To the (re)discovery of… The Godfather, the video game!

To the (re)discovery of… The Godfather, the video game!

To the (re)discovery of… The Godfather

We have talked several times about how, especially in the light of the great evolution that the videogame medium has faced in recent years, an increasingly important relationship has developed between cinema and videogames. We are talking about two different forms of communication but separated by an increasingly thin border, and at the same time a combination that has not always led to particularly exciting results.

Among the many meeting points we find the so-called tie-in : video games inspired or taken from the many films that we all know, even here with not always exceptional results. However, today we want to tell you about a title which, in the opinion of the writer, represents one of the few exceptions capable of confirming the rule.

The Godfather by Francis Ford Coppola , based on the homonymous novel by Mario Puzo, it is in all probability one of the most famous and important films in history. Released in 1972, this unforgettable masterpiece managed to win 3 Academy Awards and 5 Golden Globes, before indelibly imprinting its name within pop culture. Someone will certainly remember that, in 2006, Visceral Games released a video game based on the film that… It managed in its own way to give another interesting vision of Puzo's story, while maintaining the soul and atmosphere that made it almost legendary. So let's take a small leap in time, going back to the mid-2000s.

An offer you can't refuse…

We are in 2004 and, after obtaining the rights and having carefully evaluated various options, EA decides to entrust Visceral Games with the development of a video game dedicated to a great masterpiece of Film History: The Godfather. The Redwood studio was certainly not new to such operations, having already created several titles related to sagas such as The Lord of the Rings and 007: experiences that made the company an important reality in this sense too, and which therefore laid the foundations for another great project.

The latter had all the credentials to consecrate Visceral as one of the most important brands in that particular niche, with a series of elements that could really determine its success with few precedents. Any examples? The game could count on the support and even on the participation of a large part of the cast of the film: even Marlon Brando lent his voice and appearance to the project and, before his death, managed to complete all the sections that involved it. The character of Vito Corleone, moreover, was dubbed in Italian by Gianni Gaude: a historic voice that we had the pleasure of interviewing some time ago. Not all cast members embraced the project anyway, but we'll get back to that later.

Supported by great expectations, the game will be released in March 2006: The Godfather – The Game was a dynamic third-person action, with open world mechanics that make the overall experience interesting in many ways. The latter was enhanced by the RenderWare engine, capable of recreating the whole atmosphere of one of the most loved films in the history of cinema in a truly accurate way.

The narrated events take place in parallel to what is the plot of the film that we all know, thus giving a view on the same story but from another perspective. We will take on the role of Aldo Trapani who, after having witnessed his father's assassination at the hands of the mafia at the age of 12, decides to take revenge. It will be Don Corleone himself who will invite him to wait for his moment, which would arrive at the right moment.

Once he grows up, Aldo approaches the Corleones and here begins his ascent through the ranks of the Family: this continual parallelism with the story of the film allows the player to experience and (re) discover the plot of the same from another point of view, thus enriching an already incredibly interesting narrative universe. And perhaps this is the real strong point of the game: expanding and spreading more and more what, on balance, remains one of the most exciting stories ever told.

The Godfather, a game worthy of the movie?

In terms of gameplay, the game of The Godfather presents itself as a rich and varied experience. The exploration of the city of New York is pleasant and capable of entertaining on several levels, and is also embellished by a whole series of elements that go to build the most suitable atmosphere possible. Let's think, for example, of weapons and vehicles in line with the era (we are in post-war America) but also of the soundtrack, which perfectly evokes a decade so full of charm.

The musical accompaniment, in which obviously the unmistakable original theme by Nino Rota is not missing, is created by Bill Conti: composer, among others, of the soundtrack of the Rocky films. Our raids will also be accompanied by the notes of some great artists of the time, such as Dean Martin or the unforgettable Ella Fitzgerald.

The structure of the title, however linear, nevertheless appears in able to entertain the player with a large variety of situations. It will be up to us to decide whether to proceed with the story missions, thus following the plot of the film step by step, or whether to explore the city between collections and guerrilla warfare with rival clans. After all, these too are components that recreate the atmosphere we have just referred to.

As anticipated, seeing some of the faces that made the film unforgettable was another factor capable of pushing the produced to the critical and commercial acclaim it actually received. However, there was a whole series of controversies related to the very nature of the game that prompted some members of the cast, the director Francis Ford Coppola and Al Pacino above all, to distance themselves from the project: the two in fact judged the work as harmful and excessively violent, thus refusing to take part in it in any way.

Far worse was the matter with the author of the novel Mario Puzo, who even came to a legal dispute (which he won) related to intellectual property rights: a controversy that certainly did not help the product, and which raised quite a fuss within the sector press.

On balance The Godfather – The Game was still a success, so much to push EA to the creation of a sequel obviously inspired by the second film of the trilogy. Years later, what remains is the memory of an experience that is unique in its own way: in fact, there are few titles capable of doing justice to a work belonging to another medium and, above all, of doing it so effectively. What we recommend is to try to (re)discover a game that, perceived in the right way, can be the right integration to a film and a novel that changed the history of entertainment forever. So, ready to join the Family?

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