5 Weird Things You Didn't Know About Video Game Voice Acting
Nothing shows off the modern cinematic qualities of video games like the advances in voice acting. We've gone from simple text speech and the occasional "Wise fwom you gwave" to performances that can rival a Pixar flick. Did anyone else start crying when Balthier was cavalierly fixing the Bahamut while the now-united forces of good and evil seek to keep to from falling on Rabanastre in Final Fantasy XII? If you didn't, stop reading. I don't write for soulless lizard people.
You only have to look at the nod to GLaDOS in Ellen McClain's role in Pacific Rim to see just how wonderfully our video game voice heroes are making their way out into the more traditional entertainment venues. Yet as they emerge sometimes we run across some very strange coincidences and quirks that are a little confusing. Here's five of them.
Quick, what's the first Final Fantasy that featured voice acting? X, right? All that horrible laughter scraping our souls from the inside? No, it was actually VII. As the Diamond Weapon makes its way towards Midgar near the end of the game an unknown and uncredited voice actor says, "Radar system is go. Sister Ray target confirmed. Entering discharge preparations. All workers should evacuate from the designated area." This constitutes the first known voice acting in the series, and it isn't even part of a grand ending or intro. It would be two more entries in the franchise and another step up in the console wars before voice acting would return to become a staple.
Speaking of Square Enix titles, they are responsible for one of the biggest returns of an original voice actor to a character in history. In 1951 at the age of 13 Kathryn Beaumont landed the lead role in Disney's Alice in Wonderland (She was also Wendy in Peter Pan later on). After Peter Pan Beaumont almost completely disappeared from acting until the Disney/Square Enix crossover Kingdom Hearts came calling. Suddenly, she found herself once again voicing Alice and Wendy a half a century after she did so on the big screen.
What could the hack-and-slash adventure Lollipop Chainsaw possibly have in common with the light-hearted children's cartoon My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? Well, yes, OK, there are some really perverted people enjoying both, but that's not what I was going for. The answer is Tara Strong, who voices the lead characters in both (Juliet Starling and Twilight Sparkle respectively).
That's not surprising. After all, Strong is an award-winning and highly sought out voice actress, so it's perfectly understandable that she would take on a variety of roles. Yeah, but then you get videos like the one above where people take footage of Twilight Sparkle and add in Juliet's dialogue, with horrifying results. You can spend all day looking at that stuff. At least until they come to arrest you.
I mentioned Ellen McClain earlier, she's not the only voice actor in the original Portal. Faith No More and Mr. Bungle's Mike Patton actually has a role as the voice of the snarling Anger Sphere. Such roles that involve pissed off gibbering nonsense are actually a trademark of the famous singer's in video games, as he did the same for zombies in Left 4 Dead, and as the Darkseekers in I Am Legend.
It is worth noting that Patton does occasionally get to articulate as a character. He was Rad Spencer in the 2009 sequel to Bionic Commando, doing a bang up job.
It was 1996 and there was still a whole swath of people out there who honestly believed that the world of music and movies was flooded with back-masked Satanic messages that would subliminally lead your kids to heathenism, damnation, and blood orgies. It was all completely untrue on a variety of levels, but it did seem to keep parents busy while the rest of us got on with the business of being a kid.
Enter Diablo, which is undeniably Satanic-themed. They weren't even trying to hide it. Here was Old Scratch actively trying to get at your kids. The whole point of the game being to defeat your demonic antagonist was probably lost on the parents.
When Diablo himself makes an appearance he begins spouting something in a bestial, terrifying language. What was the Lord of the Pit trying to sneak into our children's ears?
Played in reverse he says in plain English, "Eat your vegetables and brush after every meal." It's a credit to voice actor Bill Roper that he makes even that sound pretty damned scary.
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