Gone are the days when video games were just a niche in the entertainment industry. In fact, it has even outgained more than the music and the film industry combined these past few years. That only means video games have blown up in popularity as is evident in the number of big triple-A Hollywood stars having roles in them.
Moreover, some Hollywood celebrities (like a certain someone whose surname rhymes with "leaves") recognize the gaming industry as a reputable medium, too. That or the games' publisher simply has a buttload of marketing moolah to burn. Either way, everybody wins; we get memorable characters with great acting and the game gets more exposure. So, without further ado, here are 10 of those celebrities who poured their talent (and looks) to video games.
10 KEANU REEVES IN CYBERPUNK 2077
Yes, we're aware that the game's not out yet. However, we don't have the guts (or the lack of emotions) to exclude Keanu Reeves in our list. Keanu's surprise appearance as Johnny Silverhand in the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 is nothing short of breathtaking. We're already aware that the game would be phenomenal. It's just that Keanu actually being in it sealed the deal.
It gets better even better, our Lord and savior Keanu himself, declared that video games don't need legitimizing especially with celebrities... not that we mind his role in the upcoming game. Regardless, his character in Cyberpunk 2077 is one for the books and will surely go down as some of the most memorable moments in the history of gaming.
9 JIMMY KIMMEL IN CALL OF DUTY BLACK OPS 2
Talkshow hosts have this habit of being everywhere in the entertainment industry (just look at Jimmy Fallon). Jimmy Kimmel is no exception. He appears as himself (presumably) in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. A digital version of himself can be seen interviewing the character Chloe Lynch on what appears to be a future version of Jimmy Kimmel Live!.
Oddly enough, the displayed date on the digital version of the show is 2025. Even more bizarre is the fact that Kimmel seemed much younger there than he is today. Hence, we can assume he is about to discover the secrets of immortality on or before 2025 if Black Ops 2's predictions are anything to go by.
8 JEFF GOLDBLUM IN CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS 3
Well, what do you know? Life does find a way. At least it did find a way for Jeff Goldblum to appear in a Call of Duty game. The famed meme-able actor had a digital appearance in Call of Duty: Black Ops III. Well, actually, he appears in the co-op survival zombie mode of the game. Goldblum plays as a stage magician named Nero Blackstone alongside stars like Ron Perlman, Neal McDonough, and Heather Graham.
He's not your typical magician, though. Blackstone's quite mediocre and was even voted as the "Worst Magician of the Year." Even so, Goldblum lends much charisma and oddity to the role. He not only voiced Blackstone but also did the motion capture work for him. This was in addition to lending his appearance.
7 MIKE TYSON IN MIKE TYSON'S PUNCH-OUT!!
Here we go again, another Hollywood celebrity who plays as himself in a video game. Iron Mike Tython, thorry, Tyson, has a notable appearance in the game Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!. Yes, the game has his name. Still, he only appears as the final boss — and it's probably for the best. Mike Tyson in the game has proven to be as formidable as his real-life counterpart.
Being the final boss in his own game, defeating him is notoriously difficult. The game boss Mike Tyson appears to be a giant during the fight (or it could be that your character is a dwarf). Even if he only appears as a mere 16-bit pixelated entity, the game will make you know what it feels like to be in the ring with Tyson.
6 SAMUEL JACKSON IN GRAND THEFT AUTO: SAN ANDREAS
Samuel Jackson is one of those Hollywood celebrities whose voice is irreplaceable. If Morgan Freeman was the irreplaceable voice of God, then Samuel Jackson is the irreplaceable voice of the devil. That's exactly what he is in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Jackson voices police officer Frank Tenpenny — a corrupt cop who works with the criminal underground.
Frank Tenpenny basically owns half of Los Santos. He serves as one of the main antagonists in the game and always goes out of his way to make CJ's (your character) life a living hell. Thankfully, you get to kill him.
5 LIAM NEESON IN FALLOUT 3
When you've been a Jedi, a Greek God, Batman's mentor, a hitman, and a businessman who saved countless Jews, anything is possible. That's why no one batted an eye when it was Liam Neeson himself who played as your father in Fallout 3. In fact, his voice as James in Fallout 3 is the very first thing you hear, as in, in the character creation screen — seemingly as a testament to Neeson's omnipotence.
The whole game's plot also involves his character. Since he is your father, you have to chase him around the irradiated mutant and bandit-ridden wasteland. Oh, and you also need to save the world in the process, or rather, let Liam Neeson do the saving for you. Because that's what happens in the game; you just watch as the character voiced by Liam Neeson gives clean and free water for everyone like a digital Jesus.
4 KIEFER SUTHERLAND IN METAL GEAR SOLID V
Replacing David Hayter with Kiefer Sutherland as Big Boss is one of the most dramatic changes ever for the Metal Gear Solid franchise. However, it was for the best (at least according to Hideo Kojima, the franchise creator). Sutherland provided a more morose and damaged psyche to the once heroic Naked Snake/Big Boss.
Granted, Sutherland doesn't actually portray Snake, but his functioning double or clone, Venom Snake. It's convoluted but that's Kojima for you. In any case, Sutherland's performance as Venom Snake is haunting. It's hard to imagine David Hayter being able to give the character the same or even similar demeanor.
3 GINA CARANO IN RED ALERT 3
The Red Alert games are no stranger to sexy fan service and Red Alert 3 spares no expense in this. Each faction has their own one or two provocatively-dressed women to distract players from the campy humor and atmosphere of the game. Among those women, however, is a former UFC fighter in the women's division who is now a Hollywood celebrity, namely Gina Carano.
Carano plays the Soviet black ops commando named Natasha Volkova. Natasha is also a skilled sniper, hence Carano's holding a jacked up Dragunov sniper rifle along with the ridiculous outfit that is totally not viable in any form of warfare.
2 MARTIN SHEEN IN MASS EFFECT 2 & 3
Mass Effect 2 was one of the best roleplaying games (RPG) ever and the Illusive Man lends much to that. His mysterious motivations as the head of the enigmatic space faction Cerberus makes him a worthy opponent to the straightforward Commander Shepard. Of course, the Illusive Man would only be half as riveting if not for the actor who played him, Martin Sheen.
As someone who has appeared in timeless transcendent films such as Apocalypse Now, Martin Sheen being in a video game is quite an honor. Moreover, his portrayal of the Illusive Man made huge impressions even with just a few lines of dialogue. Thankfully, he reprised his role in Mass Effect 3.
1 MARK HAMILL In BATMAN: ARKHAM SERIES
The perfect Joker doesn't exist unless it is Mark Hamill who portrays the madman. Hamill not only gave Joker the ideal voice and laugh but also some of his mannerisms and reactions to Batman. Out of all the Jokers, Hamill's has the most iconic laughter. The caveat is that Hamill's Joker is hard to translate or portray in real-life. The closest we had with the same energy was Jack Nicholson's, but that's a topic for another time.
Luckily, three out of four Batman: Arkham games had their 3D and highly-detailed Joker(s) voiced and acted by Hamill. They were the closest thing we could have to a live-action Joker with Hamill's voice.
Think more breathtaking Hollywood celebrities should be added to this list? Feel free to discuss in the comments.