Vin Diesel reveals why he's back as Riddick in Dark Athena game

Vin Diesel, who reprises the role of Riddick in the upcoming video game The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, told SCI FI Wire that he was happy to return to his most iconic role in a game that now allows players to get into his skin.

In The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, the player takes the role of Riddick using stealth and action to overcome the merciless crew of the predatory Merc-ship Dark Athena, which awaits its prey in the dark reaches of space. Cheating death through a series of spectacular battles and events, Riddick will fight for his life amid a storm of malevolence and horror.

Diesel spoke exclusively to us last week in a telephone interview about reprising the role and about what's next for his game development company, Tigon Studios. Following is an edited version of our conversation. The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena will ship for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on April 7 in North America and April 24 in Europe.

Riddick is one of the most popular characters you portray. What keeps bringing you back to play this role?

Diesel: There is something about the integrity of Riddick that's fascinating to me, something about his extreme abilities juxtaposed with his own moral code. So there's part of me as an actor that's challenged and excited by the chance to play such a complex character again, and then there's the true hard-core gamer in me that revels in the opportunity to be part of creating a universe that Riddick lives in.

What lessons did you learn from the production and development of the previous game, Escape From Butcher Bay, that you were able to apply in the upcoming sequel, Assault on Dark Athena?

Diesel: I was very proud of the first game. But there was a point where I was missing the ability to play Riddick against my friends, and the thing I'm probably the most proud of is that in this game, you can beat the s--t out of your best friend, who may be in a different country [laughs]. That's cool.

What made you decide to launch your gaming company, Tigon Studios?

Diesel: To be honest, when I first started playing games, I felt guilty about how much I loved playing these video games and how addicted I could become to them. In the beginning of my career, I didn't talk about it much, until I did Saving Private Ryan with Steven Spielberg, and I realized that he [Spielberg] was launching a game called Call of Duty. When I realized that he was unabashedly entering the gaming world, that gave me the green light to launch a video-game company that would speak to one of my favorite pastimes.

What's next for Tigon?

Diesel: We recently developed a brand-new IP [intellectual property] called Wheelman. It'll be the first time that a movie and game has been developed simultaneously for an original IP. We've never seen that before. The movie is at Paramount. The game is at Midway and Ubisoft. So we're very excited.

But I will say this: [Tigon Studios] isn't a factory. We're not trying to turn out a game every six months. One of the coolest things about having this company is bridging great films with great games and having them accountable for one another. Games are designed to enhance the experience of the intellectual property, as opposed to cashing in a couple of extra bucks on the side or licensing it off in an indifferent fashion. This is about expanding the universe and realizing the game space adds to your overall experience with the franchise. So I can't say that we will be filling the shelves with games, but the games that we do create we'll stand behind, because we will have put blood, sweat and tears into them.

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