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The NY Times has an interesting article on the upcoming Godfather game being developed at EA. There were two things that struck me about the article:

First, the author, Seth Schiesel, recognizes the true importance of the GTA series. Schiesel writes, “What has made the G.T.A. series so revolutionary and successful is not its content but its form.” It’s nice to see a mainstream media source saying something intelligent about GTA and not decrying its violence out of hand.

Second, I really enjoyed reading about how members of the film cast engaged (or didn’t engage) with the videogame version of their film. Coppola’s well known criticisms of the game (“I did not cooperate with its making in any way, nor do I like or approve of what I saw of the result.”) are balanced by Brando’s interest in the new medium. Before he died, Brando clearly grokked the difference between films and games: “It’s the audience, really, that’s doing the acting.”

Despite Brando’s participation, Pacino declined to participate in the Godfather game in any way, which is funny because he licensed his likeness to Vivendi Universal for the coming Scarface adaptation. It’s unclear exactly what his reasons were. James Caan, on the other hand, gleefully embraced the possibilities of the new medium. “When they asked me about it, my first thought was that I was going to finally try to get Sonny through the tollbooth…” Of course, that isn’t the case; Sonny will still die, but I am heartened that some actors are embracing the narrative freedom of videogames.

It all makes me wonder what will happen when Hollywood actors get involved with a game that doesn’t have the political baggage of the Godfather. Could there be an original game property that uses famous film talent in a way that isn’t slave to a predetermined storyline?


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