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Actor Vin Diesel Gets in the Game

12 Mar, 2004 By: John Gaudiosi

Hollywood convergence is alive and kicking these days, with Vin Diesel being the latest celebrity to jump into the video game arena.

Los Angeles-based Tigon Studios, which Diesel self-funded, will launch its first video game, The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay, June 11 (co-produced by Vivendi Universal Games) in conjunction with the Universal Pictures sequel to Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick.

Developed by Swedish game maker Starbreeze (creator of Enclave), the first-person-perspective action game will feature the likeness and voice of Diesel as Richard P. Riddick.

Escape From Butcher Bay for Xbox will serve as a prequel to both Pitch Black and Chronicles, and will include characters from both films. The game will explain how Riddick's “eyeshine” occurred, which gives him the ability to see in the dark. In addition to blowing away enemies with weapons, the game will allow players to fight hand-to-hand and even knock out light sources to hunt down guards in the dark. The plot revolves around Riddick's escape from the toughest prison in the universe.

Diesel, who's a producer of the movie, also served as producer of the game and was involved in every aspect of development. The actor is a die-hard gamer who spends his free time playing Soul Calibur II and Metal of Honor: Rising Sun. Diesel said he created Tigon, which is the name given to an offspring of a male tiger and a female lion, “to embrace the medium of our generation.” He said he finds it rewarding to be involved in the creation of video games.

“As a producer, I am very involved in all of the creative aspects of the game, looking for innovative gameplay, developing story line, writing dialogue, attaching actors, designing visuals and directing cinematics,” Diesel said. “I also have been very fortunate in that I have the ability to get other incredible artists from the film and music worlds to lend their voices, talent and excitement to these games.”

“The value of Tigon is that it's not a vanity vehicle,” said Rob Sebastian, managing director of games and new media at Hollywood talent agency Endeavor, which helped create the business plan with Diesel and his team. “Vin does have a legitimate and passionate interest in creating for this medium. Tigon was established to take advantage of the Hollywood sensibilities of story development.”

Sebastian admitted that movie-based games have an uphill battle these days, due to time constraints that routinely result in sub-par games. With Vin aboard, the game began development before the script for the Chronicles movie was complete. Elements of the story were added to the game during development, but the fact that the game serves as a prequel gave the developer freedom to expand the Riddick character beyond the scope of the two films.

“There are a lot of similarities between producing a video game and a movie,” Diesel said. “The trick in either medium is to enroll the most talented people you can find.“I think that gamers are demanding a more cinematic-like experience. I also believe that the talent that exists in Hollywood will be the chief resource to fill these 20 some hours of gameplay.”

Tigon is also developing additional games, including original game titles that are not tied to movies. Diesel is expected to serve as a producer for all of the games his studio creates, and his voice and likeness are likely to be included in the games.

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