Monday, July 11, 2005

The Godfather game

Behind the scenes of The Godfather computer game, with Seth Schiesel in The New York Times.
Certainly, accumulating respect will be a key part of the game play. (The team's internal distillation of the game is: "Join the Family. Earn Respect. Become the Godfather.") But more broadly, the Godfather team seems to be approaching this multimillion-dollar project as a high-stakes opportunity to earn some respect not only for itself but also for the entire notion of gaming.

What ultimately sets gaming apart from prefabricated media like television and books is that the consumer is in control of the action; the consumer is the protagonist of whatever story the game might tell. So rather than slavishly direct the player through a linear recreation of the first "Godfather" film, the E.A. team is essentially using the famous scenes and characters to create a wide-ranging virtual universe in which players can create their own narratives.

"We are well aware that we are dealing with probably the most beloved, most iconic film of all time," said Nick Earl, general manager of the Redwood City studio. "We are also well aware that some people get nervous when you start messing with something they love so much, and that a lot of games based on movies have been poorly received by hard-core gamers. We want to show that you can make a great game that stands on its own merits that also draws from such a rich book and movie like 'The Godfather.' "

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