Movie Stars in Video Games
With ‘triple A’ title video games consistently grossing more than big Hollywood blockbusters, the opportunities for voice acting in video games are being snapped up. The new Beyond: Two souls game from French developers Quantic Dream features a host of recognisable faces with the main stars including Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe. Beyond: Two Souls is a story driven game that blurs the line between film and virtual reality.
Ellen and Willem were not the first to realise the potential of being controlled by a gamepad; there have been a host of renowned actors that you may have come across in the video game world, without even realising it.
The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion – Sean Bean & Patrick Stewart
If you remember back to the third in the Elder Scrolls series, Oblivion, then you might recall that sweet talking monk and unknown heir to the throne, Martin Septim. Well Sean Bean was the masterful voice behind that character. Sir Patrick Stewart played the father of Sean Beans character – Emperor Uriel Septim – who had a number of lines that were quoted from William Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar”.
Fallout 3 – Liam Neeson, Ron Perlman & Malcolm McDowell
Pistol whipping hard man Liam Neeson really shone out with his role in Fallout 3 as the protagonist’s father, James. The game is in fact all about finding him in the badlands of Fallout 3 and Neeson steals the show. Ron Perlman does a fantastic job of narrating the adventure whilst Malcolm McDowell voiced United States President John Henry Eden, incidentally an artificial intelligence, perhaps the reason for some of his great quotes like “Tis better to be alone, then of bad company.”
Mass Effect Series – Seth Green and Martin Sheen
Seth Green took on the role of ‘Joker’, an incredible young pilot that could get the Normandy ship through just about anything whilst ‘joking’ about it. Martin Sheen voiced the charming billionaire, The Illusive Man. A producer for Mass Effect 2 described The Illusive Man as “being both the best and worst traits of humanity rolled into one person.”
With the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles going on sale in November across the globe, there have been plenty of actors getting in on the action. Here are to name a few in some up and coming console titles.
Call of Duty: Ghosts – Stephen Lang
Best known for his highly praised performance in Avatar, Stephen Lang’s has lent his commanding voice to the founding member of the specialist fighting group known as Ghosts, Elias Walker.
Killzone Shadowfall – David Harewood
David Harewood plays the deputy director of the CIA’s counter terrorism department in the award winning show Homeland. In Killzone, Harewood plays Vektan Security Agency director Sinclair; obviously they were impressed with his efforts in the CIA.
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain – Kiefer Sutherland
24 star Sutherland will be taking on the mammoth task of voicing Metal Gear Solid hero, Snake. Sutherland is no newcomer to video game voice acting. He played Sgt. Roebuck in the 2008 Call of Duty: World at War. But Snake does pose a much larger challenge and Sutherland has said what an honour it is to fill the role. The game takes place in 1984 when Snake is 49 years old, and will link the stories of Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zero and The Phantom of Pain.
With video game visuals improving, the complexity of voice acting in games has also evolved. Ellen Page and Willem Defoe had to participate in a multitude of motion capture techniques and face captures that would allow the developers to show all kinds of emotions through facial expressions and minute movements. Acting for video games is advancing and actors are much more likely to be recognised and praised for the roles they play in games.
With powerful story driven games at the forefront of consumer demand, video game developers are looking to utilise the skills of hardened actors who can bring gravitas and weight to their onscreen characters performance.
Ellen Page and Willem Defoe were well known actors before the release of Beyond: Two Souls, but GTA V has made its own big video game stars. The actors for the three main characters were not well known movie stars before the release of GTA V, but the voices behind the games 3 leading lights – Steven Ogg, Ned Luke and Shawn Fonteno – are arguably the most well known actors in the gaming world.