Bringing out the big guns

Game biz goes on crime spree with pic icons

Vidgame publishers are betting crime pays, at least when it comes packaged by Hollywood.

Some of the biggest criminal and crime fighting properties from Hollywood are making their way to gamers.

Some are ’70s classics. Electronic Arts is in development on a “Godfather” game and Warner Bros.’ vidgame division is starting work on a “Dirty Harry” title.

Meanwhile, HBO is negotiating with publisher THQ to make a game based on “The Sopranos,” an effort the pay cabler has been working on for a while.

Publishers are believed to be paying big for these properties — and for good reason. They combine the most popular elements of vidgame franchises — violent actioners like “Halo” and “Grand Theft Auto” — with the benefit of an instantly recognizable brand name.

They also bring major talent along for the ride. Clint Eastwood is involved in “Dirty Harry,” while the late Marlon Brando and other stars recorded voices for “The Godfather.”

“Sopranos” creator David Chase and stars like James Gandolfini are expected to be key parts of a game if a deal gets finalized.

They also fit into a larger trend of studios and networks mining their libraries to find properties that transition well into games.

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