better access to more advanced weapons than before. Melee weapons, such as Machete Gladius', Power Fists and Chainsaws, and firearms (of decent quality), such as 10mm SMGs, 12-gauge Sawn-Off Shotguns .44 Magnum Revolvers and .308 Hunting Rifles are all available to them in significant quantities. The Veteran Legionary is the oldest, most experienced, most elite warrior within the lesser ranks of the Legion and is also the precise scalpel to the blunt, destructive warhammer of the Recruit and Prime Legionaries. Having survived a full decade in Caesar's service, a monumental achievement in its own right, Veteran Legionaries are the elite rapid reaction force of the Legion that's tasked with neutralizing particularly tough adversaries that their lesser counterparts can't defeat and typically remain in reserve until otherwise needed for tipping the scales of a pivotal battle or campaign in the Legion's favor. As they're the oldest Legionaries (a lot of whom have been with Caesar since day 1), they're also the most experienced, most capable Legionaries who are in their absolute prime in regards to martial prowess and physical resilience. They're second only to Centurions in terms of skill and experience, which is reflected in their improved access to superior weapons and equipment. They can also use and maintain firearms with frightening levels of efficiency. They're outfitted with the same armor as before, though with even better protection. Still couldn't protect you from anything meaningful, though. They're armed with the usual standard kit in addition to melee weapons such as Fire Axes and Power Fists as well as firearms (of mint condition and with virtually unlimited access to) such as .44 Magnum Revolvers, .308 Hunting Rifles, 5.56 × .45mm NATO Marksman Carbines and 12.7mm SMGs. The Decanus of the Legion is the lesser officer beneath the Centurion and is responsible for tactical small-unit operations and squad-level leadership. While not too different from ordinary Legionaries in terms of skill, equipment and even appearance, they still have slightly better access to weapons hence they deserve a separate segment. Recruit Decanii can get access to 9mm SMGs and 10mm SMGs unlike Recruit Legionaries, Prime Decanii aren't any different from Prime Legionaries and Veteran Decanii can get access to 12.7mm Pistols unlike Veteran Legionaries (not a real improvement, I know). Everything else is exactly the same. The Centurion is the absolute apex of the Legion's strength and the top field commanders of Caesar's armies, second in authority only to Legate Lanius and Caesar himself amongst a tiny select few of other superiors. Having survived 15-20 years of a long, arduous life of fighting in Caesar's name (a completely unimaginable phenomenon, indeed) before finally earning the treasured armor of the Centurion (which they can decorate with the trophies of their fallen enemies at their leisure), Centurions are the absolute most elite, most skilled, most battle-hardened and ultimately the most dangerous warriors in the entirety of the Legion. To even BEGIN to qualify for Centurion status, one must have fought in and survived numerous Legion campaigns as well as slain countless opponents in battle alongside the time requirement. All to ensure that only the finest of Caesar's warriors ever reach that level of authority in his Legion. As the oldest, most experienced warriors in Caesar's army, the Centurions comprise the old guard of Caesar's army, most of them having served their lord since the very beginning. Their status all but ensures that they're reserved for only the absolute deadliest, most lethal of assignments that even Veteran Legionaries can't handle. They're ultimately only deployed if absolutely necessary. In order to ensure that his Centurions can both accomplish their missions without even the slightest chance of failure and protect themselves without difficulty, Caesar has granted them unlimited access to the absolute finest weapons in his Legion's arsenal and has seen to it that they have acquired the absolute sharpest firearms skills that money can buy as a corresponding reward for their reaching Centurion status. They're outfitted with Centurion armor which, while legendary amongst the Legion, really isn't that special. It's actually just Veteran Legionary armor with some cool decorations on it at the end of day. Pieces of T-45d Power Armor on the right arm, the sleeve from a suit of NCR Ranger Patrol Armor and the pauldrons from an Armored Vault Suit on the left arm, the boots and shin guards from a suit of First-Generation Combat Armor on the lower legs, the crotch/thigh guards from a suit of NCR Ranger Patrol Armor on the upper legs, gloves from a suit of Leather Armor on the hands and a Super Mutant Brute chestplate on the torso, to be exact. Realistically speaking, Centurion armor would be just about useless against virtually any weapon in the NCR's arsenal. Even a single 5.56 × .45mm NATO round fired from a basic Service Rifle would most certainly do the job, flawlessly. They're armed with basic melee weapons such as Machete Gladius' and Chainsaws as well as high-tech melee weapons such as Thermic Lances (which are actually just repurposed metalworking tools) and Super Sledges in addition to powerful firearms such as .308 Hunting Rifles, 12-gauge Hunting Shotguns, 5.56 x .45mm NATO Marksman Carbines and even .50 BMG Anti-Materiel Rifles (albeit rarely). Now we must now examine what will inevitably be a huge problem for the Legion even if they were to win the Second Battle of Hoover Dam. The Legion, even though it does in fact have access to some top-of-the-line weapons, only has them in an extremely limited capacity and strictly reserves them for only the highest-ranking, most elite Legion forces and field commanders. The overwhelming bulk of the Legion's troops have little-to-no real firearms and what pitifully little that they can get their hands on are in extremely piss-poor condition. Not that it would matter, considering the fact that they don't have the proper training that's necessary to actually use them, much less maintain them. The vast majority of Caesar's troops rely almost entirely on primitive makeshift melee weapons and their own martial prowess to fight their battles, which inevitably means that the Legion has to avoid direct engagement with NCR forces, instead relying on subterfuge and guerilla warfare to combat the Republic. And it gets even worse for the Legion when one considers that the higher that its troops advance up the totem pole, the fewer Legionaries that it finds at the higher levels. A direct consequence of the Legion's overprioritization of quality and individual skill in combat is that it inevitably results in an extremely small cadre of elite warriors and field commanders surrounded by a sea of lesser soldiers and officers. Combined with the fact that the Legion is only 34 years-old by the events of F:NV (meaning that even if one were to ignore things like inevitable attrition all throughout the Legion's war-filled history of expansion and conquest, they still wouldn't have that many Veteran Legionaries/Decanii and Centurions) as well as the fact that attrition over the years must be taken into account (the First Battle of Hoover Dam and the Legion's invasion of Colorado alone absolutely devastated their elite ranks), it's only obvious that the Legion's elite forces are relatively puny. Furthermore, we know for a fact that there's enough Veteran Legionaries/Decanii for them to form a few of their own exclusive Centuria (a Century is 80-men-strong, I might add), with the Red Okie Centuria being a prime example of this. This definitely suggests that the Legion has at least a couple hundred Veteran Legionaries/Decanii at its disposal. As for Centurions, it's a little known fact that they're so incredibly rare in the Legion that they're actually explicitly ordered to not enter combat until absolutely necessary (i.e self-defense or if they're ordered into battle by a superior). This, along with the fact that they're never really seen in any meaningful numbers in-game until the Second Battle of Hoover Dam, strongly suggests that there might only be at most several dozen Centurions in the whole of the Legion (there definitely wouldn't be over 100 of them). Either way, however, the Legion's elite forces are so pathetically tiny that they couldn't possibly justify the Legion having any meaningful amount of high-end weaponry. The NCR, on other hand, doesn't have these problems as 1. the NCR prioritizes protection and firepower above all else for their forces and 2. even their most basic troops have exclusive access to essentially unlimited supplies of all manner of firearms and explosives as well as highly superb protection in the form of military-grade body armor. Meaning that the NCR not only has a hopelessly insurmountable edge in firepower, technology and protection over the Legion, but that soldiers of the NCR also have a far higher life expectancy than their Legion counterparts, as well. All but ensuring that the NCR has a vastly higher volume of surviving battle-hardened combat veterans relative to the Legion that enables for the Republic to easily distribute extremely invaluable, ultimately irreplaceable combat experience and lessons learned in battle across the entirety of their military to a far greater extent than the Legion. Scores of battle-hardened NCR Troopers that distinguish themselves on the battlefield go on to enlist with the NCR Rangers upon receiving an invitation to do so (fun fact: the vast majority of NCR Ranger recruits and even NCR Rangers themselves are/were NCR Troopers who earned their new status while serving in the NCR Army), earn the coveted Salvaged Power Armor and become NCR Heavy Troopers or earn promotions to positions of authority in the NCR Army (prime examples being Colonel Cassandra Moore and Colonel James Hsu). All of the above information will have colossal long-term consequences for the Legion, at the end of the day. With that out of the way, let's move on to the main argument itself. The most positive estimates of the Legion's total numbers and military strength would be at best 5,000-8,000 troops. Then we must take into account the fact that the Legion is going to suffer massive losses (easily numbering into the thousands) taking Hoover Dam from the NCR as the NCR garrison here is extremely well-defended, well-supplied and heavily-fortified by both an entire battalion of elite, battle-hardened NCR Troopers and God only knows how many NCR Patrol Rangers, NCR Heavy Troopers and NCR Veteran Rangers. Combined with the fact that General Oliver's Compound is extremely well-defended with force fields, a turret system, NCR Veteran Rangers, NCR Heavy Troopers, elite NCR Troopers and an absolute labyrinth that's filled to the brim with all manner of booby traps ranging from rigged shotguns, bear traps and mines of all types to grenade bouquets and overhanging objects (and given that you see a pile of fresh Legionary and Centurion corpses at your feet whenever you enter the Compound during the "Veni, Vidi, Vici" quest it's more than safe to assume that Legion casualties will be extremely massive just securing this area alone), this only serves to bolster my claim that thousands of the Legion's troops will perish at Hoover Dam even if they were to take it. With only a mere fraction of their original number (that 5,000-8,000 will have been massively depleted after the Second Battle of Hoover Dam), now the Legion has to set out and secure the rest of the Mojave Wasteland, which will prove to be completely impossible over time. The Legion will find next to no tribes to assimilate as they exterminate the Powder Gangers, Fiends, Vipers, Jackals and the Kings in all of their endings. And while the Legion still has the Great Khans and the Boomers, they won't help much. The Great Khans are down to little more than a pitiful rag-tag band of holdouts after both their ass-whipping at the hands of Mr. House and their decimation at Bitter Springs by the NCR. A fact that only gets worse when we subtract the women and female children (breeding stock), the elderly, the sick and the disabled (killed off immediately) as well as mention the fact that the Frumentarius Karl does say in his journal that the Legion would have to decimate most of the tribe, anyways. Meaning that the Legion will at most get a couple paltry handful of warriors from them. As for the Boomers (assuming that the "Volare!" quest isn't completed) will prove to be more than a huge cost than a real benefit to the Legion. The Boomers' artillery alone would kill hundreds, if not thousands, of Legionaries with the Boomers themselves, armed to the teeth with Missile Launchers, Fat Mans, Grenade Machine Guns, Grenade Launchers, Grenade Rifles, 5.56 x 45mm. Marksman Carbines and 5mm Assault Carbines in addition to Mr. Gutsy combat robots and Sentry Bots, killing hundreds and even thousands more before the Legion finally conquer them. Also consider that the Boomers, who worship their artillery and weapons with a near religious reverence, will by no means let their weapons fall into the hands of savages. Thus we could easily see them sabotaging their artillery (how hard would it be to load an artillery shell and lob a frag grenade down the barrel, after all?; and given that the Boomers only have 3-4 artillery pieces it wouldn't take long to do) and munitions stockpiles (just a few bricks of C4 could easily destroy all of the Boomers' weapons and ammunition supplies) to keep them out of Legion hands, which only adds insult to injury. Even worse for the Legion is that when we subtract those Boomers that died in battle (most likely all of the adult males), the women and female children, the elderly, sick and disabled the Legion will have only a handful of male children to their name (remember that the Boomers are a really puny tribe that depend entirely on their firepower to survive) which means that they will have achieved nothing despite their massive losses incurred from conquering Nellis Air Force Base. Then we also consider the fact that the Legion doesn't enslave civilized communities or Independent Towns unless under extraordinary circumstances (as evidenced by Siri over at the Fort who hailed from an Independent Town in New Mexico and was a medical student there prior to its destruction by the Legion). Of course, it wouldn't matter as even if they did, the entire New Vegas area is completely evacuated by the NCR in the event of a Legion victory at Hoover Dam as evidenced by Arcade Gannon's Legion ending where he's convinced to remain in Freeside (all of Freeside, North Vegas, Westside, East Vegas and the Strip, which is really just a resort for NCR tourists rather than an actual community, are evacuated with those few that don't make it out, Arcade included, being killed by the Legion). And when we consider that Nelson was butchered, Camp Searchlight irradiated and Nipton destroyed by the Legion with Goodsprings being left alone and Primm just falling under Legion authority (no point in enslaving the town anyways considering how it's just one big retirement home alongside Goodsprings which is also evacuated by all save a few old, stubborn folks) then it's blatantly clear that the Legion will have very few civilized people left to enslave. With an even smaller fraction of survivors thanks to their conquest of Nellis AFB (in addition to hundreds more casualties against the Mojave Chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel, the Kings and what's left of House's Securitron police force and the Chairmen) the Legion will soon realize its folly and discover that both holding the Mojave Wasteland and continuing their advance West is literally impossible. The Legion's logistical situation and acquisition of supplies will soon prove to be an insurmountable nightmare within mere weeks of their occupation of the Mojave. The loss of Nipton, Camp Searchlight and Nelson will serve to severely hamstring the Legion's logistics with the eventual deaths of New Vegas, Primm and Goodsprings only complicating the Legion's supply lines even further. As 99% of the Strip's revenue comes from NCR tourists and soldiers on leave and given how the Legion will most likely tear down the casinos and ban whores, booze, chems and gambling under Caesar's law, the Strip will eventually shrivel up and die due to loss of revenue. North Vegas, East Vegas, Westside, Freeside, Primm and Goodsprings, which are entirely dependent on Republic trade and commerce for survival, will eventually suffer the same fate as NCR trade and business abandon the region out of both fear and hatred for the Legion. Especially after the Legion's successful assassination of President Kimball which will see him martyred and ensure that the NCR will cut off all ties to the fallen Mojave Wasteland. With all of the Mojave's communities and towns dying off, the Legion's supply lines will crumble and face imminent collapse within only a few months time (Hoover Dam isn't a viable supply route as while it does allow the Legion to cross the Colorado River in force it's just too far to provide adequate, long-term support) which will only serve to doom the Legion's occupation of the Mojave Wasteland. We must also take into account that the Legion will need every last man, Denarius and resource at its disposal if it so much as hopes to hold the region and continue the advance West. Which will force Caesar to relinquish the Legion's entire empire East of the Colorado in order to do so. In Legate Lanius’ own words, the Legion's expansion campaigns in the East have been faltering badly as Caesar's obsession with Hoover Dam, New Vegas and the West has seen the Legion's full strength syphoned off towards Hoover Dam as part of Caesar's plan to overrun Hoover Dam, conquer New Vegas and eventually invade the West. Imagine the Hell that the Legion will have trying to secure the Mojave Wasteland, which will prove to be so bad that the Legion heartlands will have to be left defenseless, lawless and chaotic just to even begin to make such an ambitious feat even remotely feasible. Some would probably argue that Caesar would surely never abandon the East just for the tiniest, southernmost tip of Nevada and just one little city but I'd advise you to reconsider. Caesar explicitly states that while the Legion does have their own cities back East, NONE OF THEM are ANYTHING like New Vegas. Why is that such a big deal, one might ask? It's simple, really. While the Mojave Wasteland was relatively untouched by the nuclear holocaust that was the Great War, thanks to the quick and decisive actions of Robert Edwin House, New Vegas is at best a total dump and at worst an absolute shithole. Filled to the brim with disease, essentially overrun with Raiders, bandits and common criminals of all stripes, absolutely crushed beneath the iron heel of a colossal drug-addiction crisis, bursting at the seams with abject misery and poverty and rampant with starvation, New Vegas is without a doubt little more than a massive dumpster fire. Things are so bad in that cursed place that you actually have children chasing rats in the streets just to survive, locals constantly complaining about hunger pains and withdrawals and scum ranging from the Fiends to random little hooligan punks constantly ransacking the place. Westside, the South Vegas ruins, East Vegas, North Vegas and Freeside are all Hellish nightmares that are almost completely hopeless causes, at the end of the day. Even if one takes into account the diamond in the rock, the New Vegas Strip, you still wouldn't find many reasons to be impressed. What you have is a tiny wealthy resort community that still looks like a dump (though it's still a major improvement from the rest of New Vegas), has highly dilapidated infrastructure (the Tops Casino still has a giant hole on the side of the building) and is surrounded by a wall that's held together with spit, grit and a whole lotta' duct tape. And while the Strip is safe, orderly and prosperous by the standards of the Mojave Wasteland (a very shit standard, I might add), it's ultimately a very terrible place by the standards of the rest of the post-apocalyptic world (i.e. NCR territory and lands under Legion control). If Legion cities can't even match the standards of that shithole, what does that say about Caesar's willingness to hold them? Especially in light of what he'd be gaining in return? Furthermore, Caesar often tends to view himself as a mere barbaric king of the Gauls, with his Legion being nothing but one big nomadic tribe of savages without a true home or purpose in his eyes, which is extremely depressing. Caesar sees New Vegas as a true city, a true capital, a true home for both himself and his Legion, a true Rome that he can rule over and could preside over a true empire in. And the West as that very true empire that he so desperately relishes. Do you honestly believe that Caesar wouldn't trade his current empire (which he clearly holds in very low esteem and almost regrets ever conquering it) for his new Rome and a stepping stone towards eventually conquering his new Roman Empire (the stepping stone being the Mojave Wasteland)? He'd trade the whole of the East for New Vegas and the Mojave Wasteland in a heartbeat and in doing so will seal the Legion's fate and imminent doom. With the Legion having completely relinquished the East (and therefore cutting themselves off from their resource base, source of revenue/income and escape route, in the process) their supply lines and logistical network in chaos and having absolutely no source of replenishment and reinforcements for their ranks, the Legion will slowly but surely disintegrate, trapped in a permanent holding pattern in the Mojave that'll bleed them dry and drain them of all their resources. The NCR, meanwhile, will have simply dug in at the Mojave Outpost and fortified their defenses there. They'd have most certainly brought in the 3 VB-02 Vertibirds (which are armed with Gatling Lasers, Missile Launcher racks and Mini Nuke Launchers and outfitted with heavy armor) that were conducting combat air patrols of the NCR military base just a few miles away from the Mojave Outpost. Far from stopping there, however, Colonel Royez (who's outfitted with the Scorched Sierra Power Armor which is a fully-operational suit of heavily-modified T-45d Power Armor upgraded with onboard medical systems capable of healing any injury and an improved back-mounted power pack from a suit of T-51b Power Armor that will be capable of resisting nearly all of the Legion's weapons and armed with a Plasma Caster chock full of overcharged Microfusion Cells so incredibly strong that it can kill a lvl. 50 Courier in Power Armor with just 2-3 hits!) and his men (NCR Heavy Troopers armed to the teeth with Gatling Lasers, Plasma Casters and Tesla Cannons as well as NCR Troopers armed with Tri-Beam Laser Rifles, Multiplas Rifles, Laser Rifles and Plasma Rifles) will also redeployed there from the same military camp, as well. Republic artillery pieces can also be deployed there to help bolster the outpost's defenses, as well. A massive network of bunkers, pillboxes and trenches all along the hill below the outpost as well as machine gun nests, sniper nests, minefields and razorwire can also be established to further enhance the impregnable defensive perimeter of the new frontline. Once all of this is done, the NCR will then proceed to flood the outpost with tens of thousands of NCR Troopers, NCR Heavy Troopers, NCR Veteran Rangers And when coupled with the fact that the Mojave Outpost is atop a high hill, is flanked by mountain ranges on both sides (which will completely prevent the Legion from attacking its flanks and rear), is right on the border with fully-controlled Republic territory (which will make it impossibly easy to keep well-supplied and will also ensure that Republic reinforcements are plentiful and easily available) and the fact that one could see everything up to Primm and Nipton from the Mojave Outpost (that particular area is also wide-open, completely exposed and lacks any real cover which means that any Legion force of any meaningful size would be spotted from miles away day or night which in turn will prevent Legion surprise attacks), the Mojave Outpost will truly become a 100% impregnable fortress. To make things even worse for the Legion, there's absolutely no bypassing the Mojave Outpost either as the only areas that can allow such a short cut around the Long 15 are completely and literally impassable. The Big Empty is often described as a wall to any living thing approaching it, the Divide is little more than a death trap and is completely avoided by the Legion for obvious reasons and Death Valley is so inhospitable that even the NCR, with its fleet of military cargo trucks and Vertibirds, flat out avoids that area out of habit. Any army stupid enough to try and cross through these areas will not return alive under any circumstances. Which in turn ensures that only through the Long 15 can the Legion hope to invade the West and given that the Mojave Outpost is purely impenetrable and that the Mojave Wasteland is completely entrapped with mountains and the Colorado River, the Legion will be completely trapped in the Mojave Wasteland and will never be freed from their holding pattern there. The NCR simply bides its time and let's the Legion wear itself out and tear itself apart trying to hold the Mojave Wasteland, occasionally fending off Legion assaults on the Mojave Outpost whilst inflicting heavy losses on the Legion, launching several limited-scale offensives here and there so as to deplete the Legion's ranks even further and deploying NCR Veteran Rangers into the Mojave Wasteland so as to ambush Legion supply caravans and patrols to worsen the Legion's logistical nightmare. After almost a year, the Legion will finally be vulnerable, it's forces stretched absolutely thin down to their absolute breaking point, their supply lines and logistics completely exhausted and expended alongside their supplies as a whole, the Legion's ranks reduced to little more than a tiny skeleton crew, the Legion completely scattered across the entire Mojave Wasteland unable to guard it or defend it any longer and the Colorado River at its back, with absolutely no way of escaping their inevitable demise. At this moment, the NCR finally attacks with a full-scale assault across the entirety of the Mojave, completely and utterly destroying the Legion in its entirety and killing/capturing Caesar himself as Republic forces swarm across New Vegas and wipe out his Legion all around him within mere hours, days if the Legion is lucky. And so the NCR-Legion War finally draws to a close, with the back of the Legion broken forever and ceasing to exist. Either way the Legion is fucked with a Legion defeat at the Second Battle of Hoover Dam being a mercy killing at best for the Legion. (Sources are down below in the comments section).
GODDAMIT. BEEN SITTING ON THIS FOR A MONTH, AND NOW IT'S ALL BEEN BLOWN TO SHIT.
Maybe it stays the same since Morey was likely 'inspired' to step down so that Tilman could get the China money back and will continue assisting the new regime from the shadows, but as I have no clue at all what the future is going to bring and don't want to re-write this piece for the planned 'GM write-up' series that was supposed to be starting after the Finals, I'm just gonna drop it here and let anyone else who wants to take over do it. FUCK TILMAN FERTITTA. I'm out.
State of the team
After a disappointing bubble performance that did not end in a Championship, many people are questioning if the Rockets window has officially closed. In all likelihood, it has; but it is not yet locked, so with the right moves it can be opened enough to squeeze out another deep run or two that can finally break through if the team finds a brick of luck for once. What those right moves are and how to accomplish them are the challenge posed to Daryl Morey and his crew. There are a number of constraints that will make this difficult, including a lack of draft assets and moveable contracts that are not integral to the team's success, but the most challenging proposition will again be owner Tilman Fertitta's finances. While some critics may believe that the Rockets small ball experiment was a failure, management will likely point to the fact that 'defense' was not nearly as much of a problem in the playoffs as 'offense' and that Russell Westbrook's obvious impairment from a quad injury was the primary factor in underachieving desired expectations. The general belief in the front office is that the formula is not broken so much as unlucky. Another couple of chances will hopefully bring the health necessary for a breakthrough. Daryl Morey's top-stated priority entering the off-season was re-signing coach Mike D'Antoni. Well, D'Antoni ended any talk of that by opting to take his services elsewhere before the team plane had even departed Orlando. This leaves the team in search of a new head coach before any other moves can really be considered, since whoever gets the position will likely hope to have a bit of say in any of the roster decisions that need to be made. The team is casting a wide net in their search having interviewed candidates like frontrunners Tyronn Lue and Jeff Van Gundy, as well as Kenny Atkinson, Wes Unseld Jr., and Stephen Silas. The new coach will need to garner the instant respect of a veteran-laden team (possibly possessing enough cachet to actually inspire a different style of play?), and may need to fulfill Fertitta's desire to make headlines, favoring a big-name hire. It must be included that there is even a slim chance that D'Antoni returns to the role now that Doc Rivers has swooped his pre-supposed landing spot in Philly, but I expect the final candidates may come from the following list of assistant coaches and thus (completely coincidentally) cheaper names in case a need arises to go in another direction: Sam Cassell - The former Rockets legend is currently serving as an assistant coach for Doc Rivers. Frequently cited as one of the top assistants ready to take the next step. As a former All-Star point guard, he may be able to command the respect of Westbrook and Harden enough to offset his lack of head coaching experience. His big balls could "Make Houston Clutch Again". John Lucas - The Rockets Assistant Coach is very familiar with the system and the current players. He provides continuity and a cheap, short-term contract that would allow for an easy 'out' if things do not work in the next year or two (which is the optimistic extent of the title hopes for this current iteration of the Rockets) Chris Finch - An ex-RGV Vipers Head Coach now working as an assistant in New Orleans. He is a savant on offense, on very good terms with Morey and his philosophy, and due for his 'chance' in the bigs. Given the success of Nick Nurse, another coach who won a G-League Championship for the RGV Vipers, I feel as if Chris Finch should end up getting the call (although he appears to have dropped off the radar). The new head coach will have a challenging job of needing to instantly compete with a roster of vets who are notorious for not being as flexible in their approach to the game as might be desired. This team is not only 'set' in its ways mentally to the point where an attempt to change the team philosophy could easily backfire and result in another lost season, it is also relatively 'set' in its ability to make personnel changes. So expect the new coach to provide more of an 'extension' of the current Moreyball philosophy than a completely different style.
2021 Houston Rockets Roster and Salary
SALARY CAP HIT
DETAILS (contract values rise)
2 more yrs + player option
2 more years + player option
4 more years
2 more years
2 more years
2 more years of team options
Things look relatively straight-forward for the Rockets. All of their main rotation guys are already signed and set to return with the exception of Jeff Green and Austin Rivers. The Rockets are prime candidates to start the season off by basically "running it back". Considering Green has enjoyed great success in Houston's system and seems to have established good chemistry within his role in the system, he will absolutely be considered an important piece to re-sign. He has played on minimum-level contracts for the past few years, so unless another contender surprisingly decides to use part of their MLE on him, he should be able to return on a 1+1 veteran minimum contract. Austin Rivers has a player option for $2,369,663. It is considered highly unlikely that he will opt-in to this (although he will be welcomed back with open arms if he does). If he leaves, the team will likely look to find a replacement ball-handleperimeter defender. The hopeful addition of Jeff Green to the list of signed players takes the team to a total of 10 contracts, meaning Morey will look to add 5 more players into the fold. Positional needs: The Rockets took one big step closer to the idea of 'position-less' basketball by banishing their traditional centers last season. The big question is, will they continue this philosophy into 2021? The answer to this may partially depend upon who the next coach is. As previously stated, the advanced age of this particular roster resulting in an extremely small window for success, combined with the players' familiarity with the current roles and system and the reduced off-season leads me to believe that the small ball experiment will continue into the 2021 season. Not only was it proven effective offensively at unlocking the best version of Russell Westbrook since his 2017 MVP campaign, the hybrid switching system the team utilized in the first half of the season to account for Clint Capela's reduced ability to guard perimeter players was not as successful as the switch-everything system the team implemented in the playoffs; so unless the team can get a larger center who can effectively switch 1-5, it is unlikely that 'Center' is going to be seen as a top priority. Look for the team to try to focus their search on finding long, stretchy, big forwards, as they did with the late-season signings of Jeff Green, DeMarre Carroll, and David Nwaba. They will also try to fill the position of 'tertiary ball handler' should Rivers choose to go elsewhere. Although Austin may sign another 1+1 minimum deal with the team, it is more likely that he will look for a bigger role (and payday) on another team. There is a small chance he could be used in a sign and trade (Houston has his Early Bird Rights allowing him to sign a contract up to around $8M), so he may serve as salary filler in building a larger sign & trade, but note that such a move will surely push Houston well into the luxury tax, bringing us to... Luxury Tax Issues: The expected threshold will probably fall around $132-133M. Houston is brushing up against that with only 9 players under contract currently. Bear in mind that ownership has suffered catastrophic economic distress this year due to Fertitta's business interests in casinos and restaurants (not to mention that he was never interested in paying tax even in better times with a stronger team). Unlike this season, next year should see a large cash pay-out to non-tax teams as many contenders who were below the tax last year due to their participation in Free Agency will be utilizing exceptions that push them into the luxury tax (Golden State in particular has been making overtures at filling its TPE, which would result in one of the largest tax bills on record). Despite his questionable claims that he is financially solvent and ready to pay tax to field a contender, Tilman Fertitta will be happy to be an owner that avoids paying tax again and instead receives a check from the league. Daryl Morey will have his work cut out for him to achieve that, but after accomplishing it in 2019 and 2020 with masterful tax-reducing moves at the trade deadline, there is little doubt he can (and likely will) do it again in 2021. 2 years ago, he reduced Ryan Anderson's $20M contract through a series of moves to Iman Shumpert's $12M and last year he reduced Capela's $17M hit to Covington's $11M bill. Eric Gordon's $17M is the obvious candidate for reduction this year, and there are a variety of ways in which it could be done.
Potential roster moves
Draft Per usual, Houston does not have any draft picks. They do have almost $5M in cash remaining with which they could purchase a draft pick (potentially even 2 late ones); but most likely Morey will work the pool of undrafted talent to try to find a couple new 2-way contract candidates. Free Agency: There are unlikely to be any major moves in the off-season aside from signing 6 players to veteran minimum contracts. Jeff Green and Gerald Green are likely signings. Michael Frazier may have earned a promotion to the main squad, but will more likely continue to stay in the G-League on a 2-way contract. Tyson Chandler and Austin Rivers are candidates who are less likely to be re-signed, but may end up filling the same roles they did this year. Otherwise, expect Morey to take fliers on guys who have high upside in the system that are cut by other teams or don't get the larger contracts they are hoping to find and willing to take short term deals in Houston in an effort to rebuild their value. Although technically below the tax, using the Full MLE would hard-cap the Rockets at a level providing almost no flexibility for in-season maneuvers, something Morey despises, so the taxpayer mini-MLE is the only practical option available this off-season. However, if avoiding the luxury tax is a priority (Narrator: "It is."), then using the MLE at all is not going to be feasible. Houston has avoided using the MLE for the past 2 seasons (with the exception of utilizing small portions of it to lock up undrafted players on cheap 3-year deals), and is likely to follow in that path this year. Morey traditionally does his best work at the trade deadline, and will likely look to that time frame again in the 2021 season. There is one (unlikely) way that the Rockets could utilize their full MLE - by sending a current player to another team for less salary in return, leading us to... Trades: The Rockets do not have a lot of positive-value contracts they can part with that are not a critical part of their core. Danuel House is on a good contract, and the team may be looking to move him if they believe his bubble antics were problematic for future chemistry. He could likely be moved with no problem. This would also be an easy way to cut a couple million dollars in salary, if necessary. PJ Tucker and Robert Covington are also on good deals, but are crucial to the Rockets scheme. It is extremely unlikely they will be dealt. James Harden and Russell Westbrook are also unlikely to go anywhere in the off-season. If disaster strikes or a deal that can't be refused arises, then there is a small chance one or more of these 4 could be moved at the deadline. As stated before, Eric Gordon is the most likely candidate to be traded. While his improved bubble play may have gotten his contract closer to 'neutral' value, it is likely that a pick would need to be attached to it in order to bring back a player of value, particularly from a rebuilding team, which is also the traditional place where he could be sent into cap space to avoid bringing back 80% in matching salary. However due to his age and injury history, he is probably only of interest to a team that fancies itself as 'contending' for something. There is a small chance that he could be sent to Golden State, as his contract fits within their Traded Player Exception and he fills a position of need, but it is unlikely that Houston is anxious to improve a conference rival (however, the idea that he could possibly bring back draft capital and increase the size of the league's payout check to non-taxpaying teams make this a scenario that can not be discarded outright). Sending Gordon into space is the best way for Houston to access its full MLE (as well as creating a hefty TPE of their own). However, it would likely have to happen in the window after the draft and before free agency shakes out in order to be an option. And it would likely entail losing Houston's only first round pick that is available for trade, making later moves more difficult (so I don't expect this to happen). Available Picks that can be traded:
worst of HOU, OKC, MIA
cannot be used this year in conjunction with the 2021 pick
swap rights with Philadelphia
*All of the team's own second round picks from 2024 and beyond Houston does not have a lot of draft capital. Morey will surely look to use the 2021 first at the trade deadline to move a contract, allowing him to keep the 2022 first (Houston's last tradeable first round pick thanks to the Stepien Rule) for use next year if necessary. Possible scenarios: Which contract(s) and for what type of deal are the only questions, and only time will tell what those needs are (best player available/positional need/salary cap savings) and how to best fulfill them. There are a ton of options and no one can tell what sort of needs or opportunities will arise by mid-way through next season. But by waiting to strike until that point, Morey maximizes his potential to do the best thing for the team going forward, whether it is a small move for tax savings, a big splash for a disgruntled superstar, or even the beginning of a total rebuild. Waiting until the deadline also gives guys like Gordon and Westbrook a chance to overcome the injuries that plagued them in 2020 and raise their trade value. Trading either one of these contracts for multiple smaller contracts (at 80% value) is the fastest and easiest way to get to within striking distance of avoiding the tax again this year, and allowing Morey to 3-peat in cap wizardry. I suppose I'll predict that 1) Gordon and a pick will be headed someplace like Philadelphia, who could use his shooting (maybe for Josh Richardson and Zaire Smith?) or perhaps, 2) Morey will work with Monte McNair in Sacramento to do a deal for someone (maybe Nemanja Bjelica and Jabari Parker?), much like he did with his other recent protégé-turned-GM, Gersson Rosas, at the 2020 deadline. Of course, there is always the chance that Fertitta will find some money in his couch cushions, or have a come-to-Jesus moment that inspires him to pay the tax, which would open up the possibility of trading for a player who makes equal or more money or potentially even using the MLE this year. In the extremely off-chance that that happens, a perfect candidate would be Myles Turner in Indiana, who would provide the stretch-big rim protector that would fit so well in Houston's system. Aaron Gordon would also fit really well into Houston's system as long as he can hit a corner 3. Doing either of these trades and avoiding the tax is within the realm of feasibility if another contract (e.g. House or Tucker's) is included with Gordon's. And to wrap this up, a few potential FA targets to use the MLE (or a potential S&T) on if it somehow becomes possible: Serge Ibaka, Jerami Grant, Aaron Baynes, Davis Bertans, Bogdan Bogdanovich, a Morris twin, Danilo Gallinari, Anthony Davis.
The hunt for Xavier Ligonnès is enough to drive you crazy. It’s like looking for a lost object, a bank card for example, of which we can determine the exact moment of disappearance: we used it to pay, it was there, and the next moment it is not there anymore. Logic dictates that we look for it where we usually store it (a wallet, a handbag), then where it could be (a back pocket of pants, a hall cabinet), and the less we find it , the more we seem to see it everywhere. Faced with absence, the brain constructs images (the credit card in an office drawer, as a bookmark in a book, forgotten on the counter of the last store) but these are fictions or mirages; they encourage further research but they do not provide a solution. Xavier Ligonnès’s apparent volatilization follows the same logic and produces the same effects on the investigation. The more weeks and months go by, the more places to look get smaller. Emmanuel Teneur ends up leading the investigators to the Société Générale agency on Place Royale in Nantes, but the safe he holds there is simply empty. A request for information on Joven Soliman is sent to the security attaché for the French Embassy in the Philippines. He is a sedevacantist priest, a fringe of traditionalist Catholicism who considers the Pope to be an imposter. The attaché transmits the hours of mass where he officiates. A trip to the Philippines is being considered, but that would mean going to the other side of the world to look for a needle in the thousands of islands of the archipelago. If this track has never been closed, nothing has supported it to date. Since we must push logic to the end, the investigators even contact the American authorities to corroborate or contradict the story of protected witnesses told by Ligonnès in his famous letter. The DEA has never heard of the individual, and the liaison officer based at the Miami consulate assures us that his last trip to the United States was in 2003: Ligonnès arrived in Florida on July 18 and left on August 22. The study of his entourage also did not highlight anyone capable of providing false papers to the fugitive, and if he had gone through a criminal network, the police believed that an informant would undoubtedly have warned them to protect himself. Then there are the news reports: the portrait of Ligonnès goes around France, and even if he has undoubtedly changed his physical appearance, his hairstyle, perhaps had even resorted to cosmetic surgery, someone, somewhere, might recognize him one day. After all, that’s how John List, a New Jersey insurance salesman who killed his wife and mother in 1971, was arrested. He waited for two of his children to return from school to coldly shoot them, then attended his youngest son’s football game before shooting bullets through him at home. He evaded justice for 18 years until a co-worker recognized him from a report on America’s Most Wanted. Rarely has a criminal case given rise to as many appeals as that of Ligonnès, because his stalking not only bewitches the police, it torments an entire country. More than 1000 reports, thousands of pages of depositions, letters, verifications. You have to imagine the miles of printed paper that this represents when they are stacked on a desk. The most recent: in July, after the broadcast of a Netflix documentary on the subject in the United States, the producers of the film claimed to have received an interesting lead in Chicago; but it’s just one more drop in the bucket. Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès has been seen in Annecy, Nancy, Cholet, Corsica (several times); on the side of a road, thumbs up, by a French tourist in Las Vegas; disguised as a chimney sweep in Nîmes; in a hotel in Cantal and in a pizzeria where he paid cash in a hurry; seen again in Germany, in Italy, and heard on the telephone by the reception of the psychiatric hospital of Troyes. Since he disappeared looking like the ordinary neighbor, since he was a representative and his profession has taken him to all corners of France, there is no less reason to see him in Mulhouse than in Roche-sur-Yon, and you can simply see him everywhere. Aire de Lançon-Provence in July 2020 Extracts: “It was the same look, except that he looked very sad, in the west, but he had the same glasses as in the photo you are showing me”; “He looked like a man like everyone else, but there was something odd in his eyes;” “Yesterday, around 1:00 pm, I was watching the news on television on the TFI channel. I saw a report where an individual killed his children and his wife before disappearing into the wild. (...) Seeing the gentleman in the photo, I made the connection with the person whom I had crossed Sunday afternoon because he had the same smile.” At the Vauvert tourist office: “I hardly look at the news, but Thursday evening I saw the photo of Mr. Ligonnès, I had the impression of having already seen him, my heart was racing.” Between Carpentras and Avignon, when he comes back from the bakery, the manager of one of Nicolas Sarkozy’s brothers crosses paths with a man with a beige bob, which he is certain is the fugitive. “I flashed,” he says. “For me, there is no doubt. This is him.” Still more letters are sent to the police to offer them help. An amateur astrologer requests a copy of the suspect’s birth certificate to establish a birth chart, a woman in child-like writing recommended a great medium who had helped her find her daughter who had become a junkie in Marseille. A prisoner asked in writing to be sent to Guinea to go hunt him down in the jungle, attaching to his letter a list of the necessary equipment, including infrared glasses and a “samurai sword.” With each letter, with each phone call to report a suspicious individual, investigators attempt to cross-reference the information. They patiently collect the testimonies of the depositors to know where Xavier Ligonnès was seen, if he was accompanied or not, what was his size and his outfit. Inconsistent testimonies or those referring to individuals who are too young (Ligonnès would be 59 years old today) and too small (he measures a little over 1.80 meters) are discarded. For the others, investigators check the CCTV recordings, when they have not been erased and when the cameras have actually recorded on tape. If the person has been spotted pumping gasoline, in a Géant Casino, or in a Courtepaille, they trace the means of payment used and seize the duplicates of bank cards. They give priority to the restaurants, especially the Buffalo Grill, Ligonnès’ favorite establishment. And when the trail is still hot and the dishes haven’t been done yet, they collect DNA from the plates and cutlery. A few months after the start of the investigation, the investigating judge in charge of the case will even be forced to ask them to slow down, the seals starting to take on the appearance of a china cabinet in a large restaurant. The Total service station in Lançon-Provence, July 2020 The PJ of Nantes believed on several occasions to finally have in hand the winning ticket and to be on the point of intercepting Ligonnès. This was the case in Borgo, where a photo taken from the video surveillance of a supermarket in this small Corsican town was very similar. Upon verification, it was only a local. They believed in it even more in January 2018 when they were told that an individual with a strong resemblance to Xavier Ligonnès was at the Saint-Désert Notre-Dame de Pitié monastery near Roquebrune-sur-Argens. About twenty police officers raided and searched the premises until they came across Brother Jean-Marie Joseph, who certainly looked disturbingly like Ligonnès, but who was not him. In still other cases, the police were never able to “close the track,” and it is perhaps Ligonnès who was seen. For example, in Lançon-Provence, April 26, 2011. That day, at 2:44 am, Mahjoub B., a handler by profession, parks his vehicle at the Total service station after the Lançon-Provence toll. He fills up, then goes to the store to pay. On his way, he passes a 45- to 50-year-old man, about six feet tall, who hangs out there between the gas pumps and the store. When he returns to his vehicle, his colleague asks him if he has seen the man, whom he is convinced is the one everyone is looking for, the one who killed his family in Nantes. Mahjoub then takes a new look at the individual, notices that he is wearing glasses, light jeans, that he has brown hair a little graying and a beard of a day. At his feet, four rigid shopping bags, one red, one white, one brown and one whose color he cannot distinguish. Inside the store, employees also noticed the individual. He’s been out for almost three hours. At one point, he walks in to ask for free coffee, as part of a promotion. Behind her cash register, Jocelyne H. notes a detail: he is missing a tooth. “The second on the left, I believe,” she says when heard by investigators. This is information that has never filtered out and yet, it’s true – a little detail, Xavier Ligonnès was missing a tooth. Little by little, the space has filled in, but you can always see it when he smiles. The images from the station’s surveillance cameras are confusing: if this man is not the one we are looking for, it must be his twin brother. At 3 a.m., the cameras show him hitchhiking by a Volkswagen Combi, which investigators quickly find. The driver’s name is Christophe B. He has not heard of the case, and he must be one of the only ones in the country; but Christophe is no longer listening to the news because, he says, “the news is bad all the time.” From the hitchhiker on the night of the 25th to the 26th, he remembers that he “did not smell very good” and that he had a growing beard. They didn’t discuss much. The man simply told him that he was coming from Paris where he had gone to see “his sick old father,” and that he wanted to take the train to Aix-en-Provence. Christophe dropped him off at a motorway exit, the 30 or the 31, between 4 a.m. and 4.15 a.m. The surveillance cameras at Aix train station allow you to get back on track. He is filmed on the forecourt at 6 am, he wears light pants, a dark jacket. He buys a ticket at 1.20 euro, free destination. Then we lose track. Despite all the checks, despite all the cameras, it will be impossible to track this man perfectly resembling Dupont de Ligonnès, who could nevertheless have confirmed that he was, at least on this date, still alive. How can one suddenly evaporate in plain sight, and how could a man who has collected chess all his life accomplish this feat? The XDDL mystery makes it possible to scaffold all the theories. These flourish in books, in docudramas and, of course, on the Internet. We imagine Ligonnès protected by the secrecy of a monastery, flown to the United States, where he can go unnoticed thanks to his English without an accent, or even on the escape alongside a woman he would have manipulated. The police officers in charge of the case do not work on theories or psychological profiles, but according to a scientific approach: they always start from a fact, which opens a track, which they then explore until the end, close, and move on to another. This method is also a way to protect yourself from endless guesswork, or insanity, but it doesn’t always work. Several times, the track looks like a highway towards the fugitive, and the police are convinced that they will finally close this investigation. But they end up stumbling upon the worst thing ever, as was the case with the allusion to Emmanuel Teneur’s sailboat: coincidences. Coincidence number 1. When the Ligonnès C5 was discovered in the Formula 1 car park in Roquebrune, the night watchman informed them that two reservations had been made in the name of Dupont Xavier, one on April 5 and the another on April 14. The hotel manager then specifies that the first reservation was actually made for April 6. That day, however, XDDL was in Nantes, probably digging the grave of Thomas, murdered the day before. Had he thought of accomplishing his crimes earlier or had he reserved a room for an accomplice, who might have been hiding something for him? The videos of April 5 and 6 are no longer available, but payment for the room was made with a Crédit Agricole credit card. The number gives a name, Faiçal E., and an address. Could it be an accomplice? The checks are launched immediately lead to a man who simply used “Dupont Xavier” as an assumed name - like Ligonnès - to book a night in the same hotel, the same year, the same month, within ten days. Coincidence number 2. The liaison officer in Miami launches research around the various aliases used by XDDL, for operations of “mystery shopper” or to stay in hotels. In the FBI file, he finds a certain Xavier Laurent, one of Ligonnès’s favorite nicknames, installed in Jacksonville, north of Florida. Jacksonville is not just any city. This is where Hugues, the cousin of XDDL lived, and it is also this locality that Ligonnès and his friend Michel Rétif declared to customs in 1990 during their trip to the United States. At the very end of the personalized letter sent to Michel on April 8, Xavier Ligonnès seemed to allude to it: “I will think about you there.(Not the right to tell you where, but you went there with me...in November 90…a clue to dig.LOL).” But this Xavier Laurent is another twist of fate: the police come across a certain Evan Shaffer, a petty criminal who has chosen this alias to commit crimes. Coincidence number 3. Ten days before the crimes, XDDL reconnects with a childhood sweetheart, Catherine K., whom he met in Versailles in the 1980s. Between March 22 and 24, they exchange text messages and try to find a date to meet the week of April 12, in Chamonix. These messages intrigue the investigators, some answers seem surprising, almost illogical, and they suspect Ligonnès of having wanted to ensure a logistical relay in his escape. A little later, a certain Patrick O. reports having seen XDDL in the queue of a Sixt car rental agency at Nice airport on April 17, 2011. By peeling the names of dozens of people having rented a car that day, the police officers miss the infarction: in capital letters, white on black, appears the surname of Catherine, who would have rented a vehicle at 1:30 am. A few hours later, their heart rate drops again: it was only a perfect disambiguation. Each coincidence causes the same chain of reactions. First a eureka!, the certainty of having finally found the tiny detail from which to trace everything. The police then cast their nets like fishermen on the high seas, telephone or banking requisitions, requests for listings, identity checks. Then they wait. It can last from a few hours to several weeks, and inevitably it is a burning, nagging wait, tense by the fear that the track will fly away. Finally, there is the immense disappointment and the obligation to face reality again: Xavier Ligonnès is still nowhere to be found, a track has flown again, and we have to hoist the rock up the mountain again. Those who have worked or are still working on the affair strive to maintain a cold, rational, police facade. But little by little, by dint of chasing a shadow - not even a shadow, a ghost - obsession lurks. One of them, a police officer with a professional Protestant pastor, now out of the investigation, still returned until recently to consult the investigation file every week, saying he simply wanted to put the 12,000 pages of documents in order. For a year, a criminal analyst has also been mobilized. He enters all the elements of the file in a software which digests them and spits out, perhaps, new threads to draw. In the meantime, the two police officers who are still following the investigation - one at the PJ in Nantes, one at the OCRVP, in Paris - “live” the case, as their colleagues say. Among these thousands of pages there is no doubt a clue that has gone unnoticed or, better, a lead that has not yet been explored. Track number 1. Who typed “fraternité saint-thomas becket” on Google on April 3 at 11:34 pm, before clicking on a link in the Cité-Catholique forum? Is it the same person who, the same night at 2:01 am, from an iPhone, did the search for “communion state mortal sin,” bringing it to the same forum? On April 8, the user of this phone will in any case send the search engine the request “hello Chacou”, which will lead him (her) again to the Cité-Catholique forum. Chacou was one of the pseudonyms of Xavier Ligonnès. Investigators saw crazier coincidences, but still: can it really be someone other than Xavier Ligonnès, who himself connected to Cité-Catholique almost every day of his escape? The last article published on the site about Saint-Thomas Becket, an ultra-traditionalist fraternity which practices mass in Latin, dates from January 2009. It indicates the name of its founder, Father Jean-Pierre Gac, and specifies this: “Born in the diocese of Blois where there are two communities (…), the fraternity has also extended in the diocese of Toulon - a parish is also entrusted to them in Ollioules.” Ollioules is located six kilometers from La Seyne-on-Mer, where XDDL spent its penultimate known night, and 94 kilometers from Roquebrune. Jean-Pierre Gac was questioned by the police but claimed to have never been in contact with the fugitive. Investigators have always believed in the possibility that Ligonnès took refuge in a monastery in the Var. They considered to search them one by one, before understanding that there are dozens and dozens of brotherhoods and fraternities, that they are not always castles of the Purple Rivers but sometimes simple farms, lost in the hinterland. To mount a search, it would be necessary to ensure that they do not communicate with each other, and therefore to visit them all at the same time. The examining magistrate quickly tempered the fervor of the police and declared the operation impossible. Track number 2. Xavier Ligonnès had two secret Facebook accounts. The first is named after his favorite country singer, Waylon Jennings. One of his nieces had also found him a month before the crimes, sending him a message, “but who is behind this nickname?,” to which XDDL had immediately replied “How did you manage to arrive on the Waylon Jennings Facebook profile? Too clever! Microsoft Advantage??? Kiss.” The second account concerns a certain “George Town” residing in Nantes and is linked to one of Ligonnès’ many email addresses, [email protected]. The police send a requisition to the management of Facebook in Palo Alto to obtain the creation and connection logs of the two profiles. The answer comes in days: the first was created in February 2010, the second in December 2007, when France had barely discovered the social network. Above all, the response indicates that Ligonnès connected to the two accounts on the night of April 4 to 5, between the first assassinations and that of Thomas. The profiles have since been deleted but suggest he could have used them to communicate with a third party. Catherine K., the youthful lover that XDDL contacted a few days before the tragedy, also reported to the police that she had been approached by a certain Philippe Steiner, whom she did not know, around May 20. He sent her a strange message, suggesting that they might have had a relationship in the past. When she went to respond, the profile had already been deleted. Today there are almost 100 Facebook accounts on behalf of Waylon Jennings, some are created and deleted every day. Track number 3. When the Ligonnès family is having their last meal on April 3, 2011, around 9 pm, a young woman walks through the glass doors of the police station on Place Waldeck-Rousseau in Nantes. Originally from a small village near Vannes, Julie is a BTS student and comes to file a complaint: the Twingo that her father lets her drive has been broken into, probably during the night. There was not much inside, but Julie reported the theft of her car radio as well as the vehicle’s logbook, which she normally stored in a small Renault gray faux leather pouch. This same pouch was found on April 22 in the dresser of the Ligonnès living room where Xavier used to store his papers, during the investigation the day after the discovery of the bodies. The police did not follow this track: they put the break-in of Julie’s car on the account of one of the Ligonnès sons, Arthur, who had already been arrested for theft of a bicycle and driving under the influence of cannabis. But why would Arthur have taken the vehicle papers with the car stereo, and why would he put them in the middle of his father’s papers? And if the theft was committed by Xavier Ligonnès a few hours before killing his family, how can this be explained? Was he able to steal other identity papers to facilitate his escape? In this case, it is always about cars. Those imported by XDDL from the United States, the Citroën C5 from the escape, the vehicles he claimed had been stolen over the years: the first at the Brest police station in 1998, while living in Pornic, a second at the same time at the Saint-Nazaire police station, and then again, in Nantes, on May 17, 2006, a Golf convertible finally found then sold a few months later to a mechanic, a friend of Cédric M. Cédric M. is never far away when it comes to cars. He is also a mechanic, that’s how Ligonnès met him in Vannes a few years earlier. He is one of the recipients of the departure letter, therefore a close friend. He was even the first employee of the RDC. Ligonnès regularly went to visit him in Locmalo in the heart of Morbihan, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Nantes. With Cédric and his partner, Renaud, they went to the local creperie. They had lunch there together on March 31, 2011, four days before the crimes. In the village, it is said that Ligonnès took care of the dark accounts of the “guys,” who have quite a reputation. Could he have built up a slush fund there that no one would have found until now? Cédric and Renaud’s garage is not indicated by any sign. It is at the end of a road. In the yard, wrecks of American cars and a goat on a leash. Inside, Renaud is working on a shiny yellow Cadillac. His attitude is confusing. He is angry with the police who have never come to question him when he is, according to him, “the last to have seen [Xavier] alive. But I will not tell you when, because that the date is important,” he adds before returning to his Cadillac, wrench in hand. To date, Renaud has still not been heard by investigators. At the same time, reports continue to flow. Ligonnès seen in Mulhouse, on the four lanes between Saint-Brieuc and Rennes in a Peugeot 308 and overtaking on the right, Ligonnès seen again in Tunis and Toulouse. Ligonnès seen, but never caught. Next Section-Part 2D
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