Wheelman fueled by Vin Diesel

[UPDATE] Gamer-actor will star in "entertainment property" that will manifest itself as an MTV/Paramount film and a next-gen Midway game in Q4 2007.

Unlike many celebrities who give games lip service to appeal to youthful fans, Vin Diesel really is a gamer. The beefy action star upped his nerd acumen exponentially when he wrote the introduction to Thirty Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons, a retrospective of the groundbreaking pencil-and-paper role-playing game. Allegedly, his character in the films Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick was based on his favorite D&D character, a Dark Elf, or Drow.

For years, Diesel has publicly professed his love of video games. In 2003, He literally put his money where his mouth was by forming Tigon Studios, a game-production-company sibling to his film-production shingle, OneRace Films. The first Tigon project to hit the market, The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay for the PC and Xbox, was a tie-in with the eponymous Diesel sci-fi film. But while the movie bombed at the box office, the VU Games-published and Starbreeze-developed stealth-action game was a hit, and went on to be one of 2004's most acclaimed titles. (Tigon is currently working with X-Men director Bryan Singer on an all-original next-gen game, Secret Service.)

Diesel brought the game and film worlds closer together in 2005, when he agreed to star in an upcoming film adaptation of Eidos' popular Hitman series. But while that project lingers in development limbo, the actor today announced he will star in another film-game crossover. In a joint statement, Diesel, Midway Games, MTV Films, and Paramount Pictures announced The Wheelman, "a groundbreaking action-entertainment property" that will be simultaneously developed as a film and as a game. "With The Wheelman we have created the first integrated franchise being launched for both the gaming and film industries," said Diesel in a statement.

The Wheelman the film will (obviously) star Diesel, and is being written by Rich Wilkes, who penned the script to XXX, the Columbia Pictures action blockbuster in which the actor headlined. No director, release date, or plot details for Wheelman have yet been announced. "That's all still pretty high-level," said a rep. The film is being financed and distributed by Paramount and MTV Films, which are both owned by multimedia giant Viacom.

Viacom's CEO, Sumner Redstone, owns more than 80 percent of Midway Games, which is not-so-coincidentally publishing the Wheelman game. [UPDATE] A Midway rep told GameSpot that the title will hit "next-generation systems" in Q4 2007 and will be developed internally at Midway Newcastle, the studio formerly known as Pitbull Syndicate. As Pitbull was the developer of last year's L.A. RUSH, it is likely that Wheelman will be a driving-action title of some sort. Diesel's likeness and voice will be featured prominently in the game.

While short on details about The Wheelman, Midway was long on hype. "We believe The Wheelman is a groundbreaking new model for our industry," said Midway president and CEO David F. Zucker in a statement. "We intend to create a broad-arcing experience, simultaneously developing entertainment properties across a number of mediums, with Vin Diesel right at the center of it all."

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Discussion

51 comments
ChiefFreeman
ChiefFreeman

 Wheelman was a festering terd. Butcher Bay was revolutionary and excellent.

43n1m4
43n1m4

One of the good things about Escape from BB is the fact, that instead of just playing through the same story as the movie, the game tells another story, which turns out to be about Riddicks background. A brilliant idea. If Wheelman is built around the same concept, It'll probably be better than most of the movie tie-ins, which almost always turns out to be bland retelling of the movie.

scottyg_20
scottyg_20

I agree with ssj4 - butcher bay was one of the best games of that time. It was really engaging and fun, it is a shame more people didnt give it a chance. Very well done, i didnt even see the movie however lol.

ssj4_2004
ssj4_2004

FuguNabe, butcher bay wasn't like that at all. It was quite the superb game A couple of years ago. Scoring itself A 9.3 here on gamespot. And it didn't get that score from being bland or uninspired. Go read A couple of reviews instead of jugding A game from the "sound of the title."

Loki27
Loki27

Driver ripoff? I don't think such poor games should have the sole rights to a concept with such potential.

Deimos27
Deimos27

Hey... If Diesel is such a gamer... He could be reading our posts! This IS GAMESpot... In fact, he could be one of US... Watch what your posting folks in this section... :D

BuffysFaith
BuffysFaith

I didn't know all that about Vin, way to go! Cronicles of Riddick was fantastic.

F1sTDaCuffS
F1sTDaCuffS

i didnt know viacom owned midway. let me re direct the MORTAL KOMBAT SERIES ill make it a mega hit.

Srdjan77
Srdjan77

ninjacat11 If Wheelman looks even half as good as the Chronicles of Riddick game, I'll be on it like a snake on a mouse. Same!

DrKill09
DrKill09

The Wheelman?! Sounds like the tagline for the first Driver: "You are the wheelman."

PutU2REM
PutU2REM

I had no idea Vin Diesel was so involved in the game. That's awesome. I have my doubts, but this could be fantastic.

azizrulez
azizrulez

i hope vin can change the way movies are tranformed in games for the better

KiLLer_ba
KiLLer_ba

I hope its good or at lest decent

umd1998
umd1998

I have newfound respect for Vinny...

Kfoss
Kfoss

i guess thats cool..i would of liked hitman better...i guess....

anypti
anypti

keep up the good work vin ;)

FuguNabe
FuguNabe

Well that last Vin game was supposed to be good Ridedick whatever.... haven't played it though and don't think I will from the sound of the title. I don't really care for games featuring Hollywood star lookalike. I don't see how it makes games any better. Besides most games that are movie tie-ins, feature a spinoff of a movie plotm, or tries too hard to be another already popular game usually fails. It's like original ideas barely exist.... *yawns*

NeoJedi
NeoJedi

Very interesting project... if it is done well. Vin is a real gamer at heart and should want this game/movie to do well.

ufopuller
ufopuller

Go Vin - Love ya! (he's a big gamer too)

gdogg4210
gdogg4210

So why not just call it the ulitimate Driver rip off ?

dawooten
dawooten

he has already made on awesome game, time for another

AceCometh
AceCometh

Butcher Bay was awesome. One of my favorite games to date. Vin needs a good film after how terrible Chronicles was. The Riddick character was played and protrayed very well but the plot and supporting cast was sucky! Riddick is my hero.

Truth01
Truth01

Q4 2007 that's a long time to wait.

Solarsonic7
Solarsonic7

"vin as 47 no way that guy out of the transporter would be better" Sure, if he wants to be typecast.

blackIceJoe
blackIceJoe

Sounds like it could be good just hope it will be.The only movie I liked Vin Diesel in was the Pacifier.That was a funny movie.It sounds like it would be a baby movie but really turned out to be a really nice family movie.I think He did a good job in that.

AlexWills
AlexWills

He once beat Mario Bros. 3 without touching the control. He just sat down in his recliner and yelled at the NES in between bites of his Fillet-O-Child sandwich... So nothing really surprises me anymore from him.

digitalheadbutt
digitalheadbutt

Even though Chronicles of Riddick the movie was like some bastard son of Dune, Conan and Beast Master, I respect that he was trying to build something new. Butcher Bay was cool, especially considering it was licenced title. This wheel man thing MAY suck hard but I'll still check it out. I keep going back to watch his movies because I hoping he will get another good role like in Boiler Room or his small role in Saving private ryan. Because of Butcher Bay I will keep checking out games from his company. Knock around guys, Iron Giant (voice) and Pitch black aren't bad either. I think folks just want someone to hate on so bad that when he makes some bad choices folsk just jump on the band wagon. One day he may be as cliche and cheesy as chuck norris or charleton heston, but right now I think he deserves some slack.

ArchieGates
ArchieGates

I'm cool with whatever project keeps Vin far, far away from being in the Halo movie.

ninjacat11
ninjacat11

If Wheelman looks even half as good as the Chronicles of Riddick game, I'll be on it like a snake on a mouse.

Lauryn2000
Lauryn2000

Wow from Riddick-being fast and furious to a baby sitting naval officer in the Pacifer.I guess he's come full circle now.

nemes1s3000
nemes1s3000

First Hitman, now Driver, oy-gevult.

xs101uk
xs101uk

Many ppl here seem to base the fact that he isn't that good of an actor (but a superb action hero) that his studio and games will bomb as did his some of his movies. The fact is...Vin is the only actor out there who actually seems to know what he is doing hence the acclaimed Riddick game. He's a gamer and an actor. Stop basing your judgements on his acting but on what he has done as a gamer and developer.

Eribuster_basic
Eribuster_basic

I expect a few good car chases. That's all I'm asking for, Vin!

frankeyser
frankeyser

i mean they are called midway because all their projects are midway done.... hahahahaha

frankeyser
frankeyser

i am more interested int he secret service title his studio is working on than any movie or game he is going to star in by midway...

AdityaN
AdityaN

well, considering the riddick game was rather surprisingly good, unlike 90% of the games from supposedly expert game designers, i welcome this news. Vin diesel may be a movie star and all...and may give the image of all brawn and no brains, but he is in the end a gamer, and may just help make another hit game. I could care less about his movies.

bomtill
bomtill

vin as 47 no way that guy out of the transporter would be better

Solarsonic7
Solarsonic7

Could be good. I did like Escape from Butcher Bay.

BATMAN2049
BATMAN2049

IS Vin Diesel still around. You know, once you work at Disney you loose all street cred. He worked for Disney. Like Pauly Shore & Andy Dick. Vin Diesel is crap. MTV is almost as bad though.

Dirty_old_bum
Dirty_old_bum

We just need a Uwe Boll & Vin Diesel joint production. IT WOULD KILL ALL VIDEOGAME MOVIES!!

TongLong
TongLong

Brutal. When will this "videogames need to be JUST like movies and feature MOVIE STARS" trend end? If no one wants to see Vin Diesel in movies, what makes Midway think the same people will want to see him in video games? Oh well...

roadifer
roadifer

An interesting and ground breaking concept. It will be interesting if it delivers or flops.