Based on Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 movie of the same name, The Godfather is an action adventure game in which you'll assume the role of a member of the Corleone family and ultimately have an opportunity to become the don if that's what you aspire to. The game was originally scheduled for release late last year, but as executive producer David DeMartini explains, it's now benefiting from some extra time in development.
GameSpot: How is development of the game going? What have you been focusing on?
David DeMartini: At this point we are focusing on polish, polish, polish. All the groundwork has been laid, the heart of the game is complete, and now we just need to finish strong. We are almost ready to go, and we are very excited about the results.
GS: Why did you decide to delay it?
DD: When you are dealing with a property like The Godfather, you have to take special care in making sure your work meets the level fans have come to expect from the franchise. With this fiction in our game, we had to hit a home run. I am tremendously thankful that EA gave our team the time we needed to get it right. I think it turned a good game into a great one.
GS: Given the ESRB's scrutiny of games in the wake of the Hot Coffee scandal, have you been concerned about the game's content to the point where you've changed anything?
DD: We have been consistent with our direction on this project from the beginning, and we have always been expecting an M rating. This game is going to be consistent with the content in the film--which is rated R--and the book, and that includes violence and crime. We aren't going over the top, but we also aren't making a game for kids.
GS: What has been the biggest challenge in developing the game so far?
DD: This is the first game in this open-world genre that we have created, and the learning curve was very steep. We knew what we wanted to create, and we had the design to make that vision come to life, but our biggest challenge was developing the technology to make it all possible.
GS: In the wake of the Xbox 360 launch, do you feel you need to make sure the 360 version of the game takes full advantage of the hardware? How are you doing this?
DD: The 360 version of the game will be released later this year, and we will be using the time between our March ship and the 360 version ship to take full advantage of the hardware with some key design modifications that will make the game rock on that platform.
GS: What are you focusing on for the current-gen platforms of the game?
DD: For the current-gen versions we are focusing on delivering a Godfather living world, several great new game mechanics, and an opportunity for everyone to experience life as a member of the Corleone family, and work your way up to becoming the godfather. Gamers will be challenged to not only tackle some really cool missions, but they will want to exploit the open world and find all the opportunities to elevate their status, or respect, as well as fill their wallets with cash. Making sure that the core Godfather fiction and the freelance opportunities in New York City are both fun has been one of our main points of focus. The attention to detail in this game is outstanding, and I'm sure the gamers will appreciate all the little things that come together to make this product special.
GS: How are you ensuring that your character's reputation will be reflected in a meaningful way in the world around you?
DD: Respect is at the heart of the game. As you build respect you will be able to build up the attributes of your character. Additionally, as you do things in the world, people in the world are watching, and they frequently will comment on your actions and give you feedback. The other rival families' behavior will be driven by the vendetta level that they have against your family based on what you are doing in the game, as will the behavior of the police. If you take out a rival capo, you better look around before you do or you will have his whole family and the NYC police chasing you at the same time, and that can get a little dangerous. You won't be able to just walk through the world with a gun and expect no reaction, and the same can be said of any time you choose to use violence. The cops are watching you, and we want players to understand that pressure to take over the city but also keep the family from getting a bad reputation.
GS: What have you learned about making living-world games?
DD: It is hard to make a good one and extraordinarily hard to make a great one. This is the most complex project I have ever worked on, but I am incredibly proud of the team and the results. Making a living-world game is very challenging, and working with material as powerful as The Godfather is very powerful. The team took on those challenges and really produced something special. We are very excited about how this game is coming together, and hopefully everyone who plays it will feel the same way.
GS: How have you been finding the balance between offering an experience that's faithful to the core Godfather story and offering a gameplay-friendly narrative?.
DD: I think this was a huge challenge, which we completely delivered on. We deliver the Godfather story, but most importantly we offer you the Godfather world to play in. You don't just get the movie story and missions. You get to become a member of the family and work your way up. Depending on whether you complete just the core story missions, all of the missions, or take over the entire city outside the missions, there are actually three different endings. You get to decide whether you ultimately become the underboss to Michael, the don of the Corleone family, or the don over all of New York. I'll warn you right now, if you want to become the don of the entire city, you better be ready to put in some time, because it's a big world to conquer. Good luck.
GS: Thanks for your time.