John Romero’s great-grandma – an actual 1920s crime boss – is a playable character in Empire of Sin

By Emily Gera
10 May 2020 22:10 GMT

Brenda Romero’s upcoming turn-based strategy game Empire of Sin features one particularly unique playable character: John Romero’s brothel-owning great-grandmother.

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In a new video for the Prohibition-era strategy game, the Romero’s introduce the inspiration behind the 70 year-old crime boss character – Elvira Duarte, a real world Mexican crime boss born in the 1800s.

“My great-grandmother’s name was Elvira Duarte Morales and she lived in Nogales, Mexico,” says John Romero in the Mother’s Day trailer. “Elvira was a real character. She used to walk around with a green parrot on her shoulder and she’d smoke cigareetes and basically tell jokes with the parrot answering her all in Spanish. Elvira ran three brothels that she started in Nogales. She did that for probably two decades until she won the lottery and she sold the businesses and she retired.”

“I came up with the idea to use Elvira in the game,” Brenda Romero adds. “I absolutely loved her as a larger than life figure. Elvira was a badass powerful woman and I wanted to bring that bad ass powerful woman into Empire of Sin. She also was around in the 1920s, so this was a real woman who ran real rackets and I really wanted to bring her to life in this game and honour her, and honour the work that she did.”

Empire of Sin was recently delayed until fall 2020. The game will release on PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

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