In addition we've shifted to a free-aim firearm aiming system as your default, so as soon as you pull out a gun, you can swing the camera around and start firing (very useful when sweeping the legs with a Tommy gun). This feels much more natural, but we still wanted to take advantage of the precision targeting from the first game, so when you pull the left trigger you'll lock on to the closest target. While locked-on, you'll still be able to adjust your aim and go for a knee shot or everyone's favorite move, the headshot.
CCC: If you could, please explain The Don's View mechanic in greater detail. How will players make use of it in the game?
JW: It all comes back to letting the player experience the fantasy of being the man in charge - of being the Don of their own family. At any time in the game, the player is going to be faced with any number of strategic decisions. The Don's View is a way for the player to quickly assess the state of all the businesses in the world, his family, and all the families he's battling against. In the Godfather II, cash is king, and taking over all the rackets and eliminating the rival families is your path to success. While it sounds complicated, in game it's incredibly intuitive and easy to use. Players will jump to it instantly every few minutes as the rival families make their moves against you and each other.
For example, you might be busy waging an assault on a heavily guarded racket in Miami when you get an update from Tom that one of your rackets in Cuba is under attack by the Grenados. By jumping to the Don's View, you can quickly see the state of the attack in progress and see that you already have enough guards to fend off the assault. Because you're an angry Don who doesn't take any crap from anybody, you might decide to return the favor. You jump to your family tree and see that in addition to the three crew members with you, you have two more soldiers and a Demolitionist Capo hanging out at your compound. Back to the map screen you send your two soldiers to attack one of their fronts in New York to go after their income, and send your Demolitionist to bomb one of their rackets... and then you're back to your assault within a few seconds. By the time you've mopped up, you pop back to the Don's View to see that your bomber has been successful... their racket is in flames, your two soldiers are about to take the front in New York for you, and your guards have successfully repelled the original attack... All in a day's work!
CCC: We've heard a bit about the incorporation of multiplayer into the single-player experience of Godfather II, i.e. accruing money and titles online in order to improve your family offline, but it all seems a little unclear still. What do our readers need to know about the merging of online and offline modes?
JW: It always feels like a shame to us that most people play either single-player campaigns or multiplayer in discreet chunks, and that the two rarely mingle - almost acting like completely separate games. We tried to mix this up a little in Godfather by allowing you to take the Made Men from your family tree, and play AS them, using their specialties in multiplayer. As you promote and upgrade your family members in the single-player campaign, you'll see those skill increases and new specialties available to you as you play with them in multiplayer. In addition, as you earn money and new weapon licenses in multiplayer, you'll be able to spend that money on new skills or defending your businesses in the campaign. We're really hoping people who might not otherwise do so will jump into multiplayer to play as these characters they've hired, buffed up, and hopefully feel attached to. In addition, hardcore multiplayer fans will keep dropping into single player to find those last weapon upgrades, or spend some of their cash on new skills. With the new wagering mechanic in Don Control, we hope we also see some players start forming their own virtual "crime families"... and start some high-stakes matches. I'll be psyched to see the first player with a billion dollars in winnings on the leaderboards...
CCC: What parallels can be drawn between the world of Godfather II the video game and Godfather II the film?
JW: "Parallels" is actually a great way to describe it. Much like the first game, we're not trying to simply re-tell the story of the book and movie. They're brilliant works of art, but it would be a mistake for us to try to tell the exact same story the exact same way - it would be much easier to watch the movie again. Instead, we're really interested in you carving out your own narrative from the Godfather world, while still making sure your story intersects with all the great moments you know and love. So we've focused exclusively on the "present day" part of the fiction taking place in the early 60's - the Mob dividing up Cuba, the Senate investigation of organized crime, blackmailing Senator Geary, etc.
Since Dominic becomes a Don of his own family in the beginning of the game, we were also able to parallel many of the elements from other Don's stories - Vito, Michael, and Sonny. We really like to think of him as the best of those three Dons mixed together - Vito's rise from rags to riches, Michael's cold-hearted calculation, and Sonny's take-no-prisoners-beat-you-down-with-a-garbage-can attitude.