I'm sure we all have dreams; mine is to be a great writer someday. Obviously, if you have read more than one of my articles, I still have a long way to go but I'm working on it. One of my less achievable dreams however is to make my own video games. It's not that I don't have the ideas, boy do I, I just don't have the resources and I don't think anyone is going to hire me to write a script for a video game anytime soon. Also I think it might be kind of impossible to make with my super duper high standards. That doesn't stop me from thinking them up though, so I wanted to share this particular mafia themed game idea with you. Enjoy!
In a moment I'll explain the characters and their backstory/storylines. The overall plot is a hard one though. There are three different directions a developer could go with the plot:
- Pick a character at the start and play as them throughout the game.
Doing this one, you would get to experience the whole story four different times with each one having their own extended plot. Focusing more on story and mechanics and less on graphics, their plots would be able to have a good amount of time. It would make the gamer happy because each character has like 6-10 hours of original play time before you include side missions or grinding for stat increases. That's 40+ hours of story and gameplay off one game. It's kind of four regular games in one (not counting RPGs like Fallout). The other characters would need to show up in the story and you just see the ending from different perspectives. Same ending different perspective and completely different plots through the game. An intertwining story of going through four different paths to get to the same destination.
- Play as each character during one singular plot.
This would be like your LA Noire type where you're going as one character then once you get to a certain place in the story you take over another character, Eventually getting to the ending where all four characters get to the same place. What would be great is if you had spent time and energy with all four characters upgrading them to be the best they can be until then at the end they fought for the role of Don. Now you have to pick your favorite character and kill off the ones you spent time working on and upgrading and giving the best weapons to.
- Play as all four characters switching up during key points.
This would fully utilize the four character set in a GTA 5 sort of fashion. Start out playing as one as they introduce each story and then they form a team. The team takes down everything that comes their way Gangster Squad style. They all have a common enemy and they all get to the ending together. They also all have their roles.
Now the following is going to assume one of the latter two choices were made. These guys all form a bond, a brotherhood. "The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb" is an important aspect. Overall though, after a long standing time of peace among the mafia dons, things are starting to rattle beneath the surface and Benny unknowingly causes the whole thing to shatter. Secrets are revealed, friendships lost, and bodies are left by the wayside.
We have 4 different characters of various races. In order we have Benny, Ken, Cristian and Jamie. They're the protagonists of this story. Mind you only one of them is Italian so you can expect race to play a big role for the other three as they won't easily be accepted into a mafia family.
- Benny Cuoco - Age 26 (The Brain)
Benny is the son of the current Don, Don Cuoco, and a long deceased mother. Although held in high regards by his father, to everyone else in the family Benny is seen as the idiot son. He works hard to prove to everyone that he isn't the idiot they believe him to be. However, this always causes him to get into situations he doesn't expect. Benny was placed in a Consigliere role right off the bat as he went to college for a business degree and he would be of service in the legitimate business side of things. After a number of botched missions that he had to be rescued from, he would be dropped down to capo and given a business to run. Though he is smart when it comes to business he's almost hopelessly inept at the more criminal aspects of the family, not even knowing how to fire a gun that well.
He would obviously be where you would start off at, and learn the game as you grow him into a more superior character. Benny's story would start off with him going into a business for an unscheduled cash pick up when he finds a large number of police officers there. It would end in a firefight with Benny losing half of his crew if not more. He returns home, his team decimated, to the disappointment of his father. Don Cuoco drops his role down to capo and has him in charge of the garage.
- Jamie McCall - Cuoco Age 29 (The Handyman)
Jamie and Benny grew up together. Jamie's father, James McCall, was a crooked police captain who did many favors and let many things slide for Don Cuoco. Cpt. McCall was killed in the line of duty and afterwards Don Cuoco took him and his mom in and took care of them. Don Cuoco, against the family's wishes, married Jamie's mother and adopted Jamie. The only members of the family who accept Jamie are Benny and Joey Fisher, an older member of the family who ran the garage.
Joey teaches Jamie all about fixing things and Jamie takes to it easily. Eventually he gets so good with his hands that he can repair and maintain almost anything including the armory. He fixed guns and even added mounts to them, like flashlights, tasers and crazier things, constantly tinkering. He is also good at escaping, he can hotwire or repair any car and is very good at getting himself or others out of handcuffs. Joey was also a combat medic in the war and teaches Jamie medical techniques he needs so he can patch up his team.
Though he excelled at these things, he still wasn't accepted by the family. He worked harder than anyone and when Joey Fisher was gunned down he took over the garage. He turned the backroom into a gym and worked out to get stronger and faster. After seeing his skills, he is given one chance to show he is worth it. He passes with flying colors but is still relegated to Benny's bodyguard. Though Jamie loves Benny as his brother, they still have a very combative relationship, because though Jamie was more of an asset to the illegal side
- Ken - Age 38 (The Ghost)
Ken has long forgotten the name given to him, choosing instead to take on the alias Ken (no last name). Ken was one of the most skilled lieutenants of the strongest Yakuza families. Referred to as the invisible man, he was usually sent for assassinations, quick and quiet. He is pretty much the Agent 47 of the Yakuza. He had been molded by the Yakuza family boss since the age of 11, killing his first man at 16. Despite being completely jaded, he still managed to find love and had 2 daughters.
During an assassination he found himself unable to kill a young girl who reminded him of his youngest daughter. He manages to escape from the police but since he didn't have enough time to wipe everything, his face was caught on surveillance. His face was plastered on every news network and he was forced to go into hiding. After a meeting with the other lieutenants that turned bloody as they attempted to kill him, he returned home to find his family all slaughtered. He hunts and kills the Yakuza family boss and then flees to America.
He starts to try to forget about it all and build a new life there but 8 years later the Yakuza boss' son has taken over and is still on the hunt for Ken. He saves Jamie's life during a deal gone bad. Jamie sees Ken's moves and recruits him for the Cuoco family. Ken reluctantly agrees as his civilian lifestyle is getting harder to maintain with the new Yakuza family boss tracking him down. He joins Jamie in the garage.
- Cristian Alvarez - Age 40 (The Expert)
Cristian is a disgraced police officer who was once undercover infiltrating the Medellín Cartel. He was close to taking the cartel down when a kid no older than 17 joined the cartel and was framed for the execution of a police officer. Cristian takes the rap and is sentenced to 10 years. When he gets out he is a pariah and none of his cop friends will speak to him. His ex-wife won't see him or allow him to see his son.
Four years later and the best he can do is a security job for a hotel. When Benny is ambushed at the hotel, in the starting mission, Cristian gets him out and to his car. When Cristian finds the driver already dead, he drives Benny home evading pursuers and police alike. Benny likes his style and decides to recruit him. Cristian is hesitant at first living most of his life on the right side of the law, but as he receives another letter denying him visitation to his son and a raise in his bills, he becomes finished with playing by the rules. Cristian would find that the kid who he saved from going to jail now runs a cartel of his own and is eager to do business with him.
Cristian was the top of his class in driving and shooting. He has the best of both worlds as he understands the police and he understands the cartel life..
Which Character Do You Like Best?
Love Interests and Other Female Characters
I know females are pretty misrepresented in video games. They're always thrown in as love interests or to make the character relatable. I'm fine with substituting any of the protagonists in with females. I'm sure the stories are pretty gender neutral considering none of them are directly male centric stories. Ken could have been a girl Yakuza, I'm sure Benny could have been the underestimated daughter and kept the name. In the same way, any of the males could be gender swapped for the new gender of the protagonist. The only reason I didn't include a girl is because I didn't really think of it as relevant and I know that's part of the problem.
Taylor - Benny
Taylor helps her parents run their community center. Taylor and Benny went to college together. They were close friends and were always together; both of them attracted to each other, but they just can't say it. Benny likes how comfortable he is around her, but he can't tell her about his real business. Taylor can tell Benny is hiding something and she doesn't like it. I imagine for her she witnesses Benny kill people and she stops talking to him. He tries to get her back but she's not having it. People bust in her house and try to kidnap her but she kills them. Her dad taught her how to shoot and defend herself so she was ready. She agrees to stay with him until all of it is over but afterward she is leaving.
Anjelica - Benny
Half Italian girl with something to prove. She knows the business inside and out as her father was once a don until he was killed and they kicked her out of the family. Benny loves how strong, dangerous, fun, and free spirited she is. If Taylor is the angel on his shoulder, Anjelica is definitely the devil on the other. Everywhere she goes she leaves a path of destruction in her wake. She wants to take down her "family" and is going to use Benny and his crew to do it. Anjelica really likes Benny but she's not sure he can keep up with her lifestyle and she certainly isn't about to slow it down for him.
Jennifer "Not Jenny" Age 14 - Jamie
Jennifer is not a tomboy, ordinarily she's your typical girly girl. She likes to play around with make up and watch all the usual teeny bopper media. Jennifer just really loves car and spends a lot of time at the garage checking things out. Though Jamie has tried to get rid of her multiple times she just keeps coming back and Jamie has come to accept her as part of the team. She's innocent though, so he keeps her away from the dark side of his business only teaching her everything she needs to know about cars. Jennifer works part time enough to buy an old broken down car and Jamie agrees to help her learn how to fix it up in time for her to get her license. She brings a light to the dark world Jamie has to deal with. Jennifer also insists on never being called Jenny by anyone other than Jamie, as he is the only one who cares about her enough to have earned that right.
Denise - Jamie
Denise is Jamie's long time girlfriend. She knows the business he does but definitely doesn't like it, but she loves him. She wants Jamie to go straight and only worry about the garage but she knows that if she adds the extra stress on him he might not make it home. Denise is smart, she often helped Jamie run the garage with the numbers though she didn't get a chance to go to college herself. She likes Benny but hates that he took over management of the garage from her and Jamie. Most of the conflict in the game would be her trying to prove that she is better than Benny and trying to convince Jamie that the garage is all they need.
Olivia - Cristian
Olivia is a rookie detective trying to make a name for herself among her new peers. Her sights are set on the crew. She especially wants to hunt down Cristian who she believes to have killed her brother. She has a grudge and she's out for blood.
Andrea Alvarez - Cristian
Cristian's little sister. After taking the rap for the future cartel leader, when he comes into power he promises to take care of your family. Andrea gets a job in the cartel as a midboss controlling a network of runners on the North East side. She will be conducting business and giving Cristian jobs. Not to be trusted though, she will just as easily have her nephew kidnapped if Cristian doesn't hold up his end. Business comes first with her, and it's money over everything.
Elena Roberts - Cristian
Elena is the mother of Cristian's son Robbie. She distrusts Cristian because of his actions but she doesn't want her son to think bad of his father. Elena has moved on and remarried but Cristian will always be Robbie's father. She has to do what's best for her son though and she doesn't feel a murderer is the best role model.
Mckenzie - Ken
Mckenzie is a japanese speaking librarian who helps Ken speak English more fluently and find a job. Ken already speaks fluent English as learning other languages is integral to his role as an assassin but he enjoys her company as she is the only person who has been nice to him since he arrived. Mckenzie eventually learns that but by then they've already built a very close bond. She starts bringing him food because she knows he won't cook for himself. She lost her husband a few years ago, a Japanese American soldier stationed in Japan where she learned the language. She was also a computer analyst in the army.
Sara Age 8 - Ken
Sara is Mckenzie's daughter and reminds Ken of his daughters. She hangs around the library a lot while her mother works and Ken spends time with her. She doesn't really remember her father but she does remember a song he used to sing to her as a kid.
The main ending finds that Don Cuoco has in some way screwed over all four characters and attempts to have them killed off. They go on one final suicide mission to kill Cuoco off. Benny has a crisis as he doesn't know if he can kill his own father, but instead Cristian handcuffs Don Cuoco to his desk and Jamie plants a bomb under it. As the group drives away, everything Don Cuoco had said to Benny starts rolling around in his head. Benny flips the switch and a huge explosion is seen in the background.
- Benny - Benny learns that Don Cuoco was cheating on his mother with Jamie's mother and kicked her out when she threatened to leave with Benny. He claimed Benny's mother was whoring herself out in Chicago. After the death of Don Cuoco Benny takes over as Don with Jamie as his consigliere. He eventually finds his mother who tells him that his father threatened to kill her if she ever contacted him again.
- Jamie - Don Cuoco murdered Jamie's dad when he started to have a crisis of conscience and wanted to stop helping Don Cuoco. He also learns that Don Cuoco was sleeping with his mother long before Jamie opens up garages in multiple cities and serves as Benny's consigliere. Denise has Jamie's son and with the role as consigliere Jamie hopes to reduce his involvement in the illegal parts of the family businesses so he can make it home to his wife.
- Cristian - Don Cuoco was a trusted partner in the Medellin Cartel and James McCall got him a list of undercover agents working the case. Don Cuoco intended for him to be murdered that day, but the other police officer got in the way. Cristian is finally able to speak to his ex-wife and tell her the truth. She allows him to see his son who has already become 16 years old. Cristian promises to be a better father in the future. He then introduces him to his new uncles Benny and Jamie.
- Ken - Ken is kidnapped by Don Cuoco's men and given to the new Yakuza boss. The other three mount a rescue. They save him, but on the way out he gets shot. They tear down the Cuoco family and kill Don Cuoco, but Ken loses too much blood and dies on the way to hospital after the explosion. He explains that he is tired of this life and that he was glad to have gotten a new family in those three before he died. He asks if they believe he can go to heaven to be with his wife and children; he dies before they can answer. They take him to Japan to be buried with his family. Mckenzie and Sara leave the state with the money Ken gave them to disappear.
The final scene shows Benny standing out on the balcony of his home, Jamie and Cristian walk up, Jamie asks if Benny is ready and he nods in reply. Benny begins to talk to a crowd of his new recruits. He asks the question: "Are you ready to run this town?"
Other Dons and Families
Rival Drug Cartels
Standard open world third person shooting gameplay. The difference comes in for the missions. I'll plan out more thorough gameplay mechanics later.
- Plan Out Missions
Now I know theoretically this would get boring after a while but I think what you're working on would make it interesting. Your goal is to get the factions fighting. The different mafia families should eventually be in full on war by the end of it to burn themselves out. You'll plan the missions as to whether you'll go in quietly or loudly, whether you're framing another mafia family for it or going in as yourselves, or whether you're going to kill the capo or leave him to warn the others. You could even decide to make the robbery a distraction while you plant a bomb. Really work out those character roles.
- Bases and Businesses
Obviously the main base would be the garage. Businesses can be bought and sold. You can also own property and can upgrade or maintain them. For example, if you choose to sublet an apartment, you would go to make repairs at certain times or hire a contractor or a superintendent for a price. For larger properties the superintendent isn't a choice, like apartment buildings or offices. You can buy and repair businesses you've burned down. For businesses you run, you can keep up with employees and give them all raises or things of that nature. These wouldn't impact the storyline but merely things to do to keep entertained after the plot is done.
- Trust Meters
Like I said you're trying to get mafia families fighting each other. There would be meters saying that things are stable between the Corleones and the Sopranos, hit a Sopranos barbershop and tell them the Corleones did it then that relationship might not be so stable anymore. Inversely get your trust up by doing missions for other dons and they'll believe anything.
- Use the Cops
You make a large ruckus in one part of town, lead the cops in a high speed car chase to one of the other don's stash houses or illegal businesses. Then find an exit; sneak out the back, or jump from one roof to the next. Figure out some way not to get caught in there and let that business go down in a "random" cop raid.
Like in Assassin's Creed you'll be able to recruit soldiers to do your bidding. You can have them go to businesses and extort money. You can have them bodyguard you or you can take them into missions and have them crowd control, blend in with the crowd as a hostage or alert you when police presence arrives. If you want to rob a bank you can even recruit a bank teller to help you. The more you build your empire the more respected you'll become. You'll also be in charge of having them gain experience through missions and their rise through the ranks. However, recruits may end up branching off into their own mafia families and causing you trouble later.
- Getaway driver
Getaway driver goes along with recruitment. If you're driving along the street and there is a random crime happening like a bank robbery or crimes you can choose to help the police (especially as Cristian with his handcuffs) or you can choose to help the criminal. You can invite them in your car and get them away from the police. If there's a high enough score you can be included in, you can murder the criminal and take it all or you can recruit them as a soldier.
- Group stabilization
With any group it's important that they're all okay with each other. If the group isn't on the same wavelength it will make missions that much harder. Let the characters hang out with each other. Go grab a beer, have two characters chill and watch TV while you're doing something else with another character. Keep them copacetic, they're a brotherhood and they need to be able to work together.
- Stay Anonymous
Nobody who isn't working for you can know you're running things. Witness tampering, bribing and extortion are all at your disposal. You can pay off police officers to tell you what they have on you and who the undercover police officers are. However, certain characters won't approve of killing undercovers and may end up causing a rift between them that needs to be repaired in the way stated above. Also if you take too much money from businesses they will be inclined to testify against you in a court case so you can either pay off your workers or kill and replace them.
- Member of the Community
The best criminals are the ones who blend in and don't seem like criminals. Each character will have ways that he can be a good member of the community. Ken can read books to the children at the library. Benny can volunteer at the community center with Taylor and tutor kids or coach sports teams. Jamie can help people on the side of the road with their vehicles for no charge. Cristian can drive a van to help elderly people get to where they need to go for free. There would be other stuff they all could do too and they would all be time sensitive. If you commit Benny to coaching and you don't make it it will reflect negatively on you. If you're playing as another character Benny will automatically go anyway so you don't have to watch the clock every second. The same goes for Ken and Cristian. If you're too late, you will only receive half the positive attention. You can also donate money to certain charities and events to increase your standings.
- Character Roles
Each character adds a different playing style to the game.
Benny (The Brain) - He is the business man. Owning businesses is key to the mafia life and maintaining them is hard. You will be able to upgrade businesses, raise or lower prices and dictate what amount of the money goes where or to whom. In gameplay his aim won't be great but he will be smart enough to utilize explosive and lay traps. Also he gets a lot of respect as the boss' son. Business owner side missions. Trafficking side missions.
Weapons of choice: Dual Pistols, C-4
Jamie (The Handyman) - He excels at close quarters combat but more than adequate with a gun. Good at finding escape routes in building and also good at making explosives. Best at upgrading weapons and cars with the right material. Upgrades will improve his abilities to pick locks, handcuffs, and hotwire cars (though any character can, he does it faster). He has highest speed and stamina when running. Escort side missions. Working missions. Car theft side missions.
Weapons of choice: Dual Wrenches, Mac-10, Shotgun
Ken (The Ghost) - He is the best at moving quickly and silently. He is the most stealthy and has a number of silent take downs. Though not as good as Cristian's his weapons prowess is high. Best at finding escape routes and sneaking through vents. Easiest executions. Cracking safes and other security. Assassination side missions. Robbery side missions.
Weapons of choice: Sniper Rifle and Pistol with Silencer
Cristian Alvarez (The Expert) - He is the best at shooting and driving. Best driver in the game, can reach top speeds and keep control the best. Best aim. Best at evading police because he knows how police think. Can use handcuffs. Playing as Cristian would involve a lot of car warfare. Cartel side missions. Driving side missions.
Weapons of choice: Multiple Pistols and Assault Rifle
I obviously can't think of ideas to make up the whole game but I do have a few ideas.
Rescue - Sara is kidnapped from her preschool by the Yakuza Boss. Ken has to sneak into the lair and rescue her. It's a stealth heavy mission so he can't make too much noise or she dies. However, Jamie made a device to jam the radios of anyone with a point and click; you can be seen, but if you are seen you have to take them out quickly before they can get out of sight and alert the others. The same goes for Cristian when his sister kidnaps his son, except instead of sneaking he has to chase his sister down in a car, incapacitate her car, maintain a speed to where Robbie can jump from her car to his, and then ultimately stop his sister and arrest her.
Introductions - Each character would need an intro mission. It would explain their story and their gameplay mechanics. Benny's would open up with him going to the business and it ending in a firefight. Jamie's would have him going on his first mission and it going well only to come home and be assigned to assisting Benny. Ken you would meet when Jamie introduces him to Benny as part of the team, his intro mission would be a flashback mission later. Cristian's intro mission would be the same as Benny's and would first show the mechanic of switching between the group.
Flashbacks - Ken's side missions would be flashbacks that personally allowed you to go through his past and play at those critical times in his life. You can play as Ken during the failed assassination mission, the lieutenant ambush and him going home to find his family, and killing the previous Yakuza boss.
No Second Chance - Some side missions you can't restart. You can only do them once and if you or another character die then the game continues and you can't redo that mission.
Photography - You need things to blackmail people, judges, witnesses, police captains. You will follow them and take pictures of them doing questionable acts. It's also important to know what will affect the character the most. Talking to other characters about the one you're threatening will help. If they're a family man threaten their family, if they're divorced and hate their ex, agree to kill them. Use honey rather than vinegar.
Obviously every game after like 2010 needs to have the ability to play online. Well thankfully I have a couple of ideas for that too.
So this isn't as streamlined as some of the other games but it's sort of like X-Com. Your crew goes against another person's crew in turn based strategy. Your strategy is to kill the other player's don. You can do that by taking down their businesses on the board too. Your men would level up the more you take them out, and in game too by taking down opposing businesses. You have free range on their loadouts and what weapons they use. However, so you don't have too much going on at once, you're only allowed to have five men on the board at once. Each person inputs the moves and then in the battle phase the characters play the moves out.
Teamwork! You get to take on one of the four roles and you can go against other teams in an all out firefight. Or, you can go on missions as a group but with less of a focus on planning and more like levels. There's also the choice of different game styles like taking on waves of enemies or trying to escape from enemies.
Would You Play This Game?
There's always something to do. It's an expansive world that is constantly changing. Even if you kill off the main dons, others will eventually rise to challenge you. Businesses will change and people will conspire against you.
I realized pretty early that this game is more than likely impossible to make. Just by the features I added, you'd need Her level technology to pull that off, like Vision from the Avengers level. Also what kind of conversation tree would you need to have to make someone believe that another group attacked them. I wish my female characters were a little deeper so I'll probably work on that in the future. I haven't figured out a location or a time period yet. I'm thinking it should be set in current times and just make it seem like the mafia was enjoying peace until this sudden war broke out. More than likely it'll be the 80s, long enough that it's believable that there was a black police captain. Don't want to go for the usual locations like New York or Chicago. Still I think this would be a pretty cool game and I hope you agreed. If you wouldn't play the game I hope you at least enjoyed reading about it. Goodnight and good luck everybody!