Tony 'f***ing' Montana - that's what Radical Entertainment has pinned up all around its office as one of the guiding principles for its new Scarface game, which is set for release on Xbox, PS2 and PC this very Autumn.
Hardly surprising given the ultra-violent and, it has to be said, ultra cool movie source material in which Al Pacino shot, snarled and snorted his way through eighties Miami as the eponymous nouveau drug lord.
On show at GDC 05 for the very first time, albeit in trailer movie form, a first few intriguing details about Scarface emerged. The game will begin where Brian De Palma's 1983 flick left off, with you stepping into the Cuban heels of Tony Montana at the denouement of the movie in Tony's mansion. However, instead of going down in a blood-drenched blaze of cocaine-fuelled glory, this time you'll escape the mansion and hide out in a thinly disguised Bahamas before returning to reclaim your empire from chief bad guy Alejandro Sosa.
Key to re-establishing your lost reputation and respect will be regaining control of a number of territories in Miami and beyond, with various on-foot and vehicular missions available to fuel your ascent to power. Your rise back to the top of the crime pyramid will be achieved by whacking Sosa's lieutenants, gaining cash, dealing product and then laundering your drug money through legitimate businesses. We suppose comparisons with the GTA series are natural, given the crime-fuelled subject matter and third-person perspective, but more on that later.
There's certainly plenty of uber-violence on offer in the gameplay trailer with Tony Montana wielding a vast assortment of weapons and explosives as he carves a bloody swathe through eighties' Florida. One interesting feature will be the ability to tease and taunt opponents with some foul mouthed abuse (don't expect Scarface to be anything but 18+ rated) and it also looks like there'll be plenty of unlockable outfits as well as some seriously violent flowery shirts for Tony to deploy.
One intriguing issue surrounding Scarface is whether Vivendi will be able to secure and use the likeness and voice of a certain Mr. Alfredo James Pacino. While the cut scene trailer showed a very Pacino-like Montana sitting on his golden throne, it would be something of a surprise to find big Al himself actually indulging in a spot of voice work, though we suppose stranger things have happened. Our money's on a sound-a-like for the moment, though we're expecting an announcement from Vivendi on this issue in the very near future. So stay tuned.
Possibly the strangest thing to emerge from the entire first look at the game was watching a virtual Tony Montana grooving away in an eighties' style disco replete with a bevy of puffball skirted and big haired lovelies. Quite how this fits into the scheme of things who knows, but as Tony says: "I've only got two things in this world, my balls and my word - and I don' break 'em for no-one." Hm, what a gameplay mechanic that could make.
Of course, the question overriding everything else for Vivendi and the gaming world at large is whether Scarface is simply going to be a 'me-too' GTA-style clone. We'd certainly hope this is not what Radical are aiming for, as with a wealth of strong source material to draw on, a marvellously over-the-top central character to explore, and enough potential to move the whole mission-based, free-form gameplay mechanic forward, there's ample time to differentiate Scarface from Rockstar's all conquering smash.
We'll certainly know more when Vivendi and Radical unveil even more Scarface in the very near future. In fact, the word on the street is that we'll be due a grand unveiling shortly, so we'll be sure to bring you more then.
In the meantime enjoy these first selection of screens from the game, as well as some highly attractive environmental art, with peeks at some of the intriguing Scarface locations.