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EA breaks Godfather's vow of silence

update Game based on famed film will use Brando's voice, put player in role of aspiring mobster seeking to rise to head of crime family.

update Marlon Brando is dead, but his voice will live on, as Electronic Arts said it plans a video game version of the classic 1972 film "The Godfather" using the brooding actor's voice and likeness.

In addition to Brando bringing his character, Don Vito Corleone, to life, actors James Caan--who played Brando's son and heir-apparent Sonny Corleone--and Robert Duvall, who played Brando's adopted son and adviser Tom Hagen, will also lend their voices and likenesses to the game, EA said.

When EA first revealed it was working on a game adaptation of "The Godfather," many gamers felt like they'd been given an offer they could refuse.

As with VU Games' "Scarface," there was a lot of skepticism about how such an iconic film could be turned into a viable game. Would it feature the likenesses and voices of the film's original cast? Could it be surprising, even though the film's ending is well-known?

Until today, EA had let "Godfather" questions linger in an information vacuum worthy of the Mafia vow of silence. However, following this morning's article in the Hollywood Reporter, which revealed that the game would feature voice acting by original cast members, the publisher opened up the books on its mob sim.

Mean streets of New York
According to a statement issued by EA late today, the "Godfather" game is set for a fall 2005 release on the PlayStation 2, Xbox, PSP and PC. While "the book by Mario Puzo and classic film by Paramount Pictures serve as inspiration for the game," it will also offer up an all-new storyline featuring characters from the film. Players will begin by creating their own character, a low-end hood trying to earn money on the mean streets of New York City from 1945 to 1955. After working a series of small-time jobs and earning a modicum of respect, the character will join the storied Corleone family and interact with figures from the film such as family heir Sonny Corleone, consigliere Tom Hagen, and the capo di tutti capi, Don Vito Corleone.

"The Godfather" will feature "Grand Theft Auto"-style nonlinear gameplay, which will "offer gamers countless choices for solving the family's problems with brutal violence, skillful diplomacy or a cunning mixture of both," according to EA. Mission types will run the entire criminal gamut from simple shakedowns, bank robberies and drive-by shootings to high-profile hits.

The game will also have a branching plotline a la "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II," where "decisions made by the player in the game will have lasting consequences."

The game is being developed internally by EA at its central Redwood Shores, Calif., studio. Though no rating has been officially announced yet, executives have said it will carry an M, or mature, rating.

Tor Thorsen reported for GameSpot. Reuters contributed to this report.