Never played the first one but if a demo comes out for this I may try it...
SOURCEIn most crime games, you're never given a chance to fully control the fate of your organization. Even though you work your way up from a low level soldier to a leader, your moves and the growth of your organization is somewhat rigidly tied to linear story features. The same can be said of the opposition to your maneuvers by rivals, who will only react to you and your activities only after you've committed something significant. As a result, you never get a sense of being a true crime lord who has to deal with the consequences of your actions nor do you feel like you have to watch your back because your enemies will attack you where they feel you're weakest. EA is hoping to change this lack of control with its upcoming release of The Godfather II, a game that lets you run the family business with a mix of action and strategy.
At a recent event, we were introduced to the game as well as the design philosophy that has influenced the entire development process – Act like a mobster, think like a Don. This was a two part system that the developers spent a lot of time working on, because they wanted to expand on the elements from the previous game, such as the extortion maneuvers, pressure tactics and executions that you could commit, as well as making shootouts more visceral. However, the developers wanted to include a system whereby you control and make decisions for your family, recruiting new soldiers and choosing the businesses and rackets that you'll take over. But they didn't want to stop there, because they wanted to implement a much deeper open world where all actions have consequences and are connected to each other.
The story behind The Godfather II starts as Michael Corleone and other men go down to Cuba for Hyman Roth's birthday party, where he's dividing up his business. Unfortunately, during the New Year's Eve party, guerrillas manage to bring down the Cuban government and Michael, Fredo and other guests are forced to flee for their lives. You play as Dominic, a young soldier in the Corleone family who works for Aldo Trapani (the protagonist of the first Godfather game who eventually became a don himself). However, during the escape, Aldo is gravely injured and dies, and as you fly back to the United States, Michael makes you the Don of the family to take over Aldo's place. Mike Olsen, the Creative Director of Godfather II, mentioned that while you'll initially fly back to New York to learn the ropes of your new organization, you'll expand the reach of your family into both Miami as well as Cuba in the pursuit of different "interests and business ventures."
The demo we were shown started out in 1960's Miami – Hunter Smith, the Executive Producer of the project, mentioned that we were seeing gameplay that was at least five hours into the campaign, where Dominic was spreading out his family's influence into the vibrant scene going on in the town. However, unlike the previous game where your establishments were basically yours, the world was constantly moving and adjusting to criminal elements in town headed by rival families. This was evident thanks to a new 3D map that could be called up, which presented an architectural design scheme of different venues, crime rings and other locations being held by specific organizations. Players were able to get a sense of how protected these properties were by looking at the number of guards placed there, as well as determine where fights and battles were raging in real time between mobsters, police and other guards. It became rather obvious that unspoken alliances were being used via this map, with stronger families targeting weaker ones to take them out. Why is this view important? Well, simply because the rackets that you own have a much more tangible effect in Godfather II than they did in the previous game.
In the first Godfather game, you only earned money and experience with the various businesses that you took over. In Godfather II, businesses that you take over represent a different racket, such as drugs, gun running or gambling. As you collect more and more of the same kind of business, you obviously gain more money until you have a monopoly on that vice. That's where the perks start rolling in, because you then gain specialized abilities for both you and your soldiers. For example, if you control the gun running enterprise, your family is able to carry extra clips of ammunition, which is extremely helpful in the middle of a firefight. Now, once you take over these businesses, you'll want to fortify them with guards to protect your interests because if you don't, another family can move in and take over, immediately causing you to lose your benefits. Even worse, a rival can bomb a location, severely hampering its earning potential and removing it as a viable member of a monopoly for any family.
Of course, you can do the same to opponents, and if you want to be secretive about this, you can send a crew of associates to an enemy's business and wreck the place. Hunter mentioned that each member of your organization that you can hire will come with different personalities and backgrounds which can play a role within their performance on a mission. For example, you can send out a demolition expert whose background states that he's never been arrested. If a mission goes south and your men get arrested, he'll spring himself and return safely to a club or business you own. These characters will have one of 12 different skills, such as demolitions, engineering or medical knowledge, which can improve their abilities in the field. By utilizing these men, you can effectively expand your territory, and by promoting them from soldiers to capo to underboss, players can tailor and level up each character's individual skills. From there, you can send these "troops" at any part of the map or even to other cities to handle business affairs for you.
However, you won't be solely acting from the shadows; you'll still be getting your hands dirty with extortions, executions and other less savory tactics. To indicate this, Smith showed off a side mission where Dominic went to talk to a district attorney who was into less reputable entertainment – he liked hanging out at the porn studio that Dominic's family owned. By approaching him and finding out that a restaurant he didn't like needed to be trashed, Dominic would gain a favor that he could call at any time to set a sting on a rival family, weakening them significantly, which would allow players to swoop in and pick up their unprotected territory. Dominic left, gathered a group of soldiers, and went in to "influence" the owners of the D.A.'s wrath. Unlike the previous Godfather game, the AI that you have under your control is much more intelligent, performing certain tasks without explicit instruction. For example, they will stand guard at doors and windows to make sure that police or other enemies don't sneak up on you and take you out or smash objects in a store to help in your intimidation attempts.
If you need more control over your troops, you can perform a suggestive command, which will tell them to go to a specific location if they're not in the midst of a task, or a hard command, which directs them to drop everything and immediately follow your order. After Smith trashed the location, he set his sights on the owner, moving behind the counter and slamming the owner's face down upon a grill. Veterans of the first game know that such tactics would influence an owner who was holding out from pressure to eventually give in, but would have to be careful not to push these people to their boiling point, whereby they wouldn't receive bonus cash. In Godfather II, players can now use weak spots for people to back them away from this point of no return and boost their collected cash flow. With some mild cooking of the owner's head, he relented, and Dominic gained both the business as well as the favor from the D.A. Hunter then mentioned that it was time to take on a rival who owned one final business preventing him from owning a monopoly.
One of the cool things that Smith showed off was that players no longer have to focus on direct assaults when they're trying to infiltrate a business; in Godfather II, players will be able to gain access to side entrances or even carve routes through fences (provided they have an engineer who can cut through fences and other defenses). By taking an alternate path, players can potentially avoid some overwhelming forces and eliminate a rival's ability to call in for help. This was shown as a man skilled in hand to hand combat (called a Bruiser) snuck up on a guard and stabbed him in the back, allowing the engineer to run in and snip both the phone and power lines. Hunter mentioned how key this was, because if any noise or alerts were sounded, the guards would immediately call for backup, which would make a fight much more dangerous. When he was ready for battle and primed to destroy his enemies, Smith sent his arsonist to blow up a fuel tank to take out more guards and the firefight was on.
While combat in the first title was primarily restricted to auto aim sequences, Godfather II will use a free aim system, allowing you to direct your fire at anyone in sight as well as their cover to destroy crates or other objects people hide behind. That doesn't mean that auto aim has been removed; players will be able to use this feature along with zooming in and out on targets, depending on the weapon equipped. For example, we noticed this occurring as Dominic picked up a sniper rifle and shot a guard standing at the top of a staircase, but quickly switched to a shotgun and killed enemies much closer. It was also possible to direct the crew under Dominic's control, and as Hunter directed them to fire on guards spilling from a building, he took Dominic across a catwalk and tossed a few Molotov cocktails at the group below, immolating them quickly. Godfather II will have a number of weapons that were available in the '60s, each of which can be used for various executions on targets. Olsen mentioned that each firearm will be able to pull off at least two per kind of gun, so there will be many "creative" ways to dispatch your foes.
However, even as Hunter was wiping up the final group of guards and taking over the monopoly, he was receiving updates as to what was going on in the other areas of the city. In fact, you'll constantly receive news and have to make a choice as to how you'll respond to the events that are going on around you, meaning that you may choose to divert one squad of hitmen that you've sent on a mission to your location to provide back up and expand the "soldiers" you have under your control if one fight is proving to be too difficult. It also means that you might ignore a potential threat and find that you've lost a certain amount of ground with some key businesses that you once held in one city, particularly if you focus too much of your attention on one town instead of your empire. That's why using your map and effective strategy compliments the action of the gameplay. In fact, Olsen mentioned that the range of play that they've seen has been somewhere between 75-80 percent action and 20-25 percent strategy depending on how a player chooses to approach the title. It may sound complex, but no one said that being the boss of a crime organization was easy, right?
This also means that you'll have to keep an eye out for potentially landing killing blows to rival families. Sure, taking out their businesses will weaken them, but you'll have to worry about the made men and other members of the family that comprise your enemies eventually coming back and becoming a threat to you. Unlike the first game, you don't have to gain a certain amount of information before you are given the opportunity to eliminate these threats to your organization. Now, you can put a hit out on an enemy at any time you want, which can be done in one of two ways. If you put out a hit and it's successful, you'll essentially put the target into the hospital, removing him from the game world for a period of time and hurting his family. However, if you manage to attack him with specific conditions in place, you eliminate the Mafioso completely, permanently damaging his family because he can't ever be replaced.
You'll also receive specific updates on tactical moves or specific plot points from a group of familiar faces as well. Tom Hagen will play a prominent role within the game as well, and while we weren't informed of elements of the plot, Smith mentioned that halfway through the game, he'll become your consigliere as Michael Corleone goes through the FBI and Senate investigation that he's saddled with from the film. However, regardless of how large you get, we were explicitly told that you will still be working for Michael on the East Coast as the plot progresses. Obviously, this means that Robert Duvall will be reprising his role as Tom Hagen, but we were told that many of the other actors from the film will be recreating their characters within the game as well. Sadly, Al Pacino won't be lending his considerable talents to Michael, but many other cast members will help move the events of the game along.
While the build that we were shown was pre-alpha software, we were struck by just how polished the title was, particularly the elements of strategy and how well they managed to fit within the action of the game. There were still timing elements that needed to be worked out (such as the duration of time a building would be eliminated after a bombing before it would be rebuilt), but for the most part, the open nature of the world itself and the sense that every action you do has an immediate and lasting consequence seemed rather well executed. Other elements, such as the day and night cycle, affected the overall game world as well, with more cars appearing on the road as the sun went down and people started leaving their jobs to go home. Even more than all of this was the handling of mature content within the demo, which didn't feel as though the use of violence, profanity (and yes, even nudity in the case of the D.A. at the porn studio) was gratuitous and thrown in. These features all came together in the context of the action of the game, which felt appropriate to the situations and the criminal activities taking place without being too explicit. Although it's still early, it looked quite promising, and if this is where the title is now, EA could have a hit on its hands when the game is released sometime in February of next year.
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The Godfather II First Look & Screens...
"When I was 12, I milked my eel into a pot of turtle stew. I flogged the one-eyed snake, I skinned my sausage. I made the bald man cry into the turtle stew, which I believe my sister ate. At least I hope she did."
Looks a lot like Vice City
08-15-2008 #6Patiently sitting on the sideline *popcorn.gif* waiting for all the kinks to be worked out. Then I'm going to jump into current gen.
The wii statement was a considered opinion based on tons of research into the graphical prowess of the game being portrayed in the op - or you could view it as a ton-in-cheek making-a-point statement about how far the graphics have yet to come.
It's an EA game too so don't expect it to ever be one of the lookers this gen (although it will improve somewhat from what's being shown in the OP one would imagine)
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Wow those graphics look horrible. Looks like Vice City on PS2. Oh well its in pre alpha so hopefully it wil improve alot. Hopefully.
Well i've seen far better next gen pre-alpha graphics than that pile of poo. Jury's out though
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Sounds really good.
I spent way more time on the first godfather game than gta 4, and i actually completed it - unlike gta 4. It's probably not a better game, but more fun.
And there is no limit to how cool being The Mafia is.Don't Steal. Don't Molest Little Children. Don't Deal Drugs.
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i think its gonna be wack.....
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