Liberty City is a pretty dangerous place. For the aspiring criminal, however, there is no shortage of money to be made. Various organized crime groups inhabit the sprawling metropolis all trying to make a buck. None are more dangerous than La Cosa Nostra, or LCN.
The Mafia has played a significant role in the Grand Theft Auto franchise, particularly in the 3D Era. Protagonists throughout the series sometimes are mafiosos themselves, like Tommy Vercetti and Toni Cipriani. Ten LCN organizations have been portrayed over the years. Whether as allies or as enemies, these Mafia families are undeniably influential, just as they are in real life.
10 The Sindacco Family
The weakest of the bunch, the Sindacco Family of the 3D Era has gone through some rough times. It’s the only LCN organization of that era where the protagonist has never worked for them. Consistently portrayed as enemies, they often bear the brunt of the player character’s destruction.
In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas the don’s son, Johnny Sindacco, is terrorized by CJ on multiple occasions (like when he is tied to the hood of a car). By the time of Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories the Leone Family wages constant war with them. Their power is chipped away to such an extent that even Paulie Sindacco himself, the family’s boss, is assassinated by Toni Cipriani. By 2001, the setting of Grand Theft Auto III, there is nothing left of them in Liberty City.
9 The Ancelotti Family
Similar to the Sindaccos, the Ancelotti Crime Family suffers quite a few setbacks in the HD Era. Although a member of the Commission in Grand Theft Auto IV, they are often seen as the weakest of the five syndicates. This, in part, is due to their many ongoing wars with other Mafia and organized crime groups.
Niko Bellic inflicts a serious toll on the Ancelotti Family throughout the events of the fourth title. He manages to assassinate at least three high-ranking members of the organization while working for the various rivals of the syndicate. At one point Niko even manages to kidnap the boss’s daughter, Gracie, and holds her for ransom.
8 The Pegorino Family
In Grand Theft Auto IV the Pegorino Family is based in Alderney, a state modeled after New Jersey. Jimmy Pegorino, the family boss, employs Niko Bellic extensively throughout the game. It’s due to Niko’s help that the Pegorinos are able to gain the upper hand over their rivals, the Ancelotti Family. Despite this, the organization still lacks a Commission seat, much to Jimmy’s frustration.
The other LCN families of Liberty City view the Pegorinos with disdain. At the conclusion of the story, Jimmy Pegorino is eventually killed by either Niko or Dimitri depending on which ending is triggered. Interestingly, the Pegorino Family seems to be based on the real-life DeCavalcante Family, an organization that also served as a loose inspiration for the syndicate depicted in The Sopranos.
7 The Lupisella Family
The Lupisella Family is perhaps the most shadowy Mafia organization in the series. Their depiction in Grand Theft Auto IV is very sporadic and specific details on the family are sparse. Information on them that is obtainable comes from LCPD data entries and a few lines of NPC dialogue.
When the power structure of the other families is taken into account it can be surmised that the Lupisellas are only marginally more powerful than the Ancelotti and Pegorino Families. Their boss, Vincent Lupisella, is supposedly retired. The don’s nephew is said to be calling the shots despite his reputation as a dangerous maniac.
6 The Messina Family
The Messina Family is a well-respected and powerful LCN syndicate in Liberty City. In Grand Theft Auto IV and Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars players can surmise that much of their power stems from labor racketeering, prostitution, and narcotics.
Harvey Noto is said to be the boss of the family. Some of their criminal operations are known to be conducted out of the Majestic Hotel. In The Ballad of Gay Tony Luis Lopez disrupts many of the Messina Family rackets for the Ancelotti syndicate. Niko Bellic does likewise for Yusuf Amir in Grand Theft Auto IV.
5 The Forelli Family
In the 3D Era, the Forelli Family was the most powerful LCN organization in the 1980s. Their influence wasn’t limited to Liberty City alone. The Forelli Family also possessed extensive interests in Vice City, another metropolis teeming with corruption.
In 1986, longtime boss Sonny Forelli sent one of his made men, Tommy Vercetti, to get things organized for the family in Vice City. Tommy accomplishes his mission but is betrayed by Sonny, who is subsequently killed in a wild shootout. After that, the Forelli Family experienced a slow decline. The last remnants of the organization are seemingly wiped out during the events of Grand Theft Auto III.
4 The Pavano Family
Among the Five Families that sit on the Commission, the Pavano syndicate is one of the most powerful. The head of the family is currently Maria Valvona. According to tidbits gleaned from the LCPD database it can be assumed that the organization is heavily involved in the distribution of heroin in Liberty City.
During the events of Grand Theft Auto IV, Jimmy Pegorino attempts to arrange a sit-down with representatives of the Pavano Family. The meeting, however, turns out to be an ambush. It’s only due to the intervention of Niko Bellic that Pegorino is able to survive the encounter.
3 The Sicilian Mafia
The Sicilian Mafia serves as the central antagonistic force in Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories. They orchestrate many of the misfortunes the Leone Family experiences by pulling the strings behind-the-scenes. The organization is led by Uncle Leone, an old and experienced mafioso who turns out to be extremely cunning.
Massimo Torini is the Sicilian Mafia’s representative in Liberty City. His goal was to sow as much chaos for the Leone Family as possible so that the Sicilians could move in once the dust had settled. The plan very nearly succeeded. Thanks to the actions of Toni Cipriani, however, Torini is killed and Uncle Leone’s complicity is brought to light.
2 The Leone Family
Salvatore Leone is a ubiquitous character in the 3D Era games. By the time of Grand Theft Auto III he commands the most powerful Mafia organization in the city. The Forellis and the Sindaccos, having been reduced to practically nothing by this point, offer very little resistance.
The Leone Family keeps a pretty tight grip on Portland Island. Their biggest rivals, the Triads, are kept in check by family capo Toni Cipriani and newcomer Claude. Many fronts exist for the organization, including Luigi’s club and Joey Leone’s automotive garage. Nevertheless, Salvatore’s paranoid scheming eventually catches up to him. After Claude escapes an assassination attempt by his former employer he exacts revenge by whacking Salvatore as a favor to the Yakuza.
1 The Gambetti Family
The Gambetti Family is, without a doubt, the most powerful LCN organization in Liberty City. They are loosely based on the real-life Gambino Crime Family, an organization often cited as the most influential Mafia family in New York City. The Gambettis are led by the ailing-but-shrewd Jon Gravelli.
Niko Bellic is employed by Gravelli as a freelancer to help maintain the family’s iron grip. They appear to have significant ties to City Hall, which partly helps to explain their top dog status in the underworld. With Niko’s help, they manage to prevent further inroads from non-Italian gangs in the city.