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The Blossoming Relationship Between Gaming & A-List Actors

5th July 2019 by CH

Read time: 7 mins

Decades ago, convincing anybody that video games would be just as immersive and visually striking as the biggest budget Hollywood blockbusters would have been hard.

Nowadays, as a direct result of advancements in graphics technology and processing speed, we don’t see much of a difference between how games and films look.

The biggest actors in the world have always been tempted to flirt with the gaming industry but in the last decade or so, we’ve seen even more of this. In the past, we’ve heard voice appearances from actors like Samuel L. Jackson as Officer Frank Tenpenny in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, or Kiefer Sutherland’s portrayal of the iconic Snake in Metal Gear Solid V.

Source: https://www.siliconera.com/2013/06/06/kiefer-sutherland-playing-snake-in-metal-gear-solid-v-the-phantom-pain/ 

But we’re now recognising A-listers on screen instead of just hearing their voices.

Game developer Hideo Kojima has just released another trailer for his brand-new project Death Stranding. While most people are interested in how Kojima seems to have out-Kojima’d himself, what’s interesting is the very recognisable faces in the trailer; the game features The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus, and classic baddie Mads Mikkelsen.

Source: https://metro.co.uk/2019/02/06/norman-reedus-talks-hideo-kojimas-crazy-complicated-death-stranding-8453935/

But why are actors becoming more involved in performing in video games?

It’s no secret that the film industry has at times relied on ‘star power’ to sell their films. More often than not, huge chunks of a blockbuster’s multi-million budget was to pay for A-list names to draw audiences to the cinema. For example, you would be less inclined to see one of the Mission Impossible films if it didn’t have Tom Cruise in it, or a Pirates of the Caribbean film if it didn’t involve Johnny Depp.

So, it makes sense for the gaming industry to use this star power principle, especially given the huge advancements in motion-capture technology.

Most recently, Shawn Ashmore has appeared in Quantum Break. Willem Dafoe and Ellen Page in Beyond: Two Souls. Kevin Spacey, Kit Harrington and Conor McGregor in two recent Call of Duty titles. As technology advances more and more in the future, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see even more huge acting names in video games.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkYg1Nw_mBg

Similarly, the biggest Hollywood films have even borrowed some of the technology that gaming mastered, most notably, a film series close to all gamers’ hearts, Marvel’s Infinity Saga. In particular, Josh Brolin’s portrayal of Thanos featured similar facial recognition and motion-capture technology that Sutherland’s Snake used, amongst others.

Source: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/behind-screen/how-vfx-teams-brought-josh-brolins-thanos-life-infinity-war-1178231

Perhaps the main reason for this surge in A-listers is the standard of story that has been developing for games. Gone are the days of Space Invaders or Tetris (we love them, by the way), as they make way for jaw-dropping storylines such as Metal Gear Solid, The Last of Us, God of War, and many more.

At the recent Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) hosted in LA, Xbox and Microsoft announced their newest projects and gave updates on ones in development. Most notably, Flight Simulator & Minecraft Dungeons got nice trailers, and a spine-tingling cinematic trailer for the latest instalment in the Halo franchise, Infinite. The hotly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 was also given an official release date, but along with announcing the new information on-stage in LA, Keanu Reeves was given a fresh, Cyberpunk look as an in-game character.

Source: https://www.polygon.com/e3/2019/6/9/18658993/cyberpunk-2077-keanu-reeves-johnny-silverhand-e3-2019 

Reeves, a popular figure in pop culture because of John Wick 3, becomes the latest A-list actor to star in a video game; an ever-growing list that will only promise to get bigger, as long as video games keep producing the compelling storylines that they’re becoming notorious for.

We love seeing recognisable faces in games because it shows that the gaming industry is growing, and that’s quite exciting.

But who will we see next and who do you want to see in your favourite upcoming video games?

Source for the main image: https://time.com/4657658/keanu-reeve-john-wick-chapter-2/

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