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Fear & Respect: The John Singleton Video Game That Never Was

Imagine this, Boyz N The Hood meets Grand Theft Auto.

Imagine this, Boyz N The Hood meets Grand Theft Auto.

Yeah, that’s the kind of video game we would’ve gotten with the renowned director John Singleton and Midway Games’ Fear & Respect. Unfortunately, due to cancellation and the director’s untimely passing, we will never witness what potentially could’ve been the greatest third-person action adventure game ever.

Singleton’s career has been essential for movie depictions and representations of life in South Central Los Angeles. Poetic Justice, Baby Boy, Boyz N The Hood, all of these movies are classic black films. But, what if these stories were put into a video game format?

Erin Ashley Simon on Twitter

Sept. 2004: Midway announced Fear & Respect, a third-person action video game taking place in South Central L.A. Before it got cancelled, renowned Director John Singleton & @SnoopDogg were involved collaborators. Would’ve loved to see what it would’ve been w/ John’s talent. RIP

Back in September 2004, Midway announced their new project, Fear & Respect. It was described as a third-person open-world action-adventure game that would explore the life of a young gangster growing up in South Central L.A. Early on in the development phase, Singleton was brought on to write and direct the video game. This would’ve been the rival title for the highly popular Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, at the time.

And honestly, it had the elements to compete with such a longstanding video game staple, especially in the black community. Snoop Dogg was chosen to lend his voice and likeness for the game’s protagonist, while Singleton would’ve given it direction and life.

These two names were more than enough to give it legs. Enough for Paramount Pictures to acquire the films rights to this action adventure soon after.

Fear & Respect PlayStation 2 Gameplay

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The formula was perfect, the push to both PlayStation and Xbox consoles was sound and everything just lined up. But, sadly, the game was put on the back burner with no rhyme or reason for cancellation.

I know previously I spoke about how impactful the Grand Theft Auto series was to the culture, to hip-hop, and to social media. But, I truly believe that Fear & Respect had the recipe to transcend its competition. What came with Singleton came the realness, the emotions, and the relatable life of not only South Central L.A. citizens but the lives of black people. A complex yet appreciative perspective that we will all cherish forever.

Now, I know we will never see this change happen, but I’m just happy that it almost came to be. I will forever love and appreciate what could’ve been and what was meant to be.

Rest in Peace John Singleton.

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