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‘Godfather' Game Unveiled

18 Feb, 2005 By: John Gaudiosi

The Godfather game features Robert DuvallÆs character from the movie.

NEW YORK — Electronic Arts (EA) unveiled taped gameplay of its new video game franchise based on The Godfather movie and book.

Both Xbox 2 and Xbox footage were shown at the press event in New York's Little Italy. With The Godfather shipping this fall, EA all but confirmed that Microsoft's next Xbox will be shipping this holiday. (Other developers have also confirmed that Xbox 2, which has yet to be officially named or announced, will be on store shelves this fall.) The Godfather will ship for PS2, Xbox 2, Xbox, PC and PSP this fall.

With actors James Caan (Sonny Corleone) and Robert Duvall (Tom Hagen) on hand, EA showed the virtual characters that use the voices and likenesses of these actors to bring their characters to life. While the game will put players in the role of an original character, he will interact with the virtual Caan and Duvall throughout the game. In the game, Hagen will teach the player about the art of negotiation, and Sonny will point out the importance of intimidation. To succeed, the player must balance the line between intimidation and negotiation.

The event also unveiled footage of Marlon Brando. The actor spent four hours in a recording booth delivering new lines for the game, and reading old lines from the film. No film dialogue can be used in the game because of technology differences, so the game's re-creation of classic scenes from the film had to be recorded from scratch.

An additional 20 actors from the movie provided likenesses and voices for the game. And in the case of actors who have since passed away, likenesses and sound-alikes were used for the game. Rounding out the strong audio experience is 100 minutes of original music from Hollywood composer Bill Conti, as well as the original theme song from Nino Rota.

The video game will go well beyond the scope of the book and the Francis Ford Coppola movie. EA creative director Philip Campbell, who wrote the game's script, said that new characters will be introduced. Other characters, including Luca Brasi and Paulie Gatto, will have bigger roles than they did in the film. He said Paramount Pictures and Viacom granted EA the rights to expand the fiction beyond the scope of the film and novel. Campbell worked with novelist Mark Weingartner (The Godfather Returns), who served as an adviser on the game script.

“We took the movie as a starting point and looked at the story of five families competing for turf,” said Hunter Smith, senior producer, The Godfather game. “You're not playing the movie game with this experience. You have your own original story that intersects with characters and high points from the first film.”

The Godfather will put players in New York City circa 1945 to 1955. About 80 percent of the gameplay will focus on interacting with characters on foot, while the remaining 20 percent will include driving vehicles through New York to expand your crime empire.

Makers said the game, despite its ‘Mature' rating for violence and language, is a thinking-man's game, rather than a gangster shootout.

“This is not a game that you can play guns ablazing,” Campbell said. “If you go in with that James Cagney attitude, you'll end up dead. You'll have to master the art of bribery, intimidation and negotiation to earn respect in this game.”

In fact, the game will punish players for being overly violent, makers said. Players need to get information from characters before beating them to a pulp. Once they've served their purpose, then players can kill them.

The game was designed with both the casual and hardcore gamer in mind, makers said. Campbell believes the casual player will be able to beat the game in about 15 hours by rising from a two-bit criminal to eliminating the heads of the four families. But hardcore gamers will continue playing the game for an additional 25 hours as they assume the role of the Don and play until they've become the “Don of Dons,” the “King of New York,” ruling over all five families.

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