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Vivendi gives us its 50 Cents

Andre Emerson, executive producer on 50 Cent: Bulletproof, talks about the rapper's videogame debut

A quick rummage around the old brain archive just churned up Michael Jackson, Natasha Bedingfield and Peter Gabriel as musical stars who've all made the successful transition from CD to videogame. Although, that "successful" bit is perhaps debatable.

Anyway, next on the list of recording artist-come-videogame action hero is rapper and soon-to-be movie star 50 Cent. His forthcoming game 50 Cent: Bulletproof sees Fiddy (as he's known to friends) team up with Eminem and Dr. Dre, amongst others, as he gets "caught in a web of corruption, double-crosses and shady deals that lead him on a bloody path through New York's drug underworld" apparently. Blimey.

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We caught up with Bulletproof's executive producer Andre Emerson to find out more about the title, 50's involvement and what we can expect from the star in the future.

What made 50 Cent want to move into Videogames?

Andre Emerson: You'd have to ask 50, but I suspect it would have to do with his persona that you hear in his lyrics and see in his videos being a natural fit with an action game.

What direct involvement and input has 50 had into the development of the game?

AE: 50 had heavy involvement all through development. From the look, mood, sound, story and cast, he was all over it.

Can you tell us a bit about the storyline and how closely it mirrors 50's own experience?

AE: The story for his movie, Get Rich or Die Tryin' and our game, Bulletproof, were both written by Soprano's writer and Emmy Award winner, Terry Winter. Terry spent several months on the road with 50 in preparation for writing the screenplay and while the film more closely resembles his actual life, there are nuances in the game as well. The main difference is that the movie follows his interest in music, while in the game, 50's a gangster with no musical aspirations.

Could you describe some of the actual gameplay and mechanics?

AE: There is so much to do in Bulletproof. For starters, it's a third-person action-shooter, with FPS-inspired controls. We've got 30 Counter-kill moves, which are brutal stabbings and weapon steals that involve killing an enemy with his own weapon. We've both Body Shields that you can use as cover, rob their valuables and beat key information out of them. Mobile Cover allows you to grab anything with wheels and use it defensively to block incoming fire and offensively to crush enemies with.

There is a perfect shot system that rewards careful aiming. If you line the aiming cursor over the enemy and wait for it to converge, it will deal bonus damage and heavy reactions. This is great for setting up a Counter-kill or Body Shield. These are just a few, there is a ton of different things in the game.

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How big is Eminem's role in the game? What was it like working with him?

AE: Eminem plays Detective Aaron McVicar. The chemistry between his and 50's character is incredible. In development, he did extensive voiceover and photo for the game. He was absolutely great to work with.

Will any other big names make an appearance in the game? Could you tantalise us with hints of any other easter eggs?

AE: Oh yeah! We got G-Unit's Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, Young Buck and DJ Whoo Kid. All of them have key roles in the game. Banks is our lockpicker, Yayo does explosives and Buck is a weapon's specialist wielding two guns. You buy all your music and vids from Whoo Kids. We also have Dr. Dre in his videogame debut, playing an arms dealer named Grizz. You buy all your weapons, ammo and armor from him. The cast is amazing.

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