Thursday, March 19, 2009

Godfather 2 interview: cut, cars, and crew

Once again, I made EA Associate Producer Wes Culver an offer he couldn't refuse, and he was willing to share a bit more about The Godfather II. The game's due out April 7th in North America and April 10th in Europe.

As I said last time, I enjoyed the first Godfather game and the sequel seems to have a lot more dynamics, among other improvements. So I'm hopeful.

What RPG elements are at play in The Godfather II? What room exists for replayability in terms of character developmment?
There are a good number of elements in The Godfather II where you can upgrade your character and family. Traditional RPG elements include the ability to upgrade attributes for you as well as all of the Made Men in your family. Example attributes include the rate at which your health regenerates, your weapon accuracy level, your extortion effectiveness, and Black Hand skills, among others. Additionally, you will be able to find new weapons out in the game world that you’ll be able to wield. Depending on the type of weapon license your made men start out with (as they vary), they may be able to wield upgraded guns as well. Don’t worry if they don’t have an advanced weapon license, because you can always upgrade it by taking your made men in online multiplayer.

In addition to being able to upgrade attributes and skills, you’ll also be able to earn extra-special bonuses by taking over Crime Rings. Such bonuses include incendiary rounds, armored cars, bullet-proof vests, and more. Less traditional RPG elements include being able to build up your family as the Don. You choose which made men (and their associated specialties) you want to recruit. You decide who gets promoted and who doesn’t make the cut. You can even customize the appearance of yourself and your made men.

In regards to replayability, that’s mostly up to each individual. Since there are so many different ways of playing GF2, it is extremely rewarding to go back and play it again using a completely different strategy that yields different results. For example, you can go back and decide you want to take out all of the rival made men for each family. While taking out rival made men can be very challenging, it’s also very rewarding because it has a big impact on the strength of the family. Conversely, you can choose to go in guns blazing while trying to eliminate a rival family with all of their made men intact. It’ll be much more difficult, but possible. Being an open world game, each person can create their own fiction and unique experience in the Godfather universe.

Is combat entirely real-time? What's the balance between FPS aiming and character skills?
It depends… Combat between you, the Don, and your enemies is real time. As is any combat you personally engage in as the main character of GF2. However, being the Don carries certain perks, such as being able to order your made men to perform remote attacks on businesses while you’re doing something else. You can also send them to defend a business that’s either vulnerable or under attack.

Your character skills have a very big impact on your aiming. There are three different weapon accuracy attributes (for different types of weapons) as well as varying levels of each attribute. Add the “Marksman” ability on top of that, and the difference between when you start out and being fully upgraded is huge.

Has extorting businesses changed much since the first Godfather game?
The core of the extortion experienced has remained faithful to the original Godfather game, since it was one of our most highly rated features from the first game. We did, however, build on top of and around that core extortion experience. A great example of this is using your crew to gain access to side, rear, and other entrances in order to get the drop on enemies. You can have your engineer specialist cut through fences or cut the power so your rivals cannot call for extra backup. Your demolitions expert can blow open side entrances or have your bruiser break down walls. In addition to this, the concept that every racket belongs to a Crime Ring gives you a greater purpose for planning and attacking. Instead of just going after the closest business, you can choose to attack ones based on other factors, such as breaking up a Crime Ring or getting your own.

Will we see more vehicles in this Godfather game? Has driving gameplay been modified at all?

There are significantly more (I believe nearly 2x) vehicles in The Godfather II, compared to the original. There is also a greater amount of variety between the cars as well, including cars based off of 1960’s era muscle cars, sports cars, sedans, pickups, etc. In regards to the driving gameplay, the cars drive much faster than the first game so the way they feel matches their updated look.

Can you tell us more about the Online Honors in multiplayer?
Honors are the rewards you earn while playing online multiplayer. There are about a dozen different honors that each player can earn and you may even be able to earn multiple honors in a single match. Examples honors include being the top scorer on the winning team, healing your teammates 5 times, etc. Earning honors goes towards upgrading the weapon licenses of your made men each time you take them online.

What's your favorite weapon? Favorite skill? Favorite crew member?
It’s so difficult to choose a favorite weapon, since I use all of them depending on the situation. If I’m forced to pick, I’d have to say my favorite weapon is the Level 3 Magnum because it’s powerful in short and long range situations. My favorite skill for myself is the marksman ability, since I like to go for headshots when battling with a rival family. Favorite skill for my crew is upgrading their proficiency in any given specialty, which greatly reduces the time it takes to crack a safe, cut a fence, revive me, etc. My favorite crew member is Tommy Cipolla, the unique made man you get by pre-ordering the game (everyone’s got their pre-order in, right? :) because he starts with two specialties, an upgraded weapon license, and an upgraded gun by default.

So there you have it. You have a couple weeks to practice your worst Italian accent and polish your Gatling gun. Culver's team has put the game's brief delay since last month to good use and created yet another multiplayer mode, so you'd better be ready for my crew to burn down your casino!

Thanks again to EA and Wes Culver for the interview. If you missed my first interview with Culver, concerning The Don's View, you can find that here.


  1. there are other people who start with 2 specialties and a expert license. the one i got is Leroy Petriboni. Check out Active Electronics.
    I found him in the room on the side.

  2. all i need to know is how to get the guns for ur crew i dont see anything on the guy screen and i looked all day can u gimme some help?

  3. @dude You can either upgrade your men's weapon licenses by playing with them online (multiplayer) or you can replace them with other Made Men you might find with the same specialties and better licenses (but you'll have to pay for the skill upgrades all over again).

    But that just makes them able to handle better weapons. You have to discover better weapons (some are in rival compounds) for them to become available to those who have the license for them.

    In other words, odds are that you won't have more than one or two level 2 weapons until shortly before the end of the game. So the Made Men weapon screen is mainly for you to decide which man uses which level 1 or 2 weapon. Made Men don't switch between weapons without your direction.


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