It's not long before videogames make the leap beyond the so-called 'Uncanny Valley' and enter the realm of true drama, with the likes of Red Dead and Heavy Rain utilizing advanced mo-cop and lip-sync to startling realistic effect. Technology continues to advance at such a rampant rate, Pixar-quality animation isn't an impossibility, it's an inevitability.
We're not lacking in the audio department, however, with a roster of recognised screen, radio and theater actors breathing life into our pixellated puppets. And so, in honor of their craft, we at Dealspwn have collated a list of the ten best voice-actors to lend their vocal charms. So, read on, for the Top 10 Videogame Voice-Actors.
10. Billy Murray (Captain Price)
Finally, an American-produced title with an English character sans that 'quintessentially British' accent the Yanks love, and we detest. Price is a great character, and Murray, best remembered as Eastenders crook Johnny Allen, lends a soft, likable edge to the grizzled veteran. I can't help but impersonate him when requesting a bar of alkaline-treated hydrolyzed vegetable oil. Soap. Geddit?
9. Jodie Forrest (Jade)
The name might not be familiar, but the voice of Jade, Beyond Good and Evil's intrepid photojournalist, most certainly is. Jade was a fun, lovable character, brave and bold in equal measure, and Forrest imbues her with a charm and wit we don't often see in female protagonists. We hope if the Beyond Good and Evil sequel does materialize, in whatever form, Forrest isn't overlooked for a return.
8. Michael McConnohie (Voice of the Agency)
The Voice of the Agency, Michael McConnohie, is a prolific voice actor, having lent his reassuring baritone to over 170 English language dubs, according to Wikipedia. Your omnipresent companion never shows his face, but is always at your side to offer advice, often when stuff is blowing up. "Agent, I'm warning you..." Oh, Michael, you and your harmless threats. I'm a superpowered monstrosity of nature, what could your inept police force possibly do?
7. Jen Taylor (Cortana)
Despite being a respected theater actress, Jen Taylor is best known as the glittering blue AI hologram, Cortana. Smart, sassy and with a keen wit we don't usually expect from silicon-based entities, Taylor totally sold the character to us, and added a touching slant to her relationship with the Chief, a man who often felt less human than her, a machine. Aw.
6. Brian Cox (Scolar Visari)
Either Killzone 2 was written by two separate scribes with differing talents, or the sole writer in charge, when he wasn't penning Visari's epic monologues, endured extreme bouts of mental-degradation conjuring the brainless infantry dialogue. It's such hilarious juxtaposition, listening to Cox's commanding voice, just as Rico utters yet another profanity-laden utterance that passes for plot exposition. It's like watching The Wire and Hollyoaks in the same room.
5. David Hayter (Solid Snake)
Hayter's gruff, coarse, so-gravelly-stones-should-be-spitting-from-his-mouth performance as Solid Snake is a fan-favourite. He also voices Big Boss, who is pretty much the same guy, only a clonal forefather, if I'm following the MGS saga's convoluted plot correctly. Hayter is also an accomplished screenwriter, having penned the first X-Men and Watchmen films. He pitched an MGS script to the Konami brass, too, but was rejected. Pity.
4. Steve Downes (Master Chief)
"I need a weapon". No man, be him cyborg, super-soldier of whatever else, can pull off this line like Steve Downes, the Master Chief himself. The Chief's dialogue across the entirety of the Halo trilogy would barely fit an A4 page, but Downes ensured each and every line filtered through MJOLNIR's comm systems was a stirring experience. He's a disc jockey, too. Cool.
3. Nolan North (Nathan Drake)
Nolan North's resume is staggering. Check his Wiki page for the videogame credits alone. However, his role as Uncharted's thieving rogue, Nathan Drake, propelled him into the mainstream. Now, he's in just about everything. Whenever a game needs an everyman hero with a sly sense of humour, Nolan North's phone rings. With the theme to Uncharted, I expect. Or Bad Cops.
2. Martin Sheen (The Illusive Man)
Sheen's role as the chain-smoking Illusive Man was the highlight of Mass Effect 2. We've come to expect terrific vocal performances from Bioware's cast, but the Illusive Man was something else. It's not just the knowledge that it's Martin Sheen, an actor so good I forgive him for siring Charlie Sheen. It's the entire performance; calm, assured, but with a lurking menace. Like a coiled spring, primed to strike.
1. Armin Shimerman (Andrew Ryan)
I had to dig deep to find the voice responsible for bringing life to Rapture's larger than life creator. Armin Shimerman, perhaps best known for Star Trek and Buffy. Andrew Ryan is, in my opinion, a monument to character design, our proverbial Citizen Kane. It's quite amazing to hear the snide, slimy principal from Buffy as Rapture's despotic ideologue. "A man, chooses. A slave, obeys." Indeed.
Who's your favourite voice actor to lend their vocal charms to our budding industry? As always, sign off in the comments below!