Facebook games giant Zynga believes it can win over the core gamer with its upcoming release Mafia Wars 2.
The game is the first true sequel from a company best known for its casual hits like FarmVille and CityVille, and serves as a further indication of how social network games are growing to be increasingly reliant on recognised brands.
When asked if the ‘hardcore social’ demographic was becoming more important, Zynga general manager Erik Bethke told MCV the firm "likes to surprise the cynical die-hard gamer, the ‘seen it all played it all’ gamer".
However, he emphasised that Mafia Wars 2 will not intentionally isolate one particular market, adding: "We think we should bring the Mafia Wars 2 experience to as many people as possible."
Bethke also commented on the recent success of rival Facebook game The Sims Social by EA. The publishing behemoth recently grabbed headlines when its social network instalment in the best-selling Sims series amassed 65m monthly active users.
Reaching this milestone made The Sims Social the second most popular game in Facebook history – second only to Zynga’s CityVille.
"From a personal perspective, I am really excited to see EA doing so well," said Bethke. "Its success shows how much opportunity there is in social games, and it shows you we’re at the beginning stages of all of this."