When the sci-fi epic Chronicles of Riddick hit movie theaters last summer, it arrived alongside the release of its game tie-in, The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay for the Xbox (and later for the PC). Though the film was tepidly received, the game was a success, enjoying brisk sales and earning critical kudos, including a nomination for GameSpot's 2004 Game of the Year.
Part of the reason for Escape from Butcher Bay's success was the fact that Riddick star Vin Diesel is a lifelong gamer. The actor--who has publicly professed his love for games going all the way back to the paper-and-pencil Dungeons & Dragons--formed his own game production company, Tigon Studios, to oversee Butcher Bay's development by Swedish studio Starbreeze. The seriousness with which he took the Riddick game project is evident in the final product: Butcher Bay's voice acting and storyline were hailed as top-notch, and its innovative stealth-action gameplay coined the term "first-person stabber."
Now Diesel is poised to blur the line between games and film once again. Today's issues of the Hollywood Reporter and Variety are both reporting that the burly, bald badass has signed on to play Agent 47, the titular assassin of Eidos' Hitman series, on the big screen. Both trades say Diesel has struck a deal to star in and executive-produce 20th Century Fox's upcoming Hitman film project. Charles Gordon (Die Hard) and Adrian Askarieh (the forthcoming Spy Hunter) will produce the project, along with Eidos vice president of marketing and communications Paul Baldwin. No director is currently attached, and the film would not hit theaters until 2006--at the earliest.
[UPDATE] While the Hitman film is already locked down, Reuters is reporting that Diesel may be gunning for the game license as well. The trade said that Tigon Studios is preparing to hold talks with Eidos and Hitman's developer, Danish studio Io Interactive (Freedom Fighters), to have Diesel play 47 in a future Hitman game which would ship alongside the film. However, Diesel would not appear in Hitman: Blood Money, which is slated to ship for PC, Xbox, and PlayStation 2 this fall.
One of Eidos' most popular series, the Hitman games follow the murderous exploits of Agent 47, a genetically enhanced assassin. Beginning with 2000's Hitman: Codename 47 for the PC, the Hitman series has followed 47 on dozens of international missions to eliminate various criminals, gun runners, drug dealers, crime lords, and other assorted unsavory elements. All installments of the game let players dispatch their targets with a variety of lethal methods, ranging from sniper rifles to poison vials.