Earlier this year, EA announced that it would be delaying The Godfather II from late February to early April. One of the features EA's Redwood Shores development studio has been working on with that added time is a new addition called Don Control, which is an option available in online multiplayer matches that gives aspiring mafiosi a chance to take their leadership skills from the single-player campaign and apply them in a live setting. We recently visited EA Redwood Shores for a chance to see what Don Control is all about.
We've previously covered the basics of The Godfather II's online multiplayer. Our look at the game from this past December will give you all you need to know about the fundamentals, but the quick and dirty of it is that all those skills you and your crew earn in single-player are carried over in multiplayer, giving you a chance to play as anyone you want to from your family--not just the main character, Dominic Corleone. You'll then take these upgraded skills and weapons (and, of course, pastel-colored polyester leisure suits) into a handful of online scenarios that build upon a core of third-person action with various objective-based gameplay modes.
Boiled down, your typical online match will have a pair of teams running around, controlling their characters from the third-person perspective while shooting one another and activating certain triggers to reach objectives. Familiar stuff, right? That's where Don Control comes in to mess with your conceptions. Rather than a specific mode, Don Control is an option you can activate prior to the match that lets one player from each team become a sort of disembodied, omnipotent leader for the duration of that match.
You're confused. Allow us to back up. The single-player mode is all about managing your team of made men and taking out other factions in order to build your wealth. Don Control lends this sort of feeling to multiplayer by first giving you the chance to elect a leader and then bringing money into the equation by having those two team leaders bet money earned from their single-player campaigns on the outcome of the match. Each leader can then give their teammates a cut of the winnings to spur them onward, turning simple online matches into a chance to profit, much like shaking down a rival family's business in the single-player game.
Then, when you jump into a match, the player assuming the role of the don is given a much different view of the battle than regular players. You're basically a free-floating camera that can move anywhere on the field of play. The don can then drop waypoints anywhere he wants--appearing as glowing columns on his teammates' screens--to signal points of interest, including a single member of the rival team that follows that poor soul anywhere he goes. However, there are also hold points your team can take control of that act as a sort of vending machine for the don to dole out perks whenever a player is in rough shape. These include a heal station, a station that will give you an armored vest, and an exploding station that the don can trigger whenever members of the enemy team invade your territory. These "gadgets" can be used only by the don, so it's up to the team to let him know when they're standing by the stations in need of assistance.
Essentially, Don Control--for those playing as the don--turns the match into a sort of light real-time strategy game where you have minions that talk back to you and quite often disobey you if they don't agree with your tactics. Such is the drawback to having a team made up entirely of human beings, but it adds a fun element of randomness you don't see in a lot of strategy games. And the ability to put money on the line that affects your cash reserves in your single-player campaign is another interesting element that ought to give these types of matches an added layer of excitement.
Don Control is on pace to be released as a title update on the very day The Godfather II arrives in stores. So that means you won't need to pay for it or search it out in Xbox Live Marketplace or the PlayStation Network Store. You'll pop in the disc, and if you're connected to the Internet, the game will update itself with this feature straight away. That release date is currently scheduled for April 7.