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Terrible Voice Acting By Hollywood Stars In Games

To have a great story, a movie needs a great script. But acting is equally important, because actors help you relate to the tale. They immerse you in the setting by giving you a way to imagine yourself in it. And they're able to further the narrative through the way they speak and the expressions they wear.

Acting plays a big role in video games, too — voice acting in particular. Just as a stellar film performance can stir something in your soul and make you feel a range of emotions, a solid voice acting job can help bring a video game to life and lend a touch of humanity to what is, essentially, a bunch of polygons stuck together. 

Unfortunately, you won't find any of those great performances here.

It's a shame, too, because the list we've put together features big-name movie actors who have otherwise held their own on the big screen. But voice acting is a different beast entirely, and not everyone can successfully lend their voice to a video game character. So as we look forward to more games featuring Nolan North, Troy Baker, and Ashley Burch, read on below to see which Hollywood stars failed to deliver in their video game voice roles.

Matthew Perry, Fallout: New Vegas

You may know Matthew Perry best from the TV series Friends, where he played the role of goofball Chandler Bing. Perry as Chandler was best known for his witty one-liners, and it seems someone at Obsidian Entertainment thought his propensity for delivering zingers would be a good fit for Fallout: New Vegas. He was cast into the role of Benny, the head of the Chairmen, and went on to win many BAFTA awards.

Just kidding. He didn't win any awards.

Perry's voice acting performance in Fallout: New Vegas is mostly looked on as a sour note in what many consider to be a great Fallout game. His voice just didn't fit the role, and many who heard him just couldn't shake the thought of Chandler from their minds. At least there's a cool story behind him landing the role, though — he once gifted Ellen DeGeneres with an Xbox 360 and a copy of Fallout 3, which put him on Bethesda's radar. They later got in touch to offer him a spot, and he took it.

Peter Dinklage, Destiny

If you're new to the Destiny franchise with Destiny 2, Nolan North is the only Ghost you've ever known. But way back in 2014 when the original Destiny first released, Ghost sounded a lot different. That's because the role of your Guardian's companion was originally held by Peter Dinklage, famous for his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister in HBO's Game of Thrones.

Players had a lot of complaints with the first Destiny, and unfortunately, one of them was Dinklage's voice acting. He simply sounded bored most of the time, and his delivery didn't do a lot to inspire confidence. The player's character in Destiny didn't speak much (and now doesn't speak at all), so Ghost was leaned on quite heavily to provide story beats. Dinklage failed to deliver, and so Destiny's already-bad story felt even worse.

Dinklage's run as Ghost was fairly short: he only existed in the first year story campaign. After Ghost grew silent in the game's first two DLCs, Nolan North stepped in to take the helm at the launch of The Taken King expansion.

Michael Biehn, Aliens: Colonial Marines

Michael Biehn is known for his role in the original Aliens; that's why he seemed like a natural fit when it came time to cast Aliens: Colonial Marines, a 2013 first-person shooter from Gearbox Software. At the time, Gearbox had a great pedigree with shooters thanks to its Borderlands franchise, and that same series is pretty well regarded for its voice acting.

Gearbox. Aliens. An actor from the actual Aliens movie. What could go wrong?

Lots of things. Aliens: Colonial Marines itself is regarded as a "disaster" of a game, promising so much yet delivering so little. And Biehn's reprisal of Corporal Hicks isn't looked upon favorably. His subpar performance in the game at least comes with an excuse, though: Biehn simply didn't enjoy working on the game.

Don't let one bad outing fool you, though. Biehn isn't all that bad when he shows up in video games. He had a lot more fun voicing Rex Colt in Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and turned in a far better performance as a result.

50 Cent: Blood on the Sand

We know what you're thinking: "50 Cent is an actor?" Believe it or not, yes. In addition to his successful rap career, Curtis Jackson — aka 50 Cent — has also starred in several movies, including Escape Plan, Spy, and Den of Thieves. He's got some acting chops, and he's spent a whole lot of his life in a recording booth. You'd think that those two facts together would add up to a voice performance that is at least serviceable.

Unfortunately, 50 Cent was not magic on the mic for his own video game, 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand. One reviewer called the voice acting in the game "wonderfully atrocious," while another said voice acting "seems pretty far outside of Mr. Cent's skill set to the point where he's not quite convincing playing himself." If you can't even play yourself, should you be voicing video games at all? It seems in 50 Cent's case, the answer is no.

Christopher Walken, True Crime: Streets of L.A.

Christopher Walken has a very distinct voice and a very distinct delivery, and the truth is, they only work in some roles. He's earned legend status as a host on Saturday Night Live. He's a favorite in films like Wedding Crashers. He even managed to pull off a portrayal of Captain Hook in a live performance of Peter Pan.

But wow, he was not great in True Crime: Streets of L.A.

A mere listen to some of Walken's lines (which you can hear above) will help you understand why his time as True Crime's George isn't viewed favorably. It seems Christopher Walken has just one mode: Walken. He sounds the same and is essentially playing the same character regardless of where he shows up. He's able to pull this off in the few films he does because you're expecting it and you get Walken's physical acting to supplement it. But in a video game character that doesn't look anything like Christopher Walken, his voice doesn't quite fit.

Bruce Willis, Apocalypse

Here's an example of a Hollywood actor who was hand-picked for a video game that wanted so badly to be a movie. The game is 1998's Apocalypse, and it stars Bruce Willis, whose voice and likeness are both included to really get the full Bruce Willis effect. Back when Apocalypse was released, Bruce Willis was coming off a string of several popular movies, including a few Die HardsThe Fifth Element, and Twelve Monkeys. But unlike the aforementioned films, Bruce Willis's Apocalypse performance absolutely stunk.

For large swaths of the game, the terrible dialogue Willis spouts is delivered to absolutely no one. He's talking to himself. And Willis just doesn't seem to be trying all that hard. The plot in Apocalypse is fairly weak, and in games that are narrative-poor, aspects like voice acting tend to stick out a whole lot more (as they did with Destiny). Willis' random one-liners and laughter just serve to highlight how bad Apocalypse is, which is why it's not surprising he's largely avoided video game voice acting since.

David Duchovny, Area 51

Fans of The X-Files are quite familiar with David Duchovny and his deadpan delivery, and in his role as Mulder on that series, the approach fits. So it's natural that a company making a game called Area 51 would see Duchovny as a fit there, too. It's more sci-fi and conspiracy theories, and the guy who played Fox Mulder didn't just make sense at the time: it was probably the best person they could have signed up for the job.

Except it wasn't.

The subtleties of Duchovny's physical acting were lost in his transition to video game character, and the fact that Area 51 was a first-person shooter didn't help. Reviewers also took issue with Duchovny's unexciting take on his character, Ethan Cole, in what are some of the funnier comments we've seen in reviews. One review said that Cole had "slightly less emotional pizzazz than your average over-boiled carrot." That same review praised the game's audio design while wishing that "David would be silent and let us enjoy the game he's trying to ruin." And the title of another review sums up the game in a few short but brutal words: "David Duchovny huffs some Nyquil ... and a game happens."

David Duchovny, XIII

We wish we could say that Area 51 was David Duchovny's first and only foray into video game voice acting. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Years before he worked on that title, he did voice work for a game called XIII, which featured a really cool art style but the same ho-hum snoozefest of a performance from its lead. It's too bad, because Duchovny sounded fairly excited about taking part in the project. "Players are in for a lot of surprises with this game — things are never what they seem, making for good drama and a great game," he said in an interview prior to its launch.

One of the more interesting bits about XIII is that Duchovny was not the only famous person roped into voicing a character. Former Batman actor Adam West and female rapper Eve also joined Duchovny, and turned in respectable performances. One reviewer even mentioned this fact, stating that "Adam West and Eve do reasonably well, but Duchovny, who plays XIII himself, doesn't come off sounding terribly natural."

0 for 2, Duchovny.

Patrick Stewart, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

What can be said about Sir Patrick Stewart that can describe him in a worthy way? He's Captain Picard, for crying out loud. He's Professor X. He's voiced a Poop emoji. He's had a magnificent career both in film and on stage, and it feels almost wrong to criticize his acting work in any way, shape, or form.

But we're going to.

Stewart voiced a character in what many consider to be one of the best Elder Scrolls games ever made: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. As Uriel Septim VII, he ruled over the Empire of Tamriel for the several minutes you spent with him before he was assassinated. And the lines he delivered, while classic Patrick Stewart, comes off as a bit too Shakespearean. Rather than immerse you in the game, hearing his grand delivery actually takes you out of it. Fortunately, if you love Patrick Stewart and usually appreciate his work, you can forget his role here quickly as it doesn't last very long.

Mickey Rourke, Rogue Warrior

If you see Mickey Rourke's name attached to a project, you can assume a couple of things: it's probably going to be violent, and there's probably going to be a lot of swearing. It was true for The Wrestler. It was true for The Expendables. Rourke even showered profanities galore in his 2009 Baftas acceptance speech.

And wow, was it true for the video game he attached his voice to: Rogue Warrior, a 2009 first-person shooter that, unlike The Wrestler, had the distinct honor of winning a "worst-of" award. As in, it was named one of Rolling Stone's 50 Worst Games of All Time.

Rourke's voice work in Rogue Warrior was pretty terrible, both in terms of the parental rating you'd have to place on his dialogue and in the quality of the performance itself. You can listen to some examples in the video embedded above, but please make sure you do the Vince Vaughn "earmuffs" on any nearby children before you press play. To prepare you, here's what IGN said about his acting: "As far as sound goes, overwhelming attention was paid to Mickey Rourke's profanity laced commentary, which makes Marcinko seem like a Tourette's afflicted soldier hopped up on adrenaline."

Good luck.

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