As video games have gotten more and more ambitious with their stories and action, developers have started to turn to established Hollywood stars to give their games an added boost. But not every well-known actor is easy to spot by their voice alone – and sometimes, the events that put them in the game to begin with are hard to believe.
Here are Screen Rant’s 10 Actors You Didn’t Know Were in Video Games.
Michael Fassbender, Fable 3
The fantasy game series had turned to plenty of English film and TV stars for voices, but with Fable 3, they swung for the fences. Everyone knew the likes of John Cleese, Ben Kingsley, Simon Pegg, Stephen Fry… the list goes on and on. But long before he became a household name and Oscar-nominated actor, Michael Fassbender (X-Men: Days of Future Past) was brought on to voice ‘Logan,’ the game’s villain. He would soon launch to the top of the American box office playing Magneto in the X-Men universe – along with his Fable co-star, Nicholas Hoult.
Matthew Perry, Fallout: New Vegas
There’s nothing video game fans love more than finding out one of their favorite actors is a closet gamer. So when Friends star Matthew Perry was promoting his film 17 Again back in 2009, his love of gaming was a popular topic. One franchise rose above all others, with the actor claiming that that his love of open world RPG Fallout 3 had literally crippled him (apparently needing injections into his hand after it seized into a claw-like grasp). The developers at Bethesda took notice, and invited him to voice the character of ‘Benny,’ one of the antagonists of their upcoming spinoff, New Vegas. Who says being addicted to video games can’t take you places?
Haley Joel Osment, Kingdom Hearts
After the success of The Sixth Sense and Pay it Forward, actor Haley Joel Osment was an overnight sensation for his uncanny ability to “see dead people.” Unfortunately, as is usually the case for child actors, that level of fame didn’t last for his entire film career. But Osment has never faded from the memory of RPG fans. The actor was first called on to voice the hero of Kingdom Hearts, ‘Sora,’ in English versions of the game at the age of fourteen. He’s kept up the role ever since in nine games spanning more than a decade. He may not stay a teenager forever, but his voice can try.
Dennis Hopper & Billy Bob Thornton, Deadly Creatures
A Nintendo Wii game letting people play as a deadly scorpion or tarantula in a tale of buried treasure in the American deserts might sound odd, but the voice talents signed for Deadly Creatures is even more surprising. Dennis Hopper (Waterworld) and Billy Bob Thornton (Slingblade) starred as ‘George Struggs’ and ‘Wade,’ respectively – two humans in search of gold who wind up tangling with the game’s tiny heroes instead. Deadly Creatures ended up being a surprise success based on the actual gameplay, but it’s still not the usual storyline audiences expect from two Oscar-winning writers.
Susan Sarandon, Dishonored
It’s not every day that an Oscar winning actress accepts a tiny supporting role in a AAA video game, but when the makers of Dishonored needed a voice to bring the mysterious, ragged, and quietly sinister aristocrat ‘Granny Rags’ to life, one actress seemed the perfect choice: Susan Sarandon (Thelma & Louise). To their surprise, Sarandon actually took them up on their offer, since she respected the game’s choice of letting players complete the story campaign in a completely non-violent way. In the end, Sarandon brought the kind of chilling and unsettling (but undeniably entertaining) performance to the creepy quest-giver that only five Oscar nominations make possible.
Cara Delevingne, Grand Theft Auto V
Rockstar Games has called on dozens of Hollywood stars to flesh out the world of Grand Theft Auto, bringing in serious juggernauts to play most of the main heroes and villains in years past. But the real hidden hits lie in the DJs and ‘shock jocks’ of their in-game radio stations. The developers managed to catch one rising star early – or her voice, at least. Before fashion model Cara Delevingne was turning heads in Paper Towns or DC’s Suicide Squad movie, she was owning the airwaves in Grand Theft Auto 5, as the on-air host for ‘Non Stop Pop FM.’
Will Arnett, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
As the Call of Duty series has gotten more successful, A-level stars have been brought in to blur the line between video game and certified blockbuster war movie. But actor Will Arnett (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) was hooked ever since the first Modern Warfare – a fact he discussed while making the late night rounds. The developers of the hit shooter soon found out, and even though the sequel Modern Warfare 2 was too far along to give the Arrested Development star a major role in the campaign, he did get to lend his voice to a handful of in-game barks and quips, particularly in the game’s training sections.
Eliza Dushku, WET
This hack-and-slash title had all the potential to be a grindhouse hit with its ruthless and ultra-violent guns and swordplay combat, starring a ruthless mercenary ‘Rubi Malone.’ Actress Eliza Dushku was cast in the role, having plenty of experience in “wetwork” herself, performing as a deadly martial artist in TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse. The game’s Quentin Tarantino-esque style made it a hit with lots of players, but didn’t perform well enough financially, meaning a sequel was cancelled. Fans of the actress will have to stick with one game for now.
Steve Carell, Outlaw Golf
Who says golf games can’t be marketed as loud, offensive, or “not suitable for all ages”? In 2002, Outlaw Golf proved every sport could be an extreme or edgy one, injecting humor and double entendres into the gentleman’s game – especially when it came to the game’s commentator calling the action. Years before The Office and The 40 Year Old Virgin, comedian Steve Carell was giving play-by-play breakdowns of digital golf and insights into women golfers who worked as exotic dancers when not on the links, but gave up the job for the game’s sequel, moving onto bigger and better things.
John Goodman, RAGE
When the developers of the post-apocalyptic shooter RAGE finished designing ‘Dan Hagar,’ the first character players would meet when dropped into the game’s world, they realized that his glasses, hunting vest and shorts meant he looked an awful lot like the character ‘Walter Sobchak’ in the movie The Big Lebowski. Figuring they might as well trust their inspirations, they sought actor John Goodman out to see if he would want to play the role all over again. Goodman was up for the job, and wound up giving a booming voice to the no-nonsense father figure ushering players into their world.
So what do you think of our list? Did we miss any of your favorite celebrity voices in popular video games? Let us know in our comment section and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos like this one.