Modern Day Celebrity Voice Acting in Triple A Titles
You'll find a lot of the best examples of game audio are dripping with nostalgia. That's partially because we were learning how to make good sound effects and musical scores even in the days of the NES. Voice acting, on the other hand, is really a more recent development in the world of video games, and we still don't have it nailed down.
PSOne era voice acting was typically horrendous (Resident Evil, anyone?) and PS2 era voice acting wasn't much better (did anyone else want to murder Tidus or was it just me?) Finally, we are starting to realize that video game voice actors have to be more than that random bum that was found behind the dumpster who gets paid in sandwiches. As video game budgets increase, the quality of voice acting increases as well.
You probably can't remember who did the original voice of Jill in Resident Evil. Can you remember who did Emperor Uriel Septim in Oblivion or Zobek in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow? That's right, it's Jean-Luc Picard himself, Patrick Stewart. Liam Neeson played the protagonist's father in Fallout 3, Samuel L. Jackson did GTA San Andreas, and even David Boreanaz lent his talent to Kingdom Hearts.
Almost all the examples of good video game voice acting come from this generation. Aside from a few exceptions, such as David Hayter's performance as Solid Snake, most PSOne and PS2 era voice acting was crap.
Remember when we said "less is more" in reference to video game sound effects? Well, the same holds true for video game music. Minimalistic game music is not necessarily better, but it's often more memorable. I can't remember what the final stage music for Halo: Reach was, but I can remember the Dr. Wily theme from Mega Man 3 note for note.
In fact, 8-bit music has become so popular that there are now chiptune bands that incorporate chipsets from the NES or Gameboy into their musical performances. If you haven't yet heard Anamanaguchi, you should check them out. Not only are they a pretty awesome rock band in their own right, they also did work on the Scott Pilgrim video game.
As I said before, I'm a fan of the big orchestral productions that modern day games have, but half of these productions are actually remakes of the old minimalistic game themes we love. Honestly, how many times have you heard the stage 1-1 Mario theme in your lifetime?
Give yourself extra points if you thought of the Gameboy Mario Land 1-1 theme rather than the NES Mario Bros theme.
By Angelo M. D'Argenio
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*