Nine times out of 10, video games and celebrities don't mix. "50 Cent: Bulletproof" was not well-liked by most critics, even if it did go on to sell more than a million copies. Yet some of the biggest buzz out of a Sierra Entertainment event held for San Francisco media a few weeks ago came from an unexpected source: "50 Cent: Blood on the Sand."
Had the cynics been proven wrong?
Just a few weeks ago, MTV News exclusively revealed the first details on 50 Cent's latest foray into video games. Since then, we've seen "Blood on the Sand" demonstrated by the folks who made it.
We came away surprisingly impressed. "Blood on the Sand" intentionally adopts a zealously over-the-top stylization reminiscent of old-school arcade light-gun shooters. There is hardly ever a moment when something (or someone) isn't blowing up.
"We really wanted to get this mass-market type of feel to it — not only for the casual gamer, but also for those who like the 'Gears of War's and 'Call of Duty 4's," said Vivendi Games producer Aaron Blean. "We definitely wanted to broaden our reach beyond the people who bought the first game."
"Blood on the Sand" has been compared to Xbox 360 shooter "Gears of War," but it actually reminded MTV News of Sega's arcade-style "The Club." Blean described the game as "a third-person action shooter on steroids." Based on the 15 minutes we spent watching someone play through bits of the game, that's right on.
Whereas "50 Cent: Bulletproof" assumed a much more serious tone, "Blood on the Sand" appears intentionally ridiculous, something Blean said was a mandate from 50 himself from the get-go. In fact, 50's creative contributions this time around have also been much more pronounced, thanks to him having fewer commitments to juggle around.
" had so many things going on back in 2005 when we released 'Bulletproof,' " Blean said. "He had a movie coming out, as well as a new shoe line, as well as video games. He had so many things going on — it was a tremendous 50 Cent promotion a few years ago. This time around, he came to us when we were brainstorming for the sequel."
At the time of our demo, it was revealed that Young Buck was no longer a part of G-Unit. Blean couldn't confirm whether Young Buck was ever meant to be featured in "Blood on the Sand" but said 50 retains complete creative control over the game.
"50 has complete control over his likeness and any of the content that we put in the game," Blean said. "If there are any sudden changes that are brought to our attention from him or his management, we obviously have to — not only have to, but we oblige that and we're respectful of those decisions and do make those changes if necessary."
Blean said his team hasn't had to make any big changes. But if 50 decides Young Buck is out of "Blood on the Sand," he's out of "Blood on the Sand."
And it's not as if 50 is being kept out of the loop on the game's progress. He's seen it recently. "I was actually in New York a few weeks ago to do his voiceover with all the members of G-Unit," Blean said. "I showed him footage of the game, and he was really excited in what he saw. He was very pleased in the overall direction the game is headed."
So far, we are too.
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