EA dials M for ‘Godfather’ vidgame

Activision's slate includes Spidey, Shrek sequels

HOLLYWOOD — Electronic Arts is preparing to make videogame players an offer they can’t refuse.

Vidgame publisher is prepping a game based on “The Godfather,” chief financial officer Warren Jensen confirmed at the Bear Stearns entertainment and media conference in Palm Beach, Fla. He added that the game may be one of the first EA titles to carry an M rating, the vidgame industry equivalent of an R — a significant move for the biggest and most mass-market company in its industry.

It’s unclear whether EA’s game would be based on the classic film trilogy or Mario Puzo’s book. An EA spokesman declined to provide details, saying only, “We have a period-based gangster game in development.”

Also making news at the conference was EA competitor Activision. CEO Bobby Kotick provided new details on his company’s fiscal 2006 release slate, which begins in April 2005, including new games based on the “Shrek” and “Spider-Man” franchises.

Activision published a game tied to the first “Spider-Man” pic and has another skedded for the sequel this summer, when it will also be releasing a vidgame adaptation of “Shrek 2,” for which it picked up the rights from TDK Interactive when it was acquired by Take Two Interactive late last year.

A spokesman declined to comment on or even confirm the games, but their release would fit in with previous comments from Kotick about building franchises in the vidgame world not tied to film releases. Both games would presumably use characters from the films and “Spider-Man” comic but have new storylines, as there will not be a film release to tie either game to next year.

News for Activision comes as it is dealing with recent shareholder lawsuits alleging that it issued misleading financial information between Feb. 1, 2001, and Dec. 17, 2002, a claim the publisher has denied.

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