John Romero's great-grandmother is an underworld boss in Empire of Sin

Gran? What are you doing here? (Image credit: Romero Games (Facebook))

Romero Games' upcoming crime-timer Empire of Sin will let you go to war on the streets of 1920s Chicago as one of 14 unique "bosses," many of whom are based on real-world historical figures. There's Al Capone, who we took a look at earlier this week, the Irish mobster Dean O'Banion, and the Harlem racketeer Stephanie St. Clair. There's also a woman named Elvira, who isn't quite as famous as the others, but who has a much deeper historical connection to the game.

"Elvira is a woman of around 60 to 70. She doesn't like to discuss her age. She's also a real person," game director Brenda Romero told us at Gamescom. "Elvira is from Sonora, Mexico, and ran brothels and had an entire empire. In real life, she made it as far as Tucson, Arizona, but I decided I liked her enough to bring her to Chicago. And, as an aside, she was actually John's great grandmother."

John Romero, Brenda's husband, admitted it was a little bit strange seeing a real-life family member in the game—and, apparently, that his grand-gran could hold her own against infamous mobsters like Capone. But Brenda pointed out that it's not exactly unprecedented.

"It's not the first time. Like, he shot at his own head in [Doom 2]," she said. "This is kind of a family trade, right?"

Empire of Sin is expected to be out in spring 2020, and so far it looks very promising.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.