"Godfather" Video Game Debuts Today

by | March 21, 2006 | Comments

Variety was kind enough to remind me that the new "Godfather" video game hits the shelves today, which is good news because I’m kind of a sucker for (GOOD) movie-based video games. (Last year’s "The Warriors" game was pretty darn nifty.) But a video game based on "The Godfather" — a risky proposition, at best.

Excerpted from a great article by Variety’s Ben Fritz:

"Hollywood’s uneasy relationship with the videogame world will be put to its biggest test yet today, as one of the all-time classic film franchises gets a new life.

Electronic Arts’ vidgame version of "The Godfather" hits stores more than three years after Paramount first started shopping its film franchise as an interactive property.

Move was risky for Par since pic-based games are, with a few notable exceptions, cheaply made knockoffs that reflect poorly on their film parentage. By putting "The Godfather" into EA’s hands, Par is counting on the No. 1 game publisher to reinvigorate the franchise for a new generation. Success will mean both game royalties and bigger DVD sales; failure could leave a crack in one of the studio’s crown jewels.

Though gamers play as a new character making his way in the Mafia, they interact repeatedly with the story and characters from the film, including most of the famous scenes, including the horse head discovery, the tollbooth shooting and the restaurant assassination.

Most of the actors from the films did new voiceovers and provided likeness rights, with the notable exception of Al Pacino. In one of his last acting jobs before his death, Marlon Brando did a day of voiceover work, though only a portion of the recordings were usable due to his illness. EA had to use a soundalike for the rest.

Early reviews in the vidgame press have ranged from decent to strong. According to IGN’s GamerMetrics service, "Godfather" is the sixth most anticipated game of the season, which puts it among sequels to some of the vidgame world’s biggest franchises.

More games based on classic pics are scheduled for the next couple of years, including "Scarface," from Vivendi Universal Games, and "Dirty Harry," from Warner Bros. Interactive. Rockstar did moderately well last year with a game based on cult pic "The Warriors."

But "The Godfather" is the crown jewel of the group, and its performance will be closely watched both by studios with libraries they’re looking to mine and game publishers deciding whether to shell out for a classic Hollywood license in search of their next big hit."

For more information on "The Godfather: The Game," click right here.

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