Wheelman, as I suspected, is being widely panned as a bad game. However, the interesting thing is that it stars, let me repeat, stars Vin Diesel. To me, this represents an another interesting step that Hollywood is taking to capture the electronic entertainment industry and another step awkward step in blending movies with videogames.
When I first saw the trailers for Wheelman, I wondered, “How does this game benefit from having Vin Diesel as the protagonist rather than just a character rendered on a computer?” It’s not that he can growl out the voice for a badass mercenary driver better than anyone else. Micheal Hollick’s barely a B-list actor and he portrayed Niko Bellic amazingly in Grand Theft Auto IV (and I bet he got paid a whole lot less).
50 Cent did this too by making 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand where he goes from overpaid rapper into terrorist killing badass with biceps the size of small trucks.
Both games confuse me with just their premise. Am I supposed to have fun with this game, or do I, like, experience it, like I would a summer blockbuster movie? Granted, the question is moot anyway because neither game was very good, but they are certainly intriguing indicators as to the cinematic potential of the games industry.
One thing I do NOT like about this concept of stars in games, though, is they probably steal the player’s sense of accomplishment. For 10-20 hours I can only imagine Vin Diesel telling me, “Oh, did you blow up that truck with just the right timing? No. You didn’t. I did. Vin Diesel. I blew up that truck, and you should feel lucky you were there to be a small part of how badass I am.”