While everyone's debating Ellen Page's likeness claims this week, is there a bigger issue that faces gaming concerning the use of Hollywood actors?
I can see why one could be concerned about this. In some cases I'd say rightful so. On the other hand this is a great thing for the industry though. Hollywood stars are Hollywood stars because people like their work. This could be a step forward for gaming to be taken a little more seriously by even entertainment industry veterans. However, I don't think movie stars will make too many appearances (via face mo-cap at least). It's looking good as it is. Of course nobody wants to see Kristen Stewart anywhere near their game worlds and I don't think that's about to happen.
I have one simple reason why I don't like celebrities in games... balloned budget. Money that could have went directly into the design. Example: more time to add things and, or polish, refinement, Etcetera.
I agree. I also think pure animations get overlooked over the costly and so-called "performance capture". It's not something that needs to disappear, but it's definitely a trend that could use some restraint. Bioshock Infinite's Elizabeth with her cartoon-like animations was a much more emotionally engaging character than a performance-captured Sam Worthington in Avatar.
That's true, I haven't thought about that. Still, I believe the developers know what they are doing with their budget. At least that's my experience with celebrities in games. I think LA Noire and The Last of Us couldn't have pushed the border remarkably further. Sometimes budget isn't even a problem in production, see Hollywood.
You know that hadn't occurred to me but it makes a lot of sense and I wish I'd included that as a point in the original article. It stands to reason that money spent securing likeness rights very well could be better spent in developing a deeper gameplay experience.
@John Dread, I agree with your comment below, but! to counter your statement, see EA. many games, mainly their sequels, after attaining "good sales" then increasing budget astronomically, then expecting 5+ million unit sales. Jimmy Sterling put this into great perspective when he ripped into triple AAA games, a term I hope gets ground up into dust and spread over the black sea, like the ashes of someone who died before their time. But to support your opinion as well, games like Heavy Rain, The Last of Us, Uncharted 2, Bioshock Infinite, The Witcher 2, Metro: Last Light. All "triple AAA" looking games that didn't seem to have extortionate budgets.
I personally don't have any problem with celebrities in video games. It makes it easier to feel what the character is feeling because processional actors know how to add more feeling into the role. Who else remembers the bad voice acting in RE1? I can't even take that game serious because the voice acting and dialog is so ridiculous. I laughed more times than I was supposed to in a survival horror game. "You were almost a Jill sandwich" "Wow! What A MANSION!"
That ability isn't really limited to celebrities though... Think about it, Nolan North, Jennifer Hale, Troy Baker are probably the top voice actors in terms of exposure right now, and they aren't movie celebrities. More over, if you don't have a mo-cap studio the actor is probably going to be doing his voices alone in a booth, which most actors don't actually do outside of the odd animated film. Acting on a set is different from expressing emotion through your voice in a booth. I don't have anything against celebrities being in games, but judging from what I've seen in the past (Patrick Stewart and Liam Neeson in Oblivion and Fallout come to mind) celebrities aren't any better at conveying emotions than the voice actors that focus on video games. Add the price tag of a celebrity in and you've really got to ask yourself whether it's worth the investment. In my mind we should be giving more praise to dedicated video game voice actors, instead of assuming that film celebrities will somehow be better at it despite it not being their main medium. Not that I don't think film celebrities can do amazing work in terms of voice acting (I mean take a look at any given Pixar movie), but we shouldn't try and get a hollywood voice actor just because we think it'll make our games look more respectable.
Scared me when I was young. Bad controls, bad voice and all. Lol. @Hydralysk Well said! :)
Hey, nice thought piece. I think that the BIGGEST issue regarding is how the story is going to be told and if the game is going to rely on star power more than its own two feet. Actors are actors for a reason, in that they can convey themselves through mediums and give us the potential to BELIEVE they are someone else. In the end, it's going to be the ability of the actors to convey their roles more than the fact that they are in the role, if you catch my drift. It doesn't matter if it's Ellen Page or not, really. It just has to be if we believe that Ellen is playing her role well as another person.
If you actually pay much attention to celebrities, maybe. I don't, so it doesn't matter to me. Don't see why they bother with celebrities, though. They usually don't amount to better voices, from what I've seen. And given how costly they are to hire it's not worth it. Take Bethesda games , for example. They get a celebrity VA for every game and barely use the character they voice, assuming they don't kill them early on too. That's several thousands of dollars for a paycheck that barely adds anything to the game you couldn't get cheaper and do better with using a VA native to the industry. Edit: *Headdesk* lol, someone wrote almost the exact same thing I did before me, examples and all.
I really hope gaming budget of future games are not going toward hiring famous actors to motion cap or do voice overs
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