Bungie's Destiny has been a divisive game since its launch for a variety of reasons; its random loot generator and leveling system chief among them. But during Destiny's first year, the game's developers have generally been mindful of players' complaints and have tried to respond in ways that help the ever-growing community continue to enjoy playing through the game. (Though, those fixes themselves are at times controversial, proving Bungie still very much is on a learning curve with Destiny.)
The next major chapter of Destiny kicks off this fall with the release of The Taken King, Destiny's largest batch of new content to date. Ahead of its release, the new expansion has already earned the ire of some gamers over the pricing of the forthcoming DLC, and surely once The Taken King launches it'll have its own set of bugs in need of a hotfix (as has sadly become the trend among gaming's most anticipated properties). However, what won't be included in The Taken King is Peter Dinklage's oft-ridiculed performance as every Guardian's stalwart companion, Ghost.
Replacing Dinklage as the voice of Ghost - a hovering A.I. who provides players with direction as well in game commentary and story - is Nolan North, an actor most are familiar with as Nathan Drake in the Uncharted series. North is a prolific voice actor, lending his talents to a variety of video games, most notably franchises like Assassin's Creed, Batman: Arkham, Call of Duty, the LEGO games--the list goes on.
When speaking with Game Informer (whose September issue's cover story is all about The Taken King), North said of the role:
"I was really excited to do this role. You want to give him as much personality as the world will allow, without making it unbelievable. There’s a fine line to walk there, and I think we found it."
Some fans will likely laugh when they hear North say he's interested in giving Ghost "as much personality as the world will allow," as Dinklage's performance came across as if he had been given the complete opposite direction. Then again, to his credit the script is just as equally to blame for Dinklage's poor showing. As is Dinklage's inexperience as a voice actor, something perhaps the developers should have considered instead of simply looking to book a big name for their hit video game.
Going forward, North will be providing all of Ghost's dialogue, something he'd like to do for years to come, adding that he hopes "we can evolve Ghost as we move forward over the years." But that's not all, because Bungie is also having North re-record all of Ghost's lines from the previous Destiny game (Ghost was already noticeably absent as a character from both The Dark Below and House of Wolves), effectively erasing Dinklage from the game entirely.
Destiny's creative director, Luke Smith explains:
"We wanted Nolan North’s version of the Ghost to wake you up at the start of the journey at level one and follow you all the way to level forty."
So long, Dinklebot. We hardly knew you. And that's probably for the better. If there's anything at all to learn from this latest Destiny hiccup (which frankly, this new casting promises to do a fine job of fixing), it's that not every actor can automatically be a successful voice actor. Recording voice work - and particularly for video games - is a grueling job, often with the actor in a booth, alone, reciting the same lines over and over again, each time with the same amount of energy and inflection.
For his part, Dinklage has proven himself a talented actor on screen - where he has other actors to play off of and likely smarter direction and scripts - but North is clearly far more experienced when it comes to bringing life to video game characters - and doing so to great acclaim. You can let us know how you feel about Nolan North replacing Peter Dinklage as Ghost in Destiny, in the comment section below.
Destiny: The Taken King will be released on September 15, 2015.