Talk about getting the hype machine going early…

Today, Midway announced it is collaborating with Hollywood director John Singleton to develop "an innovative action-adventure videogame based in the intense, urban environment of South Central Los Angeles." Singleton is no stranger to South Central, having directed two films set in the volatile L.A. neighborhood– Poetic Justice and the critically acclaimed, Boyz N Tha Hood.

They're calling the new game Fear & Respect and from what we can tell, it's going to share a great deal in common with games like True Crime: Streets of L.A. and Grand Theft Auto. Players will step onto the streets fresh from prison as a "retired" OG who is reluctantly brought back into the life. You'll shoot and brawl your way through multiple levels of gameplay, in an attempt to help your crew against rival gangs in the backdrop of a sweltering South Central summer.

Reputation will play a key role–but Midway isn't saying whether that means the game will include different career paths a la Knights of the Old Republic or if it'll simply measure rep based upon the good and bad deeds you during the course of the game.

Fear & Respect isn't due out until Holiday 2005, which is why Midway isn't saying much right now. We'll keep you updated as new information comes out.