- On February 15, 2013
Hands up, who likes video games and who likes voice overs…?
I’d say I counted only four of you there; what a bunch of liars you all are! Video games date back in some form to the mid 20th Century. One of the earliest incarnations I think everyone would agree they’ve heard of, is this little bad boy:
‘Back in the day,’ so to speak, video game have voice overs didn’t exist, because the technology and computer power simply wasn’t there. It took until the early ’80s for the arcade game Berserk to come along and show the first signs of voice in games. Flash forward to the present day and I honestly have no idea where we would be without voice in games. There is, of course, a distinct difference between simply having voice in your games and voice over acting. I wouldn’t argue that Mortal Kombat-style “oof”s and “owwww”s are breaking any boundaries exactly.
Recently, though, there’s been a change in how voice over artists, celebrities and the general public perceive games. Some people argue that video games are becoming increasingly higher-brow in the media world and that maybe they’re not worth shying away from anymore. Fairly high-profle names are jumping on board and offering some truly remarkable performances. I’ve put together my top 3 video games for voice acting below, so see what you think.
3. Skyrim – General Tullius portrayed by Michael Hogan.
Skyrim (2011) is one hell of a big game and with a vast world to fill, there are going to be hundreds of people to encounter. The number of voice over artists working on the game must have numbered nearly 100. One fairly high-profile actor, among many others, who features prominently is Michael Hogan. Hogan is mostly known for his work on the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, playing Colonel Saul Tigh. His gruff voice and non-nonsense attitude is a perfect match for Skyrim‘s General Tullius, making him one of the games more mysterious characters
2. LittleBigPlanet – The Narrator portrayed by Stephen Fry.
For anyone not in the know, LittleBigPlanet (2008) is a side-scrolling puzzle platform game, and probably one of the most innovative games of the last five years. When you first start the game, you’re greeted by a little character and the ever-so-friendly voice of Stephen Fry. His job is to guide you through a tutorial and this is like no other tutorial you’ve ever seen. For starters, you’re spoken to as if you were the character on-screen (a very important aspect of any game, I think) and since you’re a cute puppet-like creature, you’re spoken to in a cute, sily and off-the-cuff sort of manner. It’s quite disarming for a game not take itself at all seriously from the get-go, but Stephen Fry’s voice just makes it seem perfectly normal. It’s funny, has a well-written script behind it and really sets the tone for the whole game. Not a small task!
1. The Uncharted Series – Nathan Drake portrayed by Nolan North.
Top of my list has to be Uncharted. Nolan North plays the series’ main protagonist, Nathan Drake, and makes the character funny, intriguing and occasionally seem like he has no idea how he gets in to the situations he’s in. Uncharted is as much a movie as it is a video game and combines gameplay with some awesome cutscenes that really grip you in to the story. That sort of storytelling needs great acting and it’s these sorts of games that are pushing the boundaries of what’s expected from video game voice over acting. Nolan North is at the top of his field at what he does and it’s for a good reason.
If you’re listening to some of my work and thinking, “Hey, I’d like to use him in a video game”, then please do get in contact, because there’s an eccentric British scientist in me just waiting to burst out! I will be producing a video game showreel in the near future, so do make sure to stop back soon and check it out.
So there you have my top three, what are yours?