The partition on Linux that hosts the vmdk files does matter I think, if that is what you are actually asking.
XFS might be best as it is more tested, you will get disk IO improvements with that. You could also use the newer ext4. The main things you want is extents so the big files don't get broken up, both these file systems have that and support Linux well. Myself, I would go with ext4 just because it is familiar, even if new. However, I have no numbers to back this up right now :-)
Also, allocate all the disk space first, don't chose grow as needed. The best option for performance might be to give the VM direct access to the partition itself, so there isn't an extra layer, but that kind of ruins the point of VMs for many people.
Lastly, this link has some tuning tips vmware server running on Linux that might help you get better IO performance.