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|“||And I suggest you get lost before the cops show up.||„|
|~ Joe Barbaro to Brian O'Neill|
Joseph "Joe" Barbaro is a major character in the 2010 videogame Mafia II, in which he appears as the deuteragonist.
He is the best friend of protagonist and player character Vito Scaletta and during the course of the storyline the pair plan to rise in the ranks of the mafia and make a lot of money and become successful. Unlike Vito though Joe is not very subtle in his methods and is a lot more chaotic which causes them to land into trouble during the campaign.
He also appears as a player character and the main protagonist in the DLC Joe's Adventures, which bridges of the gap during Vito's imprisonment in the sixth main campaign chapter "Time Well Spent".
He was voiced by Robert Costanzo, who voices another character in the game name Derek Pappalardo.
Joe Barbaro and Vito Scaletta grew up on the same neighborhood together. Due to being from a poor area, the pair of them would commit petty crimes in order to make ends meet. This normally involved stealing.
In 1943, while smashing a window of a shop and stealing the contents, Joe and Vito were spotted by a patrolling cop. The cop gave chase and although Joe managed to escape, Vito got arrested. Vito joined the army instead of going to prison and was sent to Sicily. During Vito's time away, Joe became involved with the Clemente crime family and also got to know other criminals operating in Empire Bay.
|“||Wiseguys. You work for them, you're set. You fuck with 'em, you die.||„|
|~ Joe Barbaro to Vito Scaletta|
2 years after Vito's arrest, Vito got shot while on the line of duty and given a leave of absence. Joe greeted Vito at the train station and welcomed him back, and the pair shared a drink. Vito returned home to meet his mother and sister, and the next morning went to see Joe. As Vito's family was in debt due to his now-deceased father owing money, Joe offers to help Vito back on his feet as regular honest work would not cut it. During that day Joe shows Vito how to picklock a car and to use many of the body spray shops around the city, and later introduces him to junkyard owner Mike Bruski who gets Vito to steal him a car.
The following day Vito heads to the port on his mother's insistence to speak to the union boss Derek Pappalardo about getting a job. Vito gets bored of the hard labor, and when he mentions his involvement with Joe, Derek decides to give him a better paid job instead of back-breaking work. Derek first calls Joe to make sure what Vito claimed is due, which Joe confirms it is. While Vito collects some money owed to Derek, Joe calls Derek to inform Vito to meet him at a bar named Freddy's.
Once doing the work for Derek, Vito heads over to the bar where he is introduced to Henry Tomasino by Joe - a member of the Clemente crime family. Henry tasks Vito with stealing gas stamps from a federal government building. While Vito does that job, Joe is sent to do another task for Henry.
The next pair the pair of them rob a jewellery store as the owner owes the Clemente family money. During the heist they come into conflict with Brian O'Neill - the leader of an Irish gang. The cops arrive and a shootout ensues, but Joe and Vito manage to escape and much to their delight witness Brian getting arrested.
Joe, Vito and Henry take part in a job to kill a mobster known as the Fatman. They attack his brewery where the Fatman ends up shooting Henry in the leg and fatally wounding him. Joe and Vito kill the Fatman and get Henry to a private doctor to heal him up.
Vito is later arrested for selling the stolen gas stamps. Joe tracks down the witness and threatens him not to testify, but learns there is a bigger thread in the form of a soldier of the Clemente family. Joe tracks down the witness at a shack by the frozen lake outside the city and chases him down and kills him. Despite his best efforts though, Vito is still found guilty of his crime and is sentenced to 10 years in prison. An angry Joe confronts Clemente capo Luca Gurino over it. Enraged, Luca puts a hit out on Joe. Henry phones Joe and warns him about the hit. Joe subsequently leaves Empire Bay and heads South to go into hiding.
5 years later Joe returns to Empire Bay with a (terrible) disguise and meets up with Falcone crime family Capo Tony Balls who has been looking after Joe's flat. Joe carries out some tasks for the Falcone crime family, and is eventually brought to meet their Underboss Eddie Scarpa who promises that they will sort out Joe's problem with the Clemente family and get his life spared. Joe continues doing some jobs for the family, and later works for their capo Rocco. But Rocco turns traitor and tries to kill Eddie and Don Carlo Falcone so he can become the new head of the family. Joe and Eddie chase down Rocco to a building site, and Joe pursues him to the roof where he then throws Rocco off the edge and to his death.
Shortly after, Joe attends a meeting with Falcone to see Clemente, and sticks his middle up at a disgruntled Luca.
In 1951, Vito is released from prison after serving only 6 years with the help of his new ties to the mob through Vinci crime family consigliere Leo Galante. Vito visits Joe at his apartment and voices his interest to continue working for the mob, much to Joe's relief as he had believed Vito was turned straight inside. Joe sets Vito up with his own apartment and gives him some money to get started up. Later in the evening Joe introduces Vito to Scarpa, and the three of them head to the Cathouse Club to celebrate Vito's release. Both Joe and Eddie get heavily drunk, with only Vito remaining sober. As Vito drives the pair of them home in Eddie's car they notice a terrible smell, and Eddie reveals he has a body in the drunk. Eddie gets Vito to drive them to a small woodland near the Empire Bay observatory and he ends up burying the corpse and Joe and Eddie are too drunk. Joe and Eddie are later returned to Joe's apartment to sober up. The next morning, Joe has Vito help him sell cigarettes. It goes well, until a group of Greasers sets Eddie's truck on fire. Vito and Joe chase the Greasers, but lose them. They then call Eddie, who orders them to give him $2,000. With help from Steve Coyne, Vito, Joe, Steve, and their associate Marty kill the Greasers at their hideout in North Millville as revenge for setting Eddie's truck on fire, and for trashing a car that belonged to Steve's cousin, as well as knocking him out. After the shootout, Vito and Joe sell 2 Hot Rods to Derek and give Eddie the money. Later, after Vito helps deal with Luca Gurino at a meat processing plant, himself and Joe become "made men" into the Mafia. Vito then helps Joe kill Alberto Clemente by disguising themselves as janitors and setting explosives in a hotel suite. Unfortunately, their assassination attempt goes wrong as they discover that Clemente was using a restroom when the bomb exploded, and has Marty killed as well. Outraged, Vito and Joe chase Clemente down, and Joe riddles him with bullets, killing him. When Vito's house gets burned down, he and Joe kill Mickey Desmond, and Joe gives Vito access to Marty's old apartment in Oyster Bay. Later, Henry asks Vito and Joe to assist him with a business deal with Chinese gangsters involving drugs. Unfortunately, Mr. Wong, their boss, discovers that Henry was actually a federal informant, and has him butchered to death. Outraged by Mr. Wong's betrayal, Vito and Joe follow him to a restaurant in Chinatown, and kill all of his men. They eventually make their way to Mr. Wong's office, where he tells them that Henry was a federal informant, but Vito and Joe reject his claim, and have him executed. Vito then helps Joe kill Tommy Angelo for betrayal by having Mafia boss Ennio Saleari convicted in 1938. Unfortunately, Joe gets kidnapped by Frank Vinci for involvement with Henry. Although Vito rescues him, he takes Joe to a doctor for gunshot wound treatment. Later, Leo Galante tells Vito to kill Carlo Falcone at the Empire Bay observatory. Vito makes his way there, where he eventually witnesses Carlo ordering Joe to kill Vito. However, Joe rejects Carlo's plan to make him a Capo, claiming that he would never kill his best friend, and helps Vito kill him once and for all.
After Carlo's death, Joe and Vito leave the observatory where they come across Vinci's crew waiting outside. Vito assures Joe things are alright, and tells Leo that the job has been done. Leo announces that they will celebrate at the Cathouse much to the pleasure of Joe, until Leo tells Vito to ride with him in the car. Slightly concerned, Joe gets into another car with two mobsters. As the two cars drive down the road, Joe is driven away in another direction. Puzzled, Vito asks Leo where Joe is being taken. Leo breaks the news to Vito that Joe was not part of their deal, in which causes Vito to bet hit with the realization with the reality of the situation.
Joe survived the events through unknown circumstances, but it appeared he got spared for killing the triads and even began to work for Leo himself. However, Vito was led to believe his friend was killed, having spent years on the run before being betrayed, mutilated, and murdered. Vito spent years holding a deep grudge towards thsose who "murdered" Joe, and started plotting revenge and doing research on those involved.
In 1968, 17 years after the events that unfolded in 1951, Joe and the other mobsters accompanied an 81-year-old Leo to New Bordeaux so he could meet with a man named Lincoln Clay who had been waging a war against the Italian Mafia after Marcano crime family lead Sal Marcano murdered his friends. Leo makes a deal with Lincoln that he should stop his crusade now that he has killed Sal Marcano, and acknowledges that Sal was taking risks with the plan to build an illegal casino in the city. After Leo parts on good terms with Lincoln and making sure that anything Lincoln makes a share will go towards the commission, Leo heads back to his limousine in which Joe opens the door and lets him in. Joe gets in the front, but not before briefly glancing in Lincoln's direction. With that Joe, Leo and the other mobsters drive off, leaving Lincoln to run the criminal underworld in the city.
- Joe and Vito originally appeared in the Epilogue chapter of the first game Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven as unnamed mobsters who assassinate the protagonist Tommy Angelo. This connection is not given until the chapter of Mafia II - "Stairway to Heaven". In an error, "Joe" in the first game is seen wearing a suit and fedora hat, wheres in the Mafia II campaign chapter he wears his signature leather jacket and Hawaiian shirt.
- In cut dialogue, it is revealed that Joe was taken to see Mr. Chu at the end of the game.
- Although Joe is alive, Vito believes that he is in fact dead. If the player does side missions for Vito (which relate to killing off people as reprisal for the murder of Vito's "friend") he will gradually talk about Joe. Going by Vito's account Joe fled to Chicago, but ended up being betrayed and was mutilated and murdered. The "murder" of Joe led to Vito wanting revenge and spent a decade researching the guys who had Joe "killed", thus the reason he gives Lincoln the jobs. However, Lincoln does ask Vito if he is sure Joe is dead (due to the body being Joe's being unrecognizable), but Vito is sure that if Joe is alive who would have tracked him down. For whatever reason, despite Joe being alive, this is not the case.
- Joe and Vito are the only characters to appear in all four main games in the series, appearing in Mafia: City of Lost Heaven, Mafia II, Mafia III and Mafia: Definitive Edition.
- Although Leo's driver at the end of Mafia III strongly resembles Joe, the developers have refused to confirm the character's fate, leaving it up to the players to decide. However in Mafia: Definitive Edition, an improved model of a younger Joe Barbaro (using the Mafia III engine) strongly resembles the older Joe in Mafia III, all but confirming Joe does indeed appear in that game.
- The colors of Joe's jacket and tie at the end of Mafia III resembles his suit he wore at the end of the original Mafia.
- Voice actor Robert Costanzo unofficially reprised the role of Joe Barbaro in August 2020 (nearly on the tenth anniversary of Mafia II) for the Mafia Game Videos channel on Youtube. This was part of a video showing Joe Barbaro returning to Empire Bay with Leo Galante following the events of Mafia III, but not before stopping off at a gas station and making a secret call to Vito to reveal that he is alive and that Lincoln Clay maybe his son (a reference to a long debated fan theory).