In the history of organized crime, there are usually many different gangs or families operating at the same moment. At times, there can be peace between these groups, each of them concentrating on their own businesses and turfs. However, peace is always a delicate balance. Old grudges die hard, perceived weaknesses can lead to confrontation, and at times, all-out war.
In Eric M. Lang’s new game, The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire, there are five different families: the Matarazzos, Caccamos, Marzullos, Vitales, and Pizzinos. The peace that has existed between them is about to be shattered. Sensing a weakness in Don Corleone’s control of the city, each of the families are making moves to be in a position to take over when he can no longer run his operations. This will mean pulling jobs, shaking down businesses, bribing influential allies, and taking out the competition. With a little luck, it will be your family that can rise through the criminal ranks to lead New York into a new era of organized crime. Otherwise, you might find yourself at the bottom of the Hudson River with a new pair of cement shoes.
Lang avoided using the five families represented in The Godfather movie for a simple reason: their story had already been told. With The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire, Lang wanted to create a narrative that felt very much like a tribute to the original tale, but that was a new beginning. Players will be able to write their own story as the game progresses, and each encounter will have its own unique outcome.
The designs for the Family Members fell to artist Karl Kopinski. Instead of going with a generic picture for each the characters, Kopinski opted to create unique images, brimming with personality. The miniatures in the game were based directly on his illustrations, and his art features heavily throughout the game. Kopinski’s goal was to create characters that felt true to the time and setting of the story. His illustrations of the different family members are full of life. They are characters pulled right from the 1950s, in pinstriped suits and fur-lined jackets. They wear fedoras and have flowers in their lapels, but they aren’t shy to pull out a tommy gun or a meat cleaver. The women wear gowns and pearls, but also pack pistols, ready to flex their muscles, if necessary.
“We were looking to create believable characters with a real stylistic continuity that would fit within the movie’s world and settings,” said Kopinski. “The correct fashions were important, and also to maybe bring a little more character to the opposing families, things that couldn't be explored in the film’s storylines.”
Each family is made up of a Don, a Consigliere, an Heir, and a team of Thugs. Because every Family Member has their own unique design, it allowed Kopinski to get creative, and even personal, with his illustrations.
“All the different characters meant I could explore some cool ideas with the creative team,” said Kopinski. “It was really nice to include characters which were based on people I know. I'm a portrait artist at heart, so I really enjoy this kind of project.”
In the game, the Family Members are powerful figures. Distinguished by a round base, they are placed on the borders between Turfs. Instead of shaking down the front of the different business in the city, Family Members use the back door to conduct their negotiations. When placed on the board, a Family Member will get the backs of business benefits for all the businesses in the Turfs that they border. Between rounds, when the control of a Turf is determined, Family Members contribute only one force, the same as a lowly Thug. However, their influence is felt over every neighborhood they border, demanding much more respect.
Kopinski tried to work that feeling of strength into his representations of the Family Members.
“I was trying to portray an element of menace and malice, some swagger, a pinch of charm, and a healthy dose of badassery!”
It’s pretty clear he’s been successful. One look at characters like Tanino, the Heir to the Matarazzo family and his blood covered axe, or Il Macellaio, the cleaver-wielding Consigliere of the Pizzino family, and it’s clear they will do anything to protect the family business.
The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire allows players to step into the world of organized crime in 1950s New York City. Choose a family to lead, but make sure you’re loyal. Each of these five different organizations is determined to rise to the top of the criminal underworld, and they won’t hesitate to eliminate any obstacles that get in their way.
The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire is coming to your FLGS on July 28, or two weeks earlier on July 14 exclusively at official CMON Play stores. Located the store nearest you here.
Stay up to date as we draw closer to the game’s release by following the official The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire Facebook page.
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