×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Huge Celebrities You Never Realized Were In Video Games

Video games rely on a dedicated pool of voice actors. Play any video game, and odds are at least one character will be voiced by someone like Grey DeLisle, Steve Blum, Troy Baker, or Jennifer Hale. These vocal thespians have a ton of range and have played everything from starring roles to "Random Enemy Soldier #15." But, sometimes familiar faces from Hollywood play these kinds of roles, too.

Live-action celebrities voicing video game characters is nothing new. It's a long-standing tradition, but usually studios (or at least marketing departments) make a big deal about it. Patrick Stewart's role as Uriel Septim VII was a major part of the advertising campaign for "The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion," and the same was true for Mark Hamill's roles in "Darksiders," "Batman: Arkham Asylum," and the original release of "Yakuza." However, sometimes celebrities sneak into the voice casts of video games. Maybe you barely recognize them in these roles, or perhaps these voice acting gigs ironically predate the actor's celebrity status. Either way, most audiences probably won't realize famous actors in these video game roles without someone pointing it out.

Neil Patrick Harris - Saints Row, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions

Neil Patrick Harris has been in more shows, movies, and cartoons than we can count. Several video games are also on that list.

Neil Patrick Harris got his true taste of fame with the award-winning "Doogie Howser, M.D.," where he starred as the titular character. This role made him so famous that it was referenced in the "Simpsons" episode "Bart the Murderer," where Harris got to play a fictional version himself playing a fictional version of Bart Simpson. However, most audiences probably recognize Harris as pop-culture icon Barney Stinson from "How I Met Your Mother." Harris also has quite a few voice roles under his belt, including the Music Meister in "Batman: The Brave and the Bold" and Dr. Blowhole in "The Penguins of Madagascar." And yes, Harris also has his fair share of video game roles, too.

Harris' first video game gig was DJ Veteran Child in "Saints Row 2." It was a small part, but he returned to voice the simulated Veteran Child in "Saints Row 4." Harris' next role was significantly larger, as he played the main antagonist of "Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard," Wallace "Wally" Wellesley. However, Harris' biggest role was arguably the Amazing Spider-Man in "Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions."

Michael Fassbender - Fable 3

While many actors fill a wide range of roles, others are typecast. Jason Statham, for instance, is often cast as characters who are as togh as they are British. Michael Fassbender is another example of actors who take on similar roles, since he tends to play villains, even when he isn't live on screen. 

Fassbender has been in a plethora of shows and films. One of his first roles was Burton Christenson in "Band of Brothers," but his most important one was the award-winning role as Steve Jobs in the "Steve Jobs" movie. However, most audiences probably know Fassbender for his villainous characters, such as Magneto in "X-Men: First Class" and David in "Prometheus."

Fassbender has only played two video game characters in his career, one of whom wasn't actually in a video game. In the live adaptation of "Assassin's Creed," Fassbender portrayed Cal Lynch/Aguilar, who was made exclusively for the movie and is otherwise disconnected from the game franchise. Fassbender's sole video game role truly belongs to the "evil" King Logan from "Fable 3." While Fassbender wasn't the only celebrity in the game (Ben Kingsley played Sabine and John Cleese voiced the butler Jasper), Fassbender was barely recognizable in this part.

Mark Strong - Battlefield V, Warhammer 40000: Space Marine

Nobody can ever predict where their career will take them. One day they're a bit player in a soap opera, the next they're playing some of the most famous heroes and villains in pop culture history.

Mark Strong began his career on the British soap opera "Eastenders." While Strong started showing up in movies several years later, it took him almost 30 years to receive true recognition. His first big role was as Frank D'Amico in "Kick-Ass," and he got better gigs from there. He has since appeared in films such as "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," "Shazam!," and "Kingsman."

While Strong reprised his role of Frank D'Amico for the "Kick-Ass" video game, he also played quite a few novel characters, such as Silanus in "Total War: Rome II" and Stargordon in "The Artful Escape." Most gamers probably remember Strong for his strong connection (pun intended) to the "Warhammer 40K" universe. Strong played the titular Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn in "Eisenhorn: Xenos," as well as Captain Titus in the cult classic "Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine." Unfortunately, Strong won't return to voice Titus in "Space Marine 2;" Clive Standen is replacing him.

Andy Serkis - Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, Heavenly Sword

Not all celebrities are famous for on-screen performances. Many make a name for themselves for working behind the scenes to produce movie magic. In the age of CGI and mocap, few can match Andy Serkis.

Serkis has brought countless CGI characters to life, including King Kong in Peter Jackson's "King Kong" and Caesar in the "Planet of the Apes" reboot trilogy (he won awards for both). But, Serkis is more than just a motion capture suit maestro. He played Ulysses Klaue in "Avengers: Age of Ultron," "Black Panther," and "Marvel's What If...?," and achieved worldwide acclaim for embodying Gollum in the "Lord of the Rings" movies.

While Serkis won't voice Gollum in the upcoming "Lord of the Rings: Gollum" game, he still has quite a bit of video game experience. Of course, he did voice Gollum in older "Lord of the Rings" games, but Serkis also portrayed The Inquisitor in "Risen" and Guy Gisbourne in "Volume." However, Serkis' biggest video game contributions were collaborations with Ninja Theory. He performed motion capture for "Enslaved: Odyssey to the West," and he also co-wrote and co-directed "Heavenly Sword." Serkis also voiced Monkey and Pyramid in the former and King Bohan in the latter. Most recently, Serkis played Grand Master Vardan Kai in "Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters."

Kristen Bell - Kingdom Hearts, Assassin's Creed

Sometimes, all it takes is one breakout role for an actor to forever be associated with a character. Mark Hamill comes to mind thanks to his iconic work as The Joker in "Batman," but he's not the only one out there.

Kristen Bell is a popular actress with a ton of award-winning work. She was Ellie Bishop in "Heroes," the titular Veronica Mars in "Veronica Mars," and Eleanor Shellstrop in "The Good Place." However, most audiences, especially younger viewers, probably recognize Bell as the voice of Anna in "Frozen." And, breaking from Disney tradition, Bell also sang her own songs in the movies.

Since Frozen was so popular, Disney funded a slew of games starring its characters, and Bell played Anna in every one, including "Kingdom Hearts 3." Since Bell also played Cora in the movie "Astro Boy," she reprised the character in its tie-in video game. At first glance, Bell seemingly only reprises movie roles in games, but there is one popular exception. Bell voiced the Animus operator and secret Assassin Order agent Lucy Stillman in "Assassin's Creed" and its sequels.

Alan Tudyk - Halo, Injustice

Some actors have recognizable voices, and even though they can fill a scene with emotion, one can only hear the actor, not the character, when they speak. Other actors, however, have range and slip into a variety of roles without compromising a character's identity. Alan Tudyk is the latter.

Tudyk is essentially nerd/geek culture royalty. He got his big break as Hoban "Wash" Washburne in "Firefly," which was followed by Steve the Pirate in "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story." Unlike some celebrities, though, Tudyk is at home both playing characters live and voicing them in animated roles. He's voiced numerous award-winning characters, including King Candy in "Wreck-It Ralph" and K-2SO in "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story." Tudyk also has quite a few video game roles, as well.

A good chunk of Tudyk's video game gigs involved reprising movie roles, namely K-2SO. But, Tudyk also stepped out of his past portrayals for several video game voices. For instance, Tudyk played a random marine in "Halo 3" and was promoted to voicing Michael "Mickey" Crespo in "Halo 3: ODST." Two of Tudyk's recurring video game roles include Simon from the "Defense Grid" games and Green Arrow from "Injustice." Tudyk would go on to also voice Green Arrow in the "Young Justice" TV series.

Hayden Panettiere - Until Dawn, Kingdom Hearts

Hayden Panettiere has been around the entertainment block, mostly serving as side characters for the big names to bounce off of. She got her start early as Sarah Roberts in "One Life to Live" and eventually won an award for playing Dot in "A Bug's Life." However, most audiences probably recognize Panettiere as Juliette Barnes from "Nashville" and Claire Bennet from "Heroes." She also played Kirby Reed in "Scream 4," and will reprise that fan-favorite role in "Scream 6."

Like many actors who played movie characters, Panettiere voiced them again in video game tie-ins, but Panettiere also got to play quite a few unrelated characters, such as Tati in "The Mark of Kri." While Panettiere's most recognizable game role was Samantha in "Until Dawn" (since she also lent her face to the character), her biggest video game role was in "Kingdom Hearts," where she played Kairi and Xion in most entries. Unfortunately, Alyson Stoner replaced Panettiere in "Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days" and "Kingdom Hearts 3."

Martin Sheen - Mass Effect 2 and 3

Despite the sheer clout celebrities carry, you usually can count their video game roles on one hand. Even the movie titan Jack Black has only been in five video games. However, a truly talented celebrity always leaves their mark on what few video game roles they own.

Martin Sheen is one of the most recognizable actors out there. He has given life to characters such as Captain Benjamin Willard in "Apocalypse Now" (one of his favorite roles, despite experiencing a heart attack while filming), the award-winning President Josiah Bartlet in "The West Wing," and Robert Hanson in "Grace and Frankie." While Sheen has been in hundreds of TV shows and movies, he only has two notable voice acting roles to his name, one of which is Sly Sludge from "Captain Planet and the Planeteers."

Sheen's other noteworthy voice role was his sole video game gig: The Illusive Man in "Mass Effect 2" and "3." Many gamers agree that The Illusive Man is one of the best realized villains in video games, and while much of that came down to his dialogue and actions, Sheen brought all of those to life with his voice. Without Martin Sheen, the Illusive Man would probably be another footnote in video game villainy instead of a hallmark.

Nathan Fillion - Halo, Jade Empire, Destiny

"Firefly" not only essentially kickstarted Alan Tudyk's career, it ingratiated him in the hearts of sci-fi fans everywhere. But, he wasn't the only actor blessed by ... let's call it the "Firefly Effect."

Nathan Fillion is an acting chameleon who instills every character he plays with a loveable spark. Two of his earliest recognizable roles were Johnny Donnelly in "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place," and "the wrong Private Ryan" from "Saving Private Ryan." However, he didn't achieve true fame (or win any awards) until he played Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds in "Firefly." Since then, Fillion has portrayed myriad characters, including Spy Smasher in "Justice League Unlimited," Bill Pardy in "Slither," and Preston Northwest in "Gravity Falls." Fillion also has a slew of video game character roles to his name, and we don't just mean Nathan Drake in the excellent "Uncharted" fan film.

Fillion's first video game role was Gao the Lesser in "Jade Empire," quickly followed by Sargeant Reynolds in "Halo 3." After those gigs, Fillion found his niche playing the recurring Edward Buck in subsequent "Halo" titles. More importantly, though, Fillion took up the mantle of Cayde-6 in the "Destiny" franchise up until the character's untimely death in the "Forsaken" DLC, where Nolan North voiced his final moments.

Sean Bean - Civilization 6, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Sometimes, all it takes is a single line to solidify a character and their actor in the minds of audiences. That is especially true for Sean Bean

Anyone who has either seen "The Lord of the Rings" or has spent time on the internet should instantly recognize Bean as Boromir. However, there is more to Bean than saying "One does not simply walk into Mordor," even though Bean loved Boromir's death scene. He won several awards for his role as Eddard "Ned" Stark in the first season of "Game of Thrones," and Bean also played Joseph Wilford in "Snowpiercer," and Ulrich in "Black Death."

Unlike other "Lord of the Rings" actors, Bean didn't reprise his role of Boromir in tie-in games, but he still has plenty of video game experience. His first role was Martin Septim in "The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion," which was later followed by several guiding gigs. Anyone who has played "Papa Sangre II," "Kholat," or "Civilization VI" should recognize Bean as their respective narrators. "Hitman 2" and "3" fans should also identify Bean as Mark Faba, who no doubt died at their hands countless times. And, while not a video game role per se, Bean also voiced King Regis Lucis Caelum in the "Final Fantasy 15" tie-in movie "Kingsglaive."

Rami Malek - Until Dawn, Halo 2

Not every actor is instantly recognizable, but some, such as Rami Malek, fill audiences with an epiphany. Viewers might not know who he is by name, but once they see his face, they will instantly say, "Oh yeah, that guy!"

Malek hasn't been in as many shows and movies as other celebrities on this list, but he always left his mark. Malek started as Andy in one episode of "Gilmore Girls" and Ahkmenrah in "Night at the Museum," but he quickly made a name for himself. Malek has won a ton of awards, including a Primetime Emmy for his role as Elliot Alderson from "Mr. Robot," as well as an Oscar and a BAFTA for playing Freddie Mercury in "Bohemian Rhapsody." Malek also has some voice acting roles under his belt, including Tahno from "The Legend of Korra" and Flip McVicker in "BoJack Horseman."

Malek is probably best known for his role as Joshua in "Until Dawn," where he provided the character's voice and face. However, that wasn't his only video game gig. He also reprised Tahno for the "Legend of Korra" video game, and like many actors, Malek voiced random (and unnamed) NPCs in some games. In Malek's case, he played "additional characters" in "Halo 2."

Cara Delevigne - Grand Theft Auto V

Every celebrity needs to start somewhere, and just because someone premiers in one medium, doesn't mean they will stick to it. Johnny Young Bosch, for instance, earned a name for himself as a Power Ranger before he became a full-time voice actor in anime and video games. Cara Delevigne, meanwhile, was the opposite. She was Sergeant Laureline in "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets," June Moone/Enchantress in "Suicide Squad" (one of her award-winning roles), and Vignette Stonemoss in "Carnival Row." While Delevigne has primarily stuck to live action, that wasn't always true.

In an ironic twist, one of Delevigne's first acting roles was in "Grand Theft Auto 5" and "Grand Theft Auto Online." She doesn't voice a character players get to meet (or kill) but is instead the voice of Non-Stop-Pop FM. If players tune in to that in-game radio station, they will eventually hear Delevigne chime in and introduce herself as, well, Cara (and occasionally DJ Cara). Given Delevigne's recent successes, it's shame she hasn't revisited video game voice acting.

Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert - Outlaw Sports

Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert are two of the most famous comedians of all time. Carell has played countless comedic starring roles, including Michael Scott from "The Office" and Andy from "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," as well as more serious roles, like in "Foxcatcher." Meanwhile, Colbert made a name for himself hosting the award-winning "The Colbert Report" and "The Late Show." Both actors also have quite a few voice roles to call their own. Carell was Hammy in "Over the Hedge" and Gru in the "Despicable Me" series, and Colbert made audiences laugh as Phil Ken Sebben and Myron Reducto in "Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law."

Even though Carell and Colbert have a metric ton of television and film work between the two of them, their video game resumes are surprisingly small. Sure, Carell reprised his role as Gru for the "Despicable Me" tie-in game, but other than that, he's only voiced the commentators of "Outlaw Golf" and "Outlaw Volleyball." Colbert has even fewer video game roles to call his own, as he only voiced the commentator of "Outlaw Tennis." 

Recommended