Gaming The Sopranos: Watch Your Back

Just as season six of HBO's hit crime drama, "The Sopranos" is hitting its stride after a lackluster start, there's more good news for fans of the show. The long-rumored THQ videogame based on the show will hit stores this fall. "The Sopranos" videogame is in development at 7 Studios (Fantastic Four) for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2.

Actors James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano), Tony Sirico (Paulie Walnuts), Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisani), and Steven Van Zandt (Silvio Dante), will lend their voices and likenesses for the new game, which tells a new story that takes place between seasons 5 and 6.

"You'll be living in the world of 'The Sopranos,' interacting with the show talent, as you carry out missions from Tony and Paulie," said Elizabeth Dahm, producer for "The Sopranos" game. "You'll need to use the right mix of verbal intimidation, physical force, and outright brutal violence to accomplish your varied missions."

Dahm added that players will be able to break arms, slams heads into walls, and cause cosmetic and "performance" damage to their opponents, as well as use firearms when you have no other choice.

Series creator David Chase supervised the development of the original script for the action game and was involved with the creation of the original character, which players assume the role of in the game. That new playable character is the illegitimate son of "Big Pussy."

"Players are taken under Tony's wing and given the chance to prove themselves in his crew, eventually getting made," said Dahm. "Players will interact with the Sopranos crew and certain missions will involve key characters from the show working alongside the player."

As a mob soldier, the player must earn money on collections, protect the Soprano's turf through intimidation, and gain admiration within the family to move up in the ranks of the organization and eventually become "made." Familiar locations from the show such as the Bada Bing!, Nuovo Vesuvio's and Satriale's have been turned into detailed virtual environments for gameplay.

Set after the events of Season 5, the game's original story pits The Sopranos Family against a new rival crime family in Philadelphia, rather than a New York family from the TV series. Zlotnick said the action, vibe and tone in the game follow the natural progression of the show, so players will unquestionably feel that they are in "The Sopranos" world.

"One of the biggest challenges faced was how to maintain the integrity, vision and intensity of the series, while still making a game that provides the continuous action, conflict and fun required in an interactive game," said Carmi Zlotnik, executive vice president, New Media Programming, HBO.

According to Dahm, THQ plans to turn "The Sopranos" game into a franchise, which should extend the life of the property beyond next year's final season on HBO.

This marks the second interactive venture for "The Sopranos," as THQ Wireless released "The Sopranos Poker" for mobile phones earlier this year.

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