Puzo Estate Wins Big in Godfather Game Lawsuit

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Better than a horse head or a nap with a Hudson River smallmouth bass, the estate of author Mario Puzo has apparently settled for $1m from Paramount Pictures after filing suit against the studio last June. The suit alleged Paramount owed the Puzo estate compensation for retail and rental sales of the 2006 video game The Godfather, based on the similarly named 1972 movie and Puzo's original 1969 novel.

"We think it's a terrific settlement," said Puzo estate attorney Bert Fields, per MSNBC, referring to The Godfather as "one of the most admired films of all time."

Reportedly Paramount didn't pay the Puzo estate money owed under the terms of a prior lawsuit settled between the two back in 1992.

I liked EA's original The Godfather game. Initially, anyway. I'm not much for modern city settings. They're kind of soulless, stylistically. I'd rather carry a tommy-gun than an uzi, or scrimmage against rival families over a couple city blocks instead of railroading entire cities with rocket launchers and super-cars.

Still, any freeform game needs more than just a handful of activities. The Godfather II nailed the film's moody 1930s mafia vibe, but you couldn't help spotting the loop in the tape early on. Pulling off contract kills took zero tactical skill, and slapping around shop owners pretty much wore out its welcome after a dozen or so extortions.

Here's how I described it at the time:

It’s a problem plaguing all of these games, frankly. Gorgeous period-specific three-story brownstones and distant 1930s skyscrapers kiss moody sunsets, papers float and flap along dingy byways, alleys are cramped with zoot-suit thugs, Nino Rota’s archetypal score plays like a nostalgic dirge each time you jack a truck or car. But poke those flirty facades and everything’s void beneath. Businesses, warehouses, and even the family compounds themselves are schematically identical. You’ll enter the same back room with the same offices, doors, stairs and even same-stationed guards hundreds of times on your way to Don of NYC.

Will EA's upcoming The Godfather II beat its predecessor's mediocre rap? The new top-down "Don's view" strategy angle sounds interesting, and combat's been tactical renovated with skill-driven squads you'll command and maneuver. EA Redwood's track record's mixed, though. These are the guys responsible for something as unexpected as Dead Space...and as creatively vanilla as My Sims Kingdom.

Matt Peckham says someday — and that day may never come — we'll get the Godfather game we deserve. He'll always show you respect at twitter.com/game_on.

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