Three years ago, 50 Cent was "Bulletproof." Now he's leaving "Blood on the Sand."
The hip-hop star is getting a new video game this year, one that takes him to new platforms, a new game developer and a whole new role.
And for anyone who wasn't satisfied with 2005's multimillion-selling "Bulletproof," the game's producer hears you. This one is going to be better.
"Once we get the game out there ... I think people will realize right away where our focus for the sequel is," Vivendi Games producer Aaron Blean told MTV News. "We've emphasized the gameplay quality [more] than anything this time around. We can't wait to show the game around."
So what's this "Blood on the Sand" stuff? Why is 50 wearing desert camo? The developers won't say what 50 is doing in this game or where it takes place just yet. Blean will only explain that this "sequel" isn't really a sequel. It doesn't pick up the story of "Bulletproof," which depicted a violent adventure imagining a 50 Cent who had never gone into music.
"Blood on the Sand" is something more exotic, more Hollywood blockbuster. This game sets 50's character against a cabal of international gangsters on a far-flung, bullet-riddled adventure.
"I would say it's inspired by 'Three Kings' meets 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,' " Blean said. "It's definitely a crime story." The developer credited 50 with pushing the game creators to consider novel locations and said the MC played a big part in crafting the game's still-secret story.
Earlier this year, MTV News heard rumors of a so-called "Gears of 50" game in development, a reference to the Xbox 360 hit "Gears of War" from Epic Games. Epic's title was one of the best-selling and best-reviewed games of the last few years — not a bad title to be compared to. And it turns out the comparisons are apt: 50's new game, like "Gears of War," will run on the Unreal Engine 3 graphics technology and will persistently feature a main character, 50, and a second character who will be controlled either by the computer or by a friend logging in online.
Blean listed some gameplay ideas that will set "Blood on the Sand" and "Gears of War" apart. He said a scoring mode, which was an unlockable bonus in "Bulletproof," will now be a main component of the game. He described it as an arcade-style angle. Also, the second player's character can be, at last count, one of three members of the G-Unit: Tony Yayo, Whoo Kid or Lloyd Banks, each specializing in different combat techniques. The co-op will allow for drop-in/drop-out play with a friend, à la "Lego Star Wars." The second player just can't play as 50 Cent if player one is 50. There just can't be two of the man in one place. Also different from "Gears of War": 50 Cent won't be shooting aliens.
"When 50 was onsite at Vivendi with Tony Yayo, one of the things they challenged us to do was introduce new elements of gameplay in the game," Blean said. "Instead of having them always running and gunning, they wanted something that would break the pace of that." So "Blood on the Sand" will include vehicle missions such as a driver-and-turret-gunner Humvee road chase and a helicopter-borne shootout, in which 50 and his ally "rain death from above" onto enemies in a city.
The first 50 Cent video game wasn't just a game; it was something of a 50 Cent box set, stocked with music and videos by 50 and G-Unit. "Blood on the Sand" is set to feature more exclusive music than the first.
"50 is going to create exclusive tracks for the game that you can only listen to in the game," Blean said, describing the game as the "ultimate 50 Cent experience." And he teased that more high-profile hip-hop talent may get involved too.
The development team for this game is the England-based Swordfish Studios, who got the gig on the merits of a shooter game called "Cold Winter," Blean said.
What differences will "Bulletproof" players notice when they first try "Blood on the Sand?" "The first thing people are going to notice right out the gate is — not only the visuals and how incredible the environments and the game models look — I would also say the controls and the AI will be much, much better than the first game."
And any Vitamin Water cameos, for moments when virtual-50 needs a health boost? "There will definitely be some 50 brand integration in the game," Blean laughed. "I'll leave it at that."
"50 Cent: Blood on the Sand" is slated for the Xbox 360 and PS3 this fall.