Yesterday, Steve wrote about the "Don Control" mode for the upcoming The Godfather II game. This downloadable multiplayer mode will be available when the game hits stores (check out more screens here!). The focus of this mode is on communication and teamwork. One player from each side gets to play the family's Don and it's up to them to coordinate the efforts of the entire team. If you're more of a follower than a leader, you can join a team and perform your role skillfully. Everyone has to their job as up to $50,000 of in-game money is on the line. I recently spoke with game designer Greg Rizzer to get more details on Don Control. Here's what the man known as "The Riz" had to say.
G4: RZA, it's such an honor to meet you. I'm a big fan of your music with Wu-Tang, as well as your soundtracks.
Greg Rizzer: Thanks a lot, but I didn’t score the soundtrack to Afro Samurai. I designed some Online Multiplayer for The Godfather II. Ray, you’ve clearly lost it.
G4: What??? Uhm, so...who are you?
GR: I’m Greg Rizzer, game designer. On The Godfather 2, I was responsible for creating the online design including the maps, modes, and the tie-ins back to the single-player campaign.
G4: Oh right! I've known you for like 11 years! How are you?
GR: Yeah, Ray. How could you forget!? I’m good. I’m coming up on seven years here at EA Redwood Shores and love it here. I am really proud of the games coming out of our studio and it’s a great place to work.
G4: Let's talk a bit about "Don's Control" in The Godfather 2. How did this idea come about?
GR: When I got onto Godfather my design challenge was to figure out something that captures the whole “Think Like a Don” mantra that the team was going for. Once we had a baseline multiplayer running, I talked to David Brickhill, one if the online engineers, about prototyping this eye-in-the-sky type of thing so you could fly around and watch your teammates. Once we got VoIP working it became apparent that Don Control could be a very cool concept. Eventually we were able to drop waypoints which added a whole new layer to the mode. We thought it was fun but needed something more connection from the players on the ground and what the Don can do minute-to-minute. This is where the Don Gadgets came into being. Capturing the gadgets for the Don and allowing the Don to participate on a deeper level is a great connection for players and Dons to rally around.
G4: A lot of it has to do with a sense of control and leadership. Describe what players have to do as a Don and the kind of gaming sensation that provides.
GR: In general, put your money down, pay off your team, drop waypoints, point out the enemies and scoring locations, give your team heal and vest buffs and occasionally use the exploder gadget and take out some guys on the other team. It is up to the Don to manage his team and set them up for success. You have to really take control of the situation.
G4: Players have the opportunity to wager money in this mode. How is money earned in this mode and how does it impact the single-player game?
GR: When you enter the Host Game option, you will see that you can wager up to $50,000 in-game dollars and pay out your team up to 10 percent of the winnings, per team member. All players will still continue to earn cash for the regular actions such as scoring, healing, and taking out enemies, so this is just additional cash if your team wins. If you are the losing Don, your wager will be taken out of your single player cash on hand. This feature is cool because you can literally gamble away your empire once you return to single player and see how your crew has quit your family, because you could make payroll! That’s pretty sweet.
G4: What makes an effective Don in this mode? Being organized? Being a chatterbox?
GR: Communication is key when you are a Don, so it helps to be a talker which has never been a problem for me. I think the best method of play is to mark enemies first, mark scoring spots second, and then wait for your crew on the ground to capture gadgets and ask as the Don to activate them.
G4: If a person doesn't have those leadership abilities, they can still participate as a grunt, correct?
GR: Absolutely! Don Control is just a layer on top of all existing modes and maps. If you are shy, you don’t have to play as a Don to host a game. Also, you don’t ever have to join a Don Match if you don’t feel like it. The game list will tell which games are currently Don Control matches and how much your cut of the winnings would be. I really recommend you play with Dons sometime though, as it’s a completely different feel knowing that there’s a guy in the sky who can spot guys sneaking up to put the fat hurt on you.
G4: Now, if I'm not mistaken, this was originally going to be paid DLC. Why make it free? Is EA on some kind of altruism kick with its gangster game?
GR: The Don Control feature is available at launch for no additional charge so we hope that everyone enjoys this new mode as part of the The Godfather II experience.
G4: Was Don's Mode influenced by Battlefield's Commander Mode at all?
GR: We feel that Don Control stands on its own and is a very compelling, as well as a deep mode for Godfather II fans. I hope everyone enjoys it!
G4: Do you think the kind of person that would buy Godfather 2 would be all that interested in Don's Mode? Is it perhaps, too heady?
GR: Ray! People who like Godfather are intelligent and attractive! Seriously, I think this fits in nicely with the idea of organized crime and having someone call the shots. To be sure, Don Control is a more advanced method of play. It takes a few times to start getting the feel for it but the controls become second nature in no time.
G4: How about organization. Do you think it will be difficult for players to organize a Don's Mode game that will be fun for everyone?
GR: We have public and private matches, so the hardcore guys can get their $50,000 private matches going and we also allow Dons to wager zero bucks just to have a friendly match. In my opinion, a great Don can completely make the match. I think if you are a gamer that’s more into teamwork, you will love the mode.
G4: Okay, I'm totally out of ammo. Tell the readers of TheFeed why they should be excited about Don's Mode.
GR: That’s all you got? Fine…Don Control is really a great twist on existing multiplayer games. I think everyone should be excited because the new mode is being provided at no additional charge and it’s a mode that makes playing with your friends a great organized crime experience.
G4: Thanks for your time, Riz! Always great to hear from you.
GR: You too, Ray! Thanks for the interest in Don Control and Godfather II online!