EA not offering Godfather until 2006

PC, PSP, PS2, and Xbox versions of Mafia-movie adaptation not arriving until Q1 2006; Xbox 360 edition due sometime "later."

Although Q4 2005 was already looking packed with game releases, there was one offer gamers couldn't refuse. The Godfather, Electronic Arts' adaptation of Francis Ford Coppola's classic 1972 mafia movie epic, was at the top of many shopping lists. Besides the game's subject matter and Grand Theft Auto-style gameplay, it has the novelty of being one of EA's few M-rated games. It also appeals to owners of every non-Nintendo platform, with PC, PSP, Xbox, and PlayStation 2 versions due out this year and an Xbox 360 edition also in development

However, today would-be-Mafiosi learned they won't be able to muscle in on any virtual rackets this year. In a press release timed to go out alongside its annual summer press event, EA announced that all current-generation versions of The Godfather would be released during the company's fourth fiscal quarter. EA's fiscal year does not end at midnight on December 31, instead concluding on March 31, 2006, as do those of many game companies wishing to add holiday sales to their annual earnings.

More uncommon was the candor EA showed by explaining the simple reason for the delay--namely, it won't be ready in time. "The Godfather is one of the most cherished franchises in entertainment," said executive producer David DeMartini in a statement. "Releasing the game in early 2006 allows us more time to perfect the open-world experience of being a member of the Corleone family."

But while the game will feature figures from the Godfather books and films, do not expect to step into the Italian loafers of Don Vito Corleone, mob scion Sonny Corleone, or consigliere Tom Hagen. While all three characters will appear in the game with the likenesses of the actors that played them in the film (and, with the exception of Marlon Brando's Vito, have their voices), players of the game will create an all-new character who begins as a Mafia foot soldier. As they run various missions in a sprawling re-creation of 1940s New York City, players' characters will rise through the ranks of the Corleone organization, eventually entering the inner circle of La Cosa Nostra.

EA also said "a next-generation console version" of The Godfather "will appear later," meaning after March 31, 2006. So far, only an Xbox 360 version of the game has been announced. The delay means that now the earliest gamers will see the next-gen Corleone clan is Q2 2006--right around the "spring" launch window of Sony's PlayStation 3.

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