Vin Diesel is Midway’s second action film icon cum game developer, after John Woo. Vin brought his Hollywood sensibilities to bear on the project and was deeply involved in the design of the game from the beginning. The design team dissected several memorable car chases from movies like Ronin and The Bourne Identity to create the building blocks for Wheelman’s driving experience. The resulting stunts, exlplosions and large-scale set pieces turn Barcelona into a debris-strewn wrecking yard.
We played through the first two missions, Frantic and Introducing Bonita, with Creative Director Simon Woodroffe. “Frantic” is a bank heist getaway comprised solely of driving. It was here that we were introduced to Wheelman’s “car melee attack.” Imagine your vehicle as a running back shouldering off linemen and you’ll get a sense of what it feels like. You flick the right stick left or right to swing the back quarter of your car into pursuers. Holding down the stick results in a more forceful attack. Pushing the right stick forward helps shunt your way through narrow gaps in traffic. The melee attack is especially gratifying when used against motorcycles. Smacking around civilian traffic is not only fun, it creates obstacles that slow down enemies. As an added bonus, melee can be used to quickly dodge left and right.