Francis Ford Coppola, director of The Godfather movie trilogy, has revealed his anger at Paramount's decision allowing Electronic Arts to produce a videogame tie-in.
In an interview with US television show Sunday Morning ShootOut, Coppola said the studio did not inform him of the deal at any stage. "I knew nothing about it," he said. "They never asked me if I thought it was a good idea."
The Godfather is slated for release on PS2, Xbox, PC and PSP this autumn. It allows players to create their own mob character and work their way up through the ranks of the Corleone family, and features the likenesses of film actors Robert Duvall (Tom Hagen) and James Caan (Sonny Corleone). Marlon Brando also granted likeness rights and recorded a voiceover for the game before his death.
But Coppola, who says he has managed to get a preview of the game, believes the characters have been mishandled. "They use the characters everyone knows, and they hire those actors to be there, and only to introduce minor characters. And then for the next hour they shoot and kill each other," he said.
"I had absolutely nothing to do with the game and I disapprove. I think it's a misuse of film."
However, Coppola's claims that he was completely unaware of the project seem to contradict earlier statements by the game's producer, David De Martini. "We've met with [Coppola] on one occasion and we shared with him what our vision was for the game, and where we were going to go," De Martini told gamesindustry.biz in a recent interview.
"He isn't choosing to participate in the project, but he did invite us up to the Coppola winery where he has his own private library. He's got a lot of materials from the original Godfather productions - so a lot of sketch designs for the sets, for the costumes, a lot of notes that he's taken in the original screenplay as well as in the book.
"He invited us up there to take a look around, and we sent four or five people for a week. It was such a rich experience to go up there and see it and it was well worth the time," he added.
Electronic Arts was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.