Saturday, April 20, 2024
HomeMoviesFamous Actors Who Have Lent Their Voices to Video Games

Famous Actors Who Have Lent Their Voices to Video Games


Some of your favorite celebrities also starred as voice actors in the world’s most popular video games. Some of them are easy to see with their face right on the cover, and others you’ll be surprised to discover. There are two or three famous actors on this list who might have been in your favorite video game before they ever became super-famous. But where is the line between movies and video games? As the industry continues to grow, so do the size, scope, and ambition of some of these games, with many placing particular emphasis on storytelling, world-building, and character development, just as much as the gameplay.

A good voice performance is essential to bringing these characters to life and elevating them to new planes. A wide range of emotions needs to be conveyed, and a voice alone can express where the character is from, their personality, and how they’re feeling. Going one step further, now thanks to motion capturing technology, an actor’s likeness can be represented realistically in the game if the developers choose to do so. It’s also no secret that having a big-name actor attached to a project can often increase its appeal. Over the years, dozens of actors, from Ricky Gervais to Liam Neeson, have lent their voices and acting abilities (and sometimes their likeness) to video games — below are 15 of the most noteworthy.

Updated on September 12th, 2023, by Ted Bajer: This article has been updated with additional content to keep the discussion fresh and relevant with even more information and new entries.

16 Keanu Reeves

Cyberpunk 2077

CD Projekt Red

The 2022 dystopian role-playing game, Cyberpunk 2077, was one of the most ambitious and expensive games ever created, and the developers needed to pull a few tricks out of the hat to get the sales it needed to make back the money and turn a profit. Enter Keanu Reeves — one of Hollywood’s best-known and most beloved actors.

Reeves lent his voice and his likeness to the game, playing the uber-cool, rebellious Johnny Silverhand. Sadly, despite all the ambition and Reeves’ role in the game, it failed to create the waves it had intended to, with early iterations being plagued with bugs and glitches and appearing unfinished in places. Fortunately, thanks to several improvements being implemented in follow-up patches and updates, the game is steadily amassing a cult following.

15 Kristen Bell

Assassin’s Creed

kristen-bell-assassins-creed
Ubisoft

Since the release of the first game in 2007, Assassin’s Creed has become one of gaming’s most successful franchises comprising numerous sequels and spin-off games, as well as comics, novels, and even a movie. The story and lore have grown deep and complex over the years, but there has remained an overarching theme in which a team of people in the present day use a machine that allows one of them to travel back to various points in history, by inhabiting the body of his ancestors.

In doing so, he can relive crucial moments and alter the events of history, potentially saving humankind in the future. Kristen Bell, known for her roles in Frozen, Forgetting Sarah Marshal,and Gossip Girl, among others, lent her likeness and voice to play one of the present-day scientists in Assassin’s Creed, Assassin’s Creed II, and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.

14 Norman Reedus

Death Stranding

Norman Reedus
Sony Interactive

Norman Reedus achieved cult status with his standout performances in The Boondock Saints and its sequel. He later became a household name thanks to his starring role in the mega-successful Walking Dead series.

Thanks to cutting-edge motion capture technology, Reedus lent not only his voice but also his likeness to the character Sam in the thought-provoking, slow-burning action game Death Stranding. More than just a celebrity cameo, Reedus stars as the main protagonist and acts in the game’s numerous cut scenes — one of which lasts over 30 minutes!

13 Elliot Page

Beyond: Two Souls

elliot-page-beyond-two-souls
Quantic Dream

Elliot Page garnered critical acclaim for his early roles in the revenge thriller Hard Candy and indie coming-of-age dramedy Juno. He has since gone on to appear in numerous high-profile movies, including Christopher Nolan’s Inception and the X-Men movies The Last Stand and Days of Future Past.

Once again, thanks to motion-capturing technology, Page played the main protagonist in the interactive decision-based sci-fi game Beyond: Two Souls, in which he plays a young teen coming to grips with certain unexplainable telekinetic powers. Willem Dafoe also stars, giving a heart-rending performance as the personal doctor and researcher.

12 Kevin Spacey

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

kevin-spacey-call-of-duty
Sledgehammer Games

Call of Duty is a war-based first-person shooter franchise that is immensely popular and at the time of Advanced Warfare‘s release, Kevin Spacey was among the most respected actors in Hollywood.

With numerous critically acclaimed performances under his belt, including roles in Se7en, American Beauty, and The Usual Suspects, Spacey’s appearance in the game was undoubtedly a big selling point, helping the game become the biggest seller of 2014. He plays plays Jonathan Irons, the CEO of a private military corporation and one of the lead roles.

Related: Grand Theft Auto: 9 Famous Actors Who Lent Their Voices to the Game Series

11 Matthew Perry

Fallout: New Vegas

matthew-perry-fallout-3
Bethesda Softworks

With Matthew Perry, known for playing the sarcastic friend Chandler Bing in the hit ’90s sitcom Friends, being a huge self-professed lover of Fallout 3, could he be more obvious a choice to appear in the game’s follow-up, New Vegas?

It certainly paid off, as Perry excels, and his passion is evident in his portrayal of the New Vegas Chairman Benny in this huge post-apocalyptic RPG.

10 Rami Malek

Until Dawn

Rami Malek - Until Dawn
Supermassive Games

Until Dawn was somewhat ground-breaking at the time of its release: combining compelling horror storytelling with interactive decision-based gameplay, it was highly praised by audiences and critics alike and became an instant classic. Rami Malek provided his voice and motion-captured acting to one of the eight playable characters whom the players are tasked with keeping alive (or killing off in gruesome ways, if they so choose).

Whilst Malek’s career admittedly received a huge boost over his fantastic portrayal of Freddie Mercury in 2018’s Bohemian Rhapsody, he had already established himself as an accomplished actor by the time of Until Dawn’s release, having appeared in the Night At The Museum movies as well as the likes of Oldboy and Need For Speed. Recruiting known actors to voice characters in its games is a tactic Until Dawn’s developers continued, with Will Poulter starring in Little Hope and Ethan Supplee, David Arquette, and Ted Raimi appearing in this year’s The Quarry.

9 Samuel L. Jackson

GTA: San Andreas

grand-theft-auto-samuel-l-jackson-1
Rockstar Games

The GTA series is unfathomably successful. And as the games have grown far bigger in scope, so have the voice actors. There are dozens of famous actors, from Dennis Hopper to Ricky Gervais, that have appeared in the series over the years, but one of the most memorable castings has to be Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson is one of Hollywood’s most recognizable and successful actors of all time. The prolific star has well over a hundred movie acting credits under his belt, which have collectively grossed over $27 billion.

Appearing in everything from political dramas and independent thrillers to huge multi-billion dollar franchises like Star Wars and The Avengers, Jackson also has done his fair share of voice acting, including playing characters in The Incredibles, Afro Samurai, and Turbo. In GTA: San Andreas, he lends his instantly recognizable voice to the borderline psychotic corrupt police officer. Expect plenty of uses of his trademark expletives.

8 Burt Reynolds

Saints Row: The Third

burt reynolds saints row the third

Hollywood royalty and the immortal Southern hero from Smokey and the Bandit, Burt Reynolds became larger than life over his career. His celebrity grew past even his own identity as he became such a character in Hollywood circles that eventually the idea of who “Burt Reynolds” was, turned into something larger than any of the roles the actor had played.

You can see this exact thing happen in Saints Row: The Third as Reynolds fervently plays none other than himself. As your player-character meets him for the first time, you exclaim “Burt-f*cking-Reynolds?!” since you’ve been told you’re going to meet the mayor of Steelport. Burt Reynolds responds with a cheery, “Who else could keep this town running?”

7 Kit Harington

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

kit harington call of duty infinite warfare

You never thought you would find Jon Snow in a Sci-Fi video game, did you? Kit Harington leaves his Game of Thrones fantasy world behind for just a moment to star as the evil space admiral Salen Kotch in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. You can’t miss him with his face designed in the character as well.

It seemed like a strange casting, considering he was still in the middle of making GoT at the time. But Harington was excited to play it. He said he always loved space-themed stories, and this was the first time he had ever gotten to play a villain, which he also enjoyed.

Related: 17 Movies That Feel Like a Video Game

6 Sean Bean

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Martin-Septim sean bean elder scrolls
Bethesda Studios

Another fantasy star and for a little while, co-star with Kit Harington on Game of Thrones, Sean Bean took an important role in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, the precursor to Bethesda’s Skyrim. Bean played the crucial role of Emperor Martin Septim, whose job was not just to rule over the land but to separate the worlds of humans and daedra.

He doesn’t take the proud, kingly stance we often see him play in other films. His character is an insecure man, who isn’t even aware of his relation to the line of emperors. But in true Sean Bean fashion, he still dies by the end of the game. Patrick Stewart played his emperor’s father who died at the beginning of the game.

5 Mark Hamill

Batman: Arkham Asylum

joker arkham asylum video game batman mark hamill
Warner Bros. Interactive

Mark Hamill has been the most famous voice actor playing the Joker for decades now, but it’s not often that an actor is so prized in their role that they’re asked to play them in video games as well. Mark Hamill is of course best known for playing Luke Skywalker in Star Wars.

But after becoming impossibly famous in that role, he began doing a lot of voice acting in DC. Over the years he’s played the Joker in dozens of animated series and video games. Arkham Asylum was probably one of the most popular Batman video games released in a long while, and Hamill’s Joker thoroughly added to that experience.

4 Seth Green

Mass Effect

seth green joker mass effect
BioWare

Though he hasn’t starred in many big movies for a while, he often makes little cameos, and his voice has become ubiquitous. Seth Green still plays Chris on Family Guy and still works on the Adult Swim show Robot Chicken. He voices Howard the Duck in the MCU and has played a role in Love, Death, and Robots as well. Seth Green is deeply involved in the world of science fiction and voice acting, but it still came as a bit of a surprise when his recognizable tone rang clear in the throat of Joker the pilot in Mass Effect.

Despite his immense talent and the great number of silly voices he could do, he played the character with his typical “interview voice” as it were. Though he didn’t play a big role in the game, he added a cheerful air to his dialogue. Martin Sheen joined him in Mass Effect 2 as the illusive man.

3 Gary Oldman

Call of Duty: Black Ops

gary oldman call of duty black ops
Activision

True to Gary Oldman form, you probably didn’t realize that this top-tier actor snuck his way into Call of Duty: Black Ops. He reprised his role from Call of Duty: World at War when in Black Ops he played the Russian squad leader Sgt. Reznov.

He said that he likely wouldn’t have been cast in the role if it were done in live-action, simply considering how much bigger Sgt. Reznov was than himself. But Oldman did his best to give the character a big imposing voice, and naturally got deeply involved in the character despite it just being a middling role in a popular video game.

2 Elijah Wood

The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon

spyro the dragon
Insomniac Games

Soon after his role as Frodo in The Lord of the Rings had ended, Elijah Wood played a surprising role in a popular video game. It’s not that well known anymore, but many PS1 owners will remember Spyro the Dragon.

He played the title character voicing the character next to many other celebrities, including Gary Oldman. David Spade played a role as did Phill LaMarr (Futurama), Mark Hamill, Christina Ricci, and Wayne Brady, throughout two games in the series.

1 Liam Neeson

Fallout 3

liam-neeson-fallout-3
Bethesda Studios

Liam Neeson played James in Fallout 3. Quite a big role, James was the mysterious and estranged father of the protagonist in the game. He was a scientist who had found a way to purify all the water in the greater Washington D.C. area which has been irradiated by a nuclear explosion.

His voice comes in at several key dramatic moments, and while it isn’t quite Neeson’s natural Irish brogue, it is the comforting voice of a father and the authoritative voice of a scientist trying to stave off the end of humanity.



This story originally appeared on Movieweb

RELATED ARTICLES
- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments