Sunday, January 24, 2010

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

While playing Assassin's Creed 2 the other day, I knocked a box of books out of a scholar's hands as I pushed past him, only to be berated by a very familiar voice. An hour or so later, after finding one of the hidden glyphs and unlocking one of Subject 16's data entries, I immediately recognised the voice providing the voiceover.

Cam Clarke (sometimes credited as James Flinders) has to be one of the most prolific voice actors in videogames. IMDB credits him with 196 voice acting roles in cartoons and games, and I'm fairly sure the list isn't complete, either.

If you're somewhere around my age, you would probably first heard his voice in various animated series - he played Max Sterling in Robotech I, Lancer in Robotech III, Leonardo in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Die Fledermaus in The Tick, and many, many others, and you've probably heard him enough to allow you to recognise his voice quite easily.

On the games side, He's been in just about every Bioware RPG ever released, along with providing voices for most MMOs on the market. He voiced Liquid Snake in Metal Gear Solid, Hercules in God of War II, Thor in Marvel Ultimate Alliance, but a lot of the time he voices relatively unimportant background characters and NPCs.

The problem is that he has such a distinctive voice, and one that I've heard so many times, that I actually find he breaks the ambience of whatever game he's in a little bit. I actually get pulled out of whatever setting the game is supposed to be in and think "oh, it's Cam Clarke again". It sounds harsh, because I have certainly enjoyed previous things he's done, but I'd actually rather developers of newer games didn't use him.

1 comment:

  1. In World of Warcraft: Rise of the Lich King, there's a looooong story arc before you and 9 of your friends get to fight Malygos, the legendary Blue Dragon, Guardian Aspect of all magic.

    Only to find out it's actually Leonardo.
    What a let down. (I couldn't even punctuate that last sentence with an exclamation mark. That's how deflating the experience was.)