When Electronic Arts first revealed it was working on a game adaptation of The Godfather, many gamers felt like it was an offer they could refuse. As with VU Games' Scarface, there was a lot of skepticism about how such an iconic film could be turned into a viable game. Would it feature the likenesses and voices of the film's original cast? Could it be surprising, even though the film's ending is well known?
Until today, EA had let questions about the Godfather linger in an information vacuum worthy of omertà, the Mafia vow of silence. However, following this morning's article in the Hollywood Reporter, which revealed that the game would feature voice acting by original cast members James Caan, Robert Duvall, and (posthumously) Marlon Brando, the publisher opened up the books on its mob sim.
According to a statement issued by EA late today, the Godfather is set for a fall 2005 release on the PlayStation 2, Xbox, PSP, and PC. While "the book by Mario Puzo and classic film by Paramount Pictures serve as inspiration for the game," it will also offer up an all-new storyline featuring characters from the film. Players will begin by creating their own character, a low-end hood trying to earn on the mean streets of New York City from 1945 to 1955. After working a series of small-time jobs and earning a modicum of respect, the character will join the storied Corleone family and interact with figures from the film such as family heir Sonny Corleone (Caan), consigliere Tom Hagen (Duvall), and the capo di tutti capi, Don Vito Corleone (Brando).
The Godfather will feature Grand Theft Auto-style nonlinear gameplay, which will "offer gamers countless choices for solving the family’s problems with brutal violence, skillful diplomacy, or a cunning mixture of both," according to EA. Mission types will run the entire criminal gamut, including simple shakedowns, bank robberies, drive-by shootings, and high-profile hits. The game will also have a branching plotline à la Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, where "decisions made by the player in the game will have lasting consequences."
"We are incredibly excited and honored to have the opportunity to bring the fiction of The Godfather to life in a video game," said executive producer David DeMartini. "The Godfather movies raised the standard for cinematic achievement with their high level of drama and intense storytelling, and in fall 2005 gamers will be able to experience that dangerous and living world of The Godfather for themselves."
The Godfather is being developed internally by EA at its central Redwood Shores studio. Though no rating has been officially announced yet, executives have said it will definitely carry an M for Mature rating.