Video game creators seem to think that just making a good game is all that is needed, but gamers are often turned off by a character with no personality, a strange voice or garble they can’t understand. For this reason, many have turned to professionals through a voice employment agency to get the kind of character voices they really want, in order to have a quality product that will be popular.
When video game design first began, voice jobs were likely given to who ever happened to be handy in the production arena. Games like Mega man 8, Sega’s 1986 Pro Wrestling and Ikari Warriors-2 were almost laughable with their sound effects and quality, but today video game producers have realized how important the characters are to the game and want their characters to come across as believable as possible. Voice over jobs are now most often given over to the professionals, but that doesn’t always mean the gamers themselves will accept them. Video game enthusiasts go out of their way to find out whose-who in their games, Internet sites abound with links to new games such as Iron Man 2, which let the cat out of the bag as it were. Now, even more of the voices used are those of current or previous movie/television actors.
One such notable figure is Mark Hamill of Star Wars fame, to date he has been the voice talent for such characters as: The Joker (Batman: Arkham Asylum), Wolverine (X-Men 2: Wolverine’s Revenge), Adrian Ripburger (Full Throttle), Malefor the Dark Master (Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon), and Colonel Christopher Blair (Wing Commander). In addition to Hamill, are some other popular figures and those who are considered to be at the top of their “game.
Probably one of the most known voices for both young and old is that of the iconic Mario, he and other similar characters such as: Luigi, Warjo, Waluigi, Baby Mario and Baby Luigi are all done by Mr. Charles Martinet. We know these characters as part of the Mario Brothers series of video games that have been a staple for some time in the gaming world. Occasionally a character becomes so popular that a second game comes out with the same characters. It then becomes necessary for the producers to either retain the same artist for the job, or hire another to fill the role. This was the case with the character of Lara Croft, (Tomb Raider: Legend) Jonell Elliot, did not return to the role, so Keely Hawes, an English voice over talent known for her role in the BBC’s One’s Spooks took over the role.
Other up and coming voices are those of Cam Clarke who does the voice of characters; Snake (Metal Gear Solid) and Simba (Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix+), and he also was the non-video game voice of Leonardo in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon series. Than there is John DiMaggio who does an excellent job voicing Fenix in Gears of War and Jen Taylor, one of the most successful and popular N. American voice actresses, well known for her role as the famous Cortana in Bungie’s Halo franchise.
Coming in at the bottom of the video game stack when it comes to voice is suikoden tierkris, which has a really bad main character and Final Fantasy X has been said to have laughable voice acting. Shenmue, a Sega 2 game, is also touted as having such bad voice acting that it is difficult to remove the sound from one’s mind. A really good web site to see where the truly terrible voices in video games dwell are: Audio Atrocities a site that considers itself to be a kind of museum on the subject. Producers love to develop what may be the most popular new game on the scene, but gamers are not silent when it comes to quality, they love to share their feelings about everything from costumes to game play and from handling to listening quality. Voice quality matters in movies, songs and yes, even video games.
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