PS3 News: Editorial: At Long Last, Gaming Has Its Celebrity Class - PS3 News

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Editorial: At Long Last, Gaming Has Its Celebrity Class

Imagine you're a worldwide celebrity.

Your performances have been enjoyed by millions from America to the U.K. to Japan and everywhere in between. The work is hard, repetitive, and strenuous. It doesn't pay as well as other jobs where people do the same things but you have the benefit of walking down the street without being mobbed by fans. Every now and then though someone you speak to says, “Have we met?” even though you haven't.

I imagine that's something like the experience that popular voice and motion capture actors for video games have. I also get the feeling that this relatively small number of recognizable stars only well known to the hardcore gaming community is going to grow along with their fame.

Last generation I honestly couldn't tell you the names of any of the people doing the voices for my favorite characters. Nobody really cared aside from ultimate devotees of the likes of David Hayter as Snake in Metal Gear Solid. For the most part though, voices weren't particularly good anyway. Motion capture wasn't as widespread either, but things have changed quite a bit.

Now, at least within the daily online gaming community, we suddenly have a list of actors who have become regulars in our news headlines. We talk about their great performances, we monitor their Twitter feeds, we check their LinkedIn profiles for upcoming game hints, we watch their interviews, and now we even get involved in their drama.

As you may recall there was a bit of a flap regarding Ellen Page and the character design for Ellie in The Last of Us. Of course Ellen Page was previously known only for her Hollywood credentials but the fact that she plays the main character Jodie Holmes in Quantic Dream's upcoming Beyond: Two Souls made the little drama all that more relevant. In the end Page pointed out on her Twitter feed that credit for the performance behind Ellie goes to Ashley Johnson and that was what was important. Anyone who played Naughty Dog's post apocalyptic gem will agree that Johnson's portrayal of Ellie was masterful.

Speaking of The Last of Us, Mr. Troy Baker's role as Joel has been lauded by critics and gamers alike. The fact that he also voiced Booker DeWitt in this year's other Game of the Year contender Bioshock Infinite pretty much cements him as another gaming A-lister along with the likes of Nolan North from Uncharted (and just about every other game). I know gamers would give me guff if I didn't also mention Stephen Merchant as Wheatley from Portal 2 and probably Emily Rose of Uncharted fame as well.

The fact of the matter is that unless you are a coder yourself, it's easier to be a fan of a great acting performance than any individual person on a development team. I think we can all agree that developer and publisher types have a hard time gaining celebrity status; they just aren't that type. The rest usually end up garnering as much hate as they do respect. Hideo Kojima has a lot of fans, but he doesn't seem particularly approachable to the average person. The less said about developer hosted events at E3 the better as far as I'm concerned.

I think that as gaming keeps moving into the mainstream and the talent keeps making it into the headlines, gaming will become comfortable having its own celebrity class. It's a good thing too, instead of fans being preoccupied with wanting to be like the stars -as is often the case with the movie industry- we can focus on just enjoying their art.

 

Related Game(s): The Last Of Us, Portal 2, Beyond: Two Souls, Bioshock Infinite

Tags: Voice actors, motion capture

7/25/2013 10:27:55 PM David D. Nelson

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Comments (10 posts)

cLoudou
Thursday, July 25, 2013 @ 11:18:51 PM
Reply

Troy Baker is a god.

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Johnnyu12
Thursday, July 25, 2013 @ 11:41:26 PM
Reply

Bioshock and last of us! Dudes a beast! haha, but for real, it's nice to get some big names attached to the video game world

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PlatformGamerNZ
Friday, July 26, 2013 @ 5:21:40 AM
Reply

yeah i'd like to think ppl can take game acting seriously cos these ppl did a great job.

happy gaming =)

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Ather
Friday, July 26, 2013 @ 11:49:23 AM
Reply

Seems to be the way of the acting world. In the 20th Century, an actor doing a voice over role were flat out told never mention it. And you were still a nobody if you were a professional voice actor.

Now, it's not the secret shame it once was. A List Actors want to do voices. Voice actors have their own following. Names like Rob Paulsen and Cree Summer means something to people. Especially since they spent some 3 decades listening to them.

So, I expect the Video game Stars to become stars in their own right. By 2020, they'll have big followings too.

Then there's Nolon North, who's everywhere these days. Video games, cartoons, live action. He'll help bring fans from all the mediums together, and help bring Video Game folks into the light.

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Ultima
Friday, July 26, 2013 @ 12:27:24 PM
Reply

> I think we can all agree that developer and publisher types have a hard time gaining celebrity status; they just aren't that type.

Do Miyamoto, Itagaki, or John Romero (back in the 90s) count?

Note that "Celebrity" isn't always a -good- thing.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, July 26, 2013 @ 12:32:35 PM

I would probably consider them talented "personalities".

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JROD0823
Friday, July 26, 2013 @ 8:46:48 PM
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Hey Ben, you forgot Dave Fennoy, the awesome voice actor who more recently voiced Lee Everett in TellTale's The Walking Dead game.

Consider your daily quota of guff paid in full. :)

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Underdog15
Sunday, July 28, 2013 @ 9:14:47 PM

Ben didn't write this

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Kryten1029a
Saturday, July 27, 2013 @ 8:46:24 PM
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I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Jennifer Hale. From Commander Shepherd to Rosalind Lutece and more.

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SonyPuppy
Tuesday, July 30, 2013 @ 9:22:18 PM
Reply

I have to mention Claudia Black. She's been a long time fave of mine ever since I saw her on Farscape in the before times. But every time I hear her voice in a new game I get excited. She always gets such excellent lines and delivers them flawlessly. I seriously hope she continues to do more work for games in the future.

And for those who don't think they know her, she has performed roles in Crysis, Mass Effect 2+3, TERA, Final Fantasy 14, Diablo 3, Amazing Spider-Man; as well as being Morrigan in DA:O (and fingers crossed for Inquisition) and Chloe Frazer in Uncharted 2+3.

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