Written by: Adam “ManKorn” Korenman, CC2K Video Games Editor
The age of the voiceless hero is over, and the future is looking bright.
Some of you are too young to remember when the protagonists of our favorite pastime ran around silent as a Charlie Chaplin film. Mario didn’t shout when he jumped; he emitted a quad-tone chirp and butt-stomped Goombas into oblivion. Even through the Half-Life and Portal series, the player had to imagine their halves of the conversations with NPC’s because the hero/heroine was just too damned busy saving the universe to chime in.
Not anymore. Looking at the latest selection of games headed for the new consoles, it’s plain to see that the age of the mute protagonist is ending. In Destiny, your Guardian may only speak three sentences, but it’s still better than nothing.
Or is it?
The recent release, Destiny, is a key focus of this article because it demonstrated the main point. After paying Peter Dinklage a king’s (hand’s) ransom in gold for his VO in the game, they used the worst takes and the most inane dialogue choices ever. This actor is one of the most charismatic on TV right now, and they sucked the life out of his performance. Gamers are furious. Destiny was meant to be the Next Big Thing, and it is hamstrung by shoddy voice work.
Gamers have long been content to take the abuse of poor voice acting and terrible writing. It’s actually been a staple of the medium, in the same way that overacting was a part of Spaghetti Westerns. But with heavy hitters arriving in the studios to lay down some soulful dialogue, games are sounding better than ever. So let’s take a look at some of the best Voice Over Artists in the video game industry.
Before we begin, a note about candidates. I know Kiefer Sutherland is wooing crowds as Big Boss right now, but he is already an established name in the television and film industry, and is therefore disqualified. In fact, I’m not allowing anyone in who has more credits on screen than their voices. That means no Nathan Fillion (sorry, Captain), no Ellen Page, and no Sam Witwer.