The Godfather: The Game
The Godfather: The Game is a 2006 video game based on the 1972 film of the same name.
The game is notable in that it features the return of several original actors from the original film to lend their voice. The participating actors are Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone, James Caan (as Sonny Corleone), Robert Duvall (as Tom Hagen) and Abe Vigoda (as Salvatore Tessio), with the most notable absence being Al Pacino. In addition, Mark Winegardner, author of the novel Godfather Returns, is providing story editing and insight into the fictional world of the Godfather.
Electronic Arts announced in 2005 that players would create mobsters of their own, customizing their characters' physical features in a very in-depth program known as "MobFace" (though a character's build and attire can also be customized). Also, the game would not be the traditional mission-style type but a sandbox game, in a huge free-roam 40's- 50's style New York City "with memory", and non-linear gameplay (similar to games in the Grand Theft Auto franchise). Electronic Arts has also created the "Black Hand" control system as a means of pressuring and extorting business owners. Using the analog sticks on the game controller, players have a wide range of available methods to achieve their goals. These methods include, but are not limited to, punching, kicking, headbutting, strangling, etc. EA has announced a separate version for the Wii, that remains true to the storyline but utilizes the unique controller.
While the game shares much in common with the GTA series, it also has similarities with the video game Mafia.
As the player (whose surname is Trapani, as revealed in a mission late in the game) successfully completes missions in the game, he gets promoted to a higher level of the Corleone crime family. Stages include:
Outsider - An outsider is a freelance hoodlum who works for the mob for a fee and has no loyalty to any organization. They hold no rank within any of the crime syndicates and, being out for their own good with no allegiance to anyone, they are usually not to be trusted. Occasionally, such as the player does in the game, an outsider may choose to offer his services to only one family in the hope of working their way up the ranks.
Associate - An Associate is not a member of the mob, but more of a gofer. They are usually a go-between or sometimes deal in drugs to keep the heat off of the actual members. Non-Italians never go any further than this. In the game, the player's character reaches this rank a few missions into the main story mission sequence as they're introduced to characters such as Tom Hagen and Sonny Corleone.
Soldier - Soldiers, known as "made men", are members of the family, and can only be of Italian background. Soldiers start as Associates that have proven themselves. When "the books are open", meaning that there is an open spot in the family, a Capo (or several Capos) may recommend an up-and-coming Associate to become a new member. In the case that there is only one slot and multiple recommendations, the Boss will decide. The new member usually becomes part of the Capo's crew that recommended him. In the game, this rank is attained at a certain point through the main story mission sequence.
Capo - Short for Caporegime. Capos head groups or squads of soldiers. They report directly to the Don and act as liaisons between the Don and the soldiers.
Underboss - Usually appointed by the Boss, is the second-in-command of the family. The Underboss is considered the Captain that is in charge of all of the other Capos, who is controlled by the Boss. The Underboss is usually first in line to become Acting Boss if the Boss is unable to serve. In the game, this rank is achieved by completing all of the story missions.
Don - The Don is the head of the family. In the game, this rank is achieved after becoming Underboss and bombing each of the rival families' compounds. The Godfather of the title, Vito Corleone, holds this rank as the leader of the Corleone family.
Don Of New York - Achieved once the player has completed all missions, taken control of all rackets and businesses, and achieved 91.5% completion in the game. This means that all the families have been unified under a single banner with you having complete control over the streets of New York with no opposition. In the game once this rank has been achieved, the player will get unlimited ammunition in his weapons and will also receive 1,000,000 dollars.
In the game there are 5 mafia families that have been adapted from the The Godfather. Nicknamed The 5 Families, these families consist of:
* The Tattaglia Family - The Tattaglia family hails from Brooklyn, owning almost every business and racket on the Brooklyn waterfront. The Tattaglia Family is headed by Don Philip Tattaglia. The Tattaglia family has a serious rivalry with the Corleone family because of their business expansion into Little Italy, the Corleone's turf. The Don's son Bruno Tattaglia is next in line to become Don of the Tattaglia Family. Bruno has an alliance with Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo. The Tattaglias' consigliere is Freddie Nobile. The Tattaglias' Underbosses are Bruno and Johnny Tattaglia.
* The Cuneo Family - The Cuneo family hails from Hell's Kitchen. The Cuneo family is not very rich, owning few rackets and businesses. The Cuneo Family is headed by Don Ottilio Cuneo. They are ruthless killers, largely due to the environment of Hell's Kitchen, which is run down and filled with poor communities. The Cuneos' Consigliere is Luciano Fabbri. The Cuneos' Underboss is Marco Cuneo.
* The Stracci Family - The Stracci family, quoting the family secrets video, are "pure fucking evil." The Stracci Family is headed by Don Victor Stracci. They hail from New Jersey. In the daytime the neighborhood looks quite peaceful, with fancy houses and well groomed parks, but at night, it becomes much more dangerous. The Straccis are the most cruel and vicious family. The Straccis' consigliere is Jack Fontana. The Straccis' Underboss is Salvatore Stracci. If you mess with them and their rackets/businesses they will not take very kindly to you. In fact, it should be noted that they may set up barricades at certain points to actually ambush and "ice" you. If you start a war with them your best bet at winning it and not dying or losing territory is to find an FBI agent and tell him to turn down the "heat" on you and the Corleone Family's businesses. If you decide not to or have insufficient funds then you must either take down their main compound and crush their commanding base or kill every single one in sight.
* The Barzini Family - The Barzini family hails from Midtown, the richest community in NY, making them the richest family. The Barzini Family is headed by Don Emilio Barzini who rules with an iron fist. Emilio Barzini is also the one who ordered the murder of the main character's father. The Barzini Family is undoubtably the most powerful family in all of NY. The Barzini' Consigliere is Joseph Lameo. The Barzinis' Underboss is Scott Lameo.
* The Corleone Family - The family where the main character settles down. The once-powerful crime Family was created by four Italian immigrants in the first half of the 20th century - - Don Vito Corleone, Peter Clemenza, Salvatore Tessio and Genco Abbandando. The Corleones' business operations are run from the Genco Olive Oil Import Company (named after the Don's first consigliere, Genco Abbandando), and their methods of extorting local businesses was the model system for decades. The Corleones thrive on their wits and brutal nature, and the Godfather, Don Vito, still commands tremendous respect. However, the family has fought incursions from rival operatives, and now owns only a small selection of businesses, although they are currently looking to expand into Las Vegas. The Corleones' operations are based in central Manhattan, in Little Italy, and are troubled by increasingly daring raids by the Tattaglias in Brooklyn. Little Italy has streets of moderately poor local shops run by well-established Families. It is against this backdrop that the Corleone creed was developed: Loyalty and reward to those in their service, but a sudden and violent response to a traitor. In the game you meet many members of the Corleone Family, including Vito Corleone, Sonny Corleone, Tom Hagen, Michael Corleone, Fredo Corleone, Salvatore Tessio, Pete Clemenza, Paulie Gatto, Rocco Lampone, Al Neri, Willie Cicci, Jaggy Jovino, and Jimmy Denunzio.
the Borgini family - The Borgini family imigrated to the United States in the beginning of the 1930's during the Great Depession. Don Borgini was a handsome owner of the family jewlery shop in downtown Brooklyn. Using jewlery as a front, he ran a very profitable drug operation out the back, mainly peddling cocaine. With strong relationship ties with the NYPD and local officers, Don quickly made his way to the top becomming one of the most loathed and feared man in all of New York. Too bad his spoiled son Andy, had another agenda with his midget girlfriend...
It is well documented that the director of the film trilogy, Francis Ford Coppola, did not approve of the game's release.
The game does not follow the working structure of a mafia 'family' as presented in either The Godfather trilogy or other typical fiction and non-fiction accounts. Upon promotion to 'Don Corleone' and subsequently 'Don of New York', the player's primary tasks continue to be committing assassinations (contract 'hits') and directly enforcing extortion. In most other mafia accounts, such activity would be unlikely for a person at the top of a mob hierarchy. In addition, the other characters inexplicably continue to speak to the player in an inferior tone (labels such as 'kid', and orders: 'get your ass over here') and continue to say things such as 'Remember me when you're Don.', even though the player already is. The only way to alleviate such problems is to do the contract hits, extort all businesses and rackets, and blow up safes prior to finishing the story-related missions.
Despite going to lengths to acquire the likeness and voices of the majority of the main actors, some feel the primary characters from the movies are underused in the game. Additionally, Marlon Brando's own voice is only used in a few scenes in the game, and The Godfather's death and the whereabouts of Michael Corleone (though it was understandable that the Corleone family had to keep Michael's whereabouts a secret at the time) are given little mention in the game. There are speculations that this was due to the fact that the developers were being over-cautious in inadvertently tampering with the story.
Also, there is a notable absence of the major female characters from the movie. Connie Corleone, Kay Adams, and Sandra Corleone are almost completely absent, and Carmella Corleone (Vito's wife) is only shown as a stereotypical "little old lady," completely unlike Morgana King's portrayal of her. However, the absence of these characters could be a result of rights issues.
Other criticisms include the relatively low number of weapons and vehicles in the game (there are only five different vehicles and ten different weapons), the lack of variety with the types of businesses (many of the clubs, hotels and warehouses have almost identical layouts), and a somewhat limited (and non-customizable) music score.
* Before his death, Marlon Brando recorded all of his dialogue to reprise his character, Don Corleone. However, Brando's failing health affected the quality of his dialogue, and only a small portion of it (such as when Don Vito speaks with Michael in the hospital) was actually used. The remaining Don Corleone dialogue was re-recorded with an impersonator.
* While some of the actors from the original film have reprised their roles for the video game adaptation, Al Pacino did not, preventing Paramount from using his voice or likeness for the game (Pacino did, however, participate in rival studio Vivendi Universal's Scarface game). However, since Paramount owns the rights to the Godfather story and characters, the Michael Corleone character does appear in the game, albeit with a different appearance and a separate actor voicing him. In addition to Pacino, it would appear that Tom Rosqui's estate did not give permission for his likeness to be used in the game, as the Rocco Lampone character looks and sounds nothing like his movie counterpart.
* On the other hand, several characters played by now-deceased actors (for example, Peter Clemenza, Luca Brasi, and Captain McCluskey), look and sound very similar to their movie counterparts, so it is probable that their estates did give permission.
* In 1991, US Gold produced an earlier, completely different, computer-only game based on the movie. It was a DOS-based game and came on 6 floppy disks. There were five levels of gameplay.
Although the game intertwines well with the first movie, minor creative liberties had to take place in the movie scenes in order to fit the player's character into the storyline: For the purposes of this section, the character will be referred to by the default name, Trapani:
* Luca Brasi's meeting with Vito Corleone at the wedding was slightly extended before Brasi's departure in order to recruit the young Trapani.
* Trapani joins Paulie Gatto and a Corleone outsider named Martin "Monk" Malone to "[teach] a lesson" to the college boys that had physically assaulted the undertaker's daughter.
* The events of the attempted assassination on Vito Corleone and the beheading of Woltz's horse are reversed (with the assassination happening first)
* Trapani witnesses Luca Brasi's death and kills the assassins in self-defense.
* Trapani and Fredo Corleone speed-drive Vito to a hospital shortly after being gunned down (Fredo's crying scene was removed from the game).
* Trapani joins Tom Hagen and Rocco Lampone in order to behead Woltz's horse and deliver it to his bed.
* Trapani protects Vito Corleone at the hospital from assassins (essentially substituting for Enzo, the baker's son-in-law).
* Instead of Paulie being killed by Rocco Lampone in the car after Clemenza gets out to "take a leak", he runs away, forcing Trapani to chase him down and kill him in an abandoned construction yard.
* Trapani pursues the assassins that were responsible for shooting Sonny Corleone.
* Trapani is responsible for planting the gun and evacuating Michael after assassinating Sollozo and Captain McClusky.
* Trapani helps kill Tessio before assassinating the mob leaders, whereas in the film Tessio is killed after the mob leaders are assassinated.
* Trapani kills Bruno Tattaglia out of personal revenge (the assassination was only mentioned by word in the film).
* For the assassinations of the mob leaders, Trapani does the killing for the sake of gameplay and a few changes were made:
o Trapani escorts Don Stracci to the elevator and kills him, instead of Clemenza killing him with the shotgun.
o Trapani kills Don Cuneo, instead of Willie Cicci trapping him in a revolving doorway.
o Trapani kills Don Tattaglia. Tattaglia already got wind of his assassination, and holds a prostitute hostage instead of being in bed with her.
o Trapani kills Don Barzini, instead of a police-uniformed Al Neri, in order to get his revenge for the death of his father.
Soon after the game for The Godfather was released, Shepard Fairey of Obey Giant released his print-set rendition of four main characters, Fredo, Sonny, The Don and Tom, portrayed as figureheads of United States dollar bills. This print set was coordinated by Electronic Arts and Shepard Fairey to commemorate the launch of the game. Although there were 500 prints made, only 50 sets were available to the public (numbers 51-100). There is some speculation that the remaining 450 were either given or sold to the employees of Electronic Arts who helped create the game. The print set originally sold for $110 USD, was available from ObeyGiant.com, and sold out in less than a day. In August of 2006, Shepard Fairey found an additional 100 prints in which he sold to the public for $100 a set. Again, with the high popularity of this print set, it rapidly sold out.
"The Godfather: The Game" was actually renamed to "The Godfather: Mob Wars" for the portable version. Unlike the console versions, it does not offer open-world free-roaming game-play. It does, however, include a Risk-like board game called "Mob Wars".