Soon after video games became a mainstream form of entertainment, it was pretty much guaranteed that celebrities would get involved. Back in the 1980s, some celebs had their faces digitized for use in games. Once technology improved, it was only natural that they would start lending their voices to games as well.
However, it can be risky to bring a celebrity in to fill a major role in a video game - as many developers have found out the hard way. Their on-screen charisma doesn't always translate to voiceover work, and sometimes they just aren't very enthusiastic about the project. So as with all other ventures celebrities have found their way into, it can sometimes be great for both themselves and the game, and other times, both would've been better off without that partnership. Here are 10 celeb cameos that ruined Playstation games - and 10 that saved them.
Matthew Perry is a self-professed video game nerd. In fact, it's rumored that he got his role in Fallout: New Vegas because he shared his love for Fallout 3 on mainstream talk shows. Unfortunately, he sounds bored and lacks a personality in the game. It's like he hated every second of the voice acting.
Goldeneye 007 is one of the most beloved video games of all time - it set a new standard for games starring the super-spy. One of the few games that lived up to that standard was 007: Everything or Nothing, where Pierce Brosnan lends both his likeness and voice to Bond, making the game feel like a lost Bond movie - it even has an original theme song by pop star Mya.
Def Jam: Fight For NY was actually a very good game, and already had more than two dozen rappers and other people with legitimate ties to hip-hop culture - it made absolutely no sense to shoehorn Carmen Electra in there. She wasn't even needed to increase the level of sexiness of the game - Li'l Kim and Kimora Lee Simmons were already taking care of that.
The late, great Stan Lee, was sometimes referred to as the "King of Cameos." The Marvel Comics legend was popping up in movies, TV shows, and video games that were based on properties he helped to create. He showed up as the narrator of the Spider-Man game for PlayStation in 2000, which helped to convince people of its legitimacy after a string of sub-par Spidey games.
For Metal Gear Solid V, director Hideo Kojima decided to swap out actor David Hayter - who had voiced the main character since the late 90s - for actor Kiefer Sutherland. Sutherland is fine and all, and played the role decently enough... but after all that time, fans were used to Hayter, and no other voice was ever going to sound right.
These days, having a video game character that looks exactly like the real-life actor who is portraying them is nothing special. During the PlayStation 2 era, it was a pretty big deal. By Onimusha 3, the franchise's popularity was fading, so Capcom needed something to draw people in– and that something was getting the globally-recognized Jean Reno to "play" a character in the game.
It's difficult to enjoy Michael Jackson's appearance in Space Channel 5 Part 2 – actually, it's hard to enjoy his appearance in just about anything these days. Talk about a ruined legacy. But MJ's appearance in this game was bizarre at the time as well. In a game that introduced singing, Michael didn't do any singing - he just screamed his signature "Woo" and for some reason shouted "Bang!"
The main reason the Evil Dead franchise is a success is courtesy of actor Bruce Campbell's portrayal of Ash Williams. Just like the Evil Dead movies, the video game wouldn't be the same without him. In fact, 2001's Hail to the King was a mostly mediocre Resident Evil rip-off that was saved by delightfully fun dialogue by Campbell.
While Peter Dinklage was amazing as Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones, he's also known for one of the worst celebrity performances in recent memory. We are of course talking about his role as Ghost in Destiny - the player’s small robotic sidekick. All of Dinklage’s lines were delivered completely apathetic and he would be replaced by Nolan North in all content, including his original lines.
Keith David has become a powerful presence both on-screen and off thanks to his booming voice. After appearing in previous installments of the series, he showed up in Saints Row IV playing an exaggerated version of himself. A bit of self-referential humor went a long way in revitalizing the franchise. And you can tell that David had a ton of fun delivering his lines.
Mena Suvari took over the role of Aerith from Mandy Moore for this game. Her relationship with Cloud in Final Fantasy VII was one of the most fascinating in the game. In this game, the lines delivered by Suvari are a complete mess. Sometimes monotonous, sometimes with weird inflection, and sometimes with awkward pauses - it would probably be better not including her at all.
EA decided to make a new video game adaptation of one of the most beloved Bond movies, starring arguably the most beloved Bond – and so, 22 years after his last time playing Bond on screen, Sean Connery returned one last time to voice his most iconic character in a video game adaptation of From Russia With Love. And it's awesome!
David Spade in the role of Sparx the dragonfly is just a bland and mediocre performance. Spade was cast as the dragon’s sidekick when the Spyro series was re-branded back in 2006. While the character’s dialogue might scream “sassy comedic relief,” the actor’s sleepwalk performance certainly doesn’t. Really disappointing, and we expected more of Spade.
Previous attempts at a third Fallout game got canceled, the rights were picked up by Bethesda, which didn't go down well with hardcore fans. The first character you meet in the game happens to be your father, played by none other than Liam Neeson. His appearance made fans of the franchise give the game a chance and most ended up being pleasantly surprised.
This 2003 crime game that followed in Grand Theft Auto’s footsteps focused on a cop tracking a series of bombings. It’s a fairly bleak plot that is very unfortunately narrated by the protagonist’s friend, George, voiced by Christopher Walken. While others on this list turned in mediocre performances, Walken is over the top in his delivery - unfortunately, it's not a comedy game.
J.K. Simmons had his breakout roles in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy and Whiplash. While he has shown his acting range in softer roles, as Cave Johnson in Portal 2 he really taps into what has made him so popular - with an added dose of hysterical ranting. The founder of Aperture Science left behind voice recordings the player discovers throughout the game. Simmons’ eccentric and wild performance makes them incredibly entertaining.
Michael Biehn was given the chance to reprise a role that made him popular: Dwayne Hicks from the Aliens franchise. But while he was engaging on-screen, his performance in Aliens: Colonial Marines comes off as completely phoned in. Biehn won't argue with us on this one as he spoke out about the voiceover recording sessions - calling them “passionless.”
When Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories was released on PSP, it was the fifth GTA using the same basic GTA III framework - it was starting to feel stale. Rockstar decided to do something special to get people paying attention to this game, so they got musician Phil Collins to appear as himself both in an in-game concert and as a character that was part of the plot.
Now-defunct developer Hypnotix released a line of edgy sports games under the Outlaw name. The games featured fighting, strippers, ethnic stereotypes, and commentary full of crude humor. None other than Steve Carrell was the original Outlaw Golf's commentator, and his brilliant deadpan helped to sell otherwise bad jokes and references. His replacement, comedian Dave Attell, just wasn't anywhere near Carrell's level regarding joke delivery.
Perhaps the most beloved Ghostbusters property outside of the first movie, 2009’s Ghostbusters: The Video Game is thought of in many fan circles as the real Ghostbusters III. Its existence hinged entirely on the notoriously picky Bill Murray, who had long resisted doing a third Ghostbusters film, returning to reprise his role of Peter Venkman.
Sources: IGN, GameSpot, Gamesradar