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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) – In Tony Sopranos' world, when secrets gets spilled, blood gets spilled. In the video game world, when secrets get spilled, gamers get thrilled.
The Sopranos, HBO's hit series based on the life of a conflicted, but brutal mob boss, is being made into a video game. THQ will publish the game, which is expected in the first half of 2006, said Banc of America analyst Gary Cooper in a report released Thursday.
A formal announcement may come as early as next week at E3, the annual trade show of the video game industry, though sources tell me that's not likely.
THQ described the report as "speculation," but when asked if an announcement was forthcoming spokesperson Julie MacMedan declined to comment.
If you think about it, The Sopranos are tailor made for a video game, given the success of "Grand Theft Auto" and its knock-offs. And the gangster theme is red-hot these days with publishers. Electronic Arts (Research) will publish an adaptation of "The Godfather" this fall, featuring the voice work and images of Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall and James Caan.
The publisher choice is a bit surprising at first glance (THQ (Research) is widely known for its children's titles), but the company has been actively courting a more hard-core audience over the past year, publishing games such as "Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War" and "Full Spectrum Warrior".
The Sopranos game is just one of the as-yet unannounced titles Cooper discussed in the note. He also predicted Take Two Interactive Software would unveil the third installment in its popular "Max Payne" series.
The original "Max Payne" was a critical and financial smash, though the follow-up did not prove as popular. (Critics said it was too similar to the original and too short.) It's not known at this point which developer is working on the series' next installment. Remedy, which built the first two games, will unveil a new property – "Alan Wake" – at E3 and is not expected to have worked on "Max Payne 3".
Calls to Take Two were not returned.
Activision's (Research) best-kept secret appears to be out of the bag as well, as Cooper gave name to the top-secret game under development by the Neversoft team, which has been responsible for the "Tony Hawk" franchise, one of the company's most popular series.
"Gun," said Cooper, is expected in November 2005 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and PSP. The action game will be a non-military first-person shooter based in the Wild West, he wrote. "Gun," however, is not likely to be shown at E3.
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Morris is Director of Content Development. Click here to send him an email.