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The Godfather

Platform(s): PC, PSP, PlayStation 2, Xbox
Genre: Action
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Electronic Arts

About Rainier

PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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'The Godfather' (ALL) Developer Interview #2

by Rainier on Feb. 8, 2006 @ 1:28 a.m. PST

Featuring non-linear action-adventure gameplay, The Godfather will offer gamers countless choices for solving the family's problems with brutal violence, skillful diplomacy, or a cunning mixture of both. From mob hits and bank heists to drive-bys and extortion, step deep inside the world of The Godfather where intimidation and negotiation are your tickets to the top. Players will use their powers of loyalty and fear to earn respect through interactions with characters in the world. Decisions made by the player in the game will have lasting consequences, just as it was in the mob underworld featured in The Godfather fiction.

Q: What makes New Jersey unique in the world of The Godfather?

SS: New Jersey is the only neighborhood in the Godfather world which has a different environmental feel to it. It’s patterned after a traditional small American town, particularly of the type found in the outer regions of Manhattan. Though most of the buildings are made of brick they are lower in height, typically two or three floors. Many of the city blocks are not populated with tenement buildings but instead they are occupied with detached houses usually with corner businesses at the end of such blocks. The most noted feature of New Jersey is the town square park located in the middle of the neighborhood, complete with a band shell structure and community type venues located around it such as a bank and a church.

Q: New Jersey is considered by many to be the ‘armpit of the Northeast’. Does that show at all in The Godfather version of Jersey?

SS: New Jersey is the only neighborhood in the Godfather world which has a different environmental feel to it. It’s patterned after a traditional small American town, particularly of the type found in the outer regions of Manhattan. Though most of the buildings are made of brick they are lower in height, typically two or three floors. Many of the city blocks are not populated with tenement buildings but instead they are occupied with detached houses usually with corner businesses at the end of such blocks. The most noted feature of New Jersey is the town square park located in the middle of the neighborhood, complete with a band shell structure and community type venues located around it such as a bank and a church.

In the Godfather world New Jersey is a neighborhood that conveys an industrial ambiance. Through no fault of its own that’s the nature of such communities circa 1945 that were located along water way transit points. It’s an outlying residential community located along the waterfront of the Hudson River, and so it’s going to have warehouses, power plants and rail yards.

Q: What type of research went into re-creating 1945-1955 New Jersey?

SS: The starting point for research was to look at aerial photographs of New Jersey along the Hudson River region. Much of the area appears grid like and uniform, so little things such as city parks, angled streets relative to the grid layout, and rail yards in urban areas tend to stand out and identify an area that can represent a symbolic New Jersey town for the Godfather world. These elements along with the locations of the Lincoln and Holland Tunnel toll plazas to the north and south respectively really identified the general location for the New Jersey neighborhood. Other research pertains to looking at the types of buildings which are representative of many of the outlying neighborhoods of Manhattan such as the two story brick storefront and detached housing typologies.

Q: The Stracci's are considered the Butchers of Jersey because of their ruthless ‘business’ methods. What type of trouble might you find in Jersey if you snoop around in the wrong areas?

SS: Well for one thing most nearly all the business venues in New Jersey begin as Stracci owned locations. Thus when the player begins to take over a couple of these venues and gets the attention of the Straccis, the player – if injured – will need to take care when trying to get to a safe house or clinic. The Straccis will be highly visible on many of the Jersey streets. Also, snooping around the main rail yard can yield some interesting if not altogether dangerous results.

Q: What’s your favorite area in Jersey and why?

SS: I like the area around the Stracci compound and the rail yard. I find the Stracci compound to be an interesting challenge because the entry to the compound can be approached from three directions and so the player has some choices on an attack approach. The rail yard is a big open area where it might be possible to lose or neutralize a pursuing vehicle, and its one of the approaches to the Stracci compound.

Q: Tell us about the cop chasing mechanic – how does it work and when does it kick in?

SS: On foot and vehicle, cop presence increases and decreases according to the player’s heat level. Every time a player commits a crime, their heat level increases, which is represented by shields on the in-game display. At moderate heat levels you’ll start seeing cop patrol vehicles on the streets. And committing a crime in their sightlines or crashing into them will begin a chase. How long they’ll pursue the player is dependant upon the heat level. While the cops are in pursuit, if the player continues to commit crimes, like running over pedestrians, the cops will become more relentless. The cop’s goal during the chase is to stop your vehicle through ramming tactics and at higher heat levels they’ll open fire at the player’s vehicle.

Q: Any tips on fleeing the scene unnoticed, or at the very least, alive?

SS: If there are multiple cops in pursuit then one of the best things the player can do is head for their safehouse. Once the player enters their safehouse, cops will stop pursuing and it will decrease the player’s heat by a significant amount. But sometimes they’ll be waiting outside, so be careful on the way out.

Q: What type of research went into cop chases in the 40s and 50s?

SS: The research involved visualizing how cop chases functioned in movies and games, both new and old, and from there we focused on creating the police behaviors that gave a visceral and intense experience.

Q: How long will the chases last? Will they chase you into different neighborhoods?

SS: If the player is being pursued and enters a new neighborhood, the cops might stop chasing because the player’s heat level in the new neighborhood might be significantly lower. This gives the player another option of escaping the cops, but once the player re-enters the neighborhood they just left, their heat levels will still be high and the cops will be waiting.

Q: If you know the cops will be chasing you following a bank robbery, what getaway car would you recommend?

SS: I personally like the pickup truck because its one of the most stable vehicles in the game and it can take a beating. When cops try to ram the truck it won’t get banged around nearly as much as some of the other vehicles.


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