Electronic Art's upcoming The Godfather II game will feature a new multiplayer mode called "Don Control" that will be available as a free patch on release day. The online mode adds a level of strategy game to the action of the Godfather II by letting players build a family; command them in battle; and view the action from a removed perspective -- like a respectable Don. After all, by the time you've risen as head of one of the Five Families, it's not like you want to get your hands or baseball bat dirty.
Here's how EA describes the mode:
Players can now challenge one another in 16-player battles for their in-game currency from the single-player game. As a Don online, players can recruit others to join their family by giving them a cut of the profits. But if a player loses as Don, the in-game currency they wagered will be removed in their single-player campaign and their empire can come crumbling down.
I'm not sure how something like that would work in practice, but strategy gameplay mixed with urban action is definitely an intriguing concept. And it's a concept that's a strong selling point to the Godfather II. I could imagine this online mode being very popular. But how frustrating would it be to lose your single player money online?
The development team behind Godfather II took the "Don's View" strategy aspect of the game seriously enough to build an entire tabletop board game around it, in order to perfect the balance. Not only is the paper version of the Don's View playable, it's actually very fun. Check out my early look at Godfather II, right here.
Of course, it's very possible that a fun table top game isn't fun in a video game, either single or multiplayer...and it's also possible that the Godfathers II's mix of strat and action will go together like a fish and a bicycle. I guess we won't really know until the game drops on April 7th.
As a huge fan of the movie, I'm looking forward to playing the game, but it's with mixed feelings: The Godfather II is a perfect work of cinematic art. I know EA took great pains to respect the source material. Here's how Michael Perry, the game's creative directors described what they were going for in terms of authenticity:
"The Godfather II of the greatest films of all time. The challenge is, can we expose a new audience to the Godfather fiction? This is a 35 year old movie, but it’s absolutely as relevant today as when it came out. It’s just a brilliant film. So we took key moments from the film, brought those into the game, but we also integrated the game with a lot of really interesting mobster history."
So this is no cheap tie-in, but on the other hand, I doubt it's even possible to make a Godfather II video game that wouldn't at least seem a little insulting to the original, no matter how much research you did into crimes in the past.
Most movie versions of video games end up insulting the game, just as game versions of movies usually insult the films. But what do you think? Is it possible to make a non-insulting movie tie-in game to a truly great movie? Especially one like the Godfather II that isn't even an action movie?