Video games have come a very long way over the last few decades. The characters on screen have evolved from small two-dimensional bundles of pixels that loosely resemble real world objects and people, to more realistic three-dimensional renderings and, finally, to where we find ourselves today. Most big blockbuster game franchises now make use of motion capture technology to record an actor’s movements. This allows developers to include the most realistic movement possible in their characters. This, among other innovations, has made the video games industry fertile ground for actors seeking a new and unique challenge. Below are just some of the reasons that both up and coming, as well as established, actors should consider looking for work within the video games industry.
2013’s Beyond: Two Souls, produced by David Cage’s studio, Quantic Dream, marked the third game from the renowned French producer. Cage’s games blur the lines between a video game and a movie, becoming more like interactive stories than traditional games. Beyond also showed what the studio was capable of with an almost limitless bank account and both Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe starred in leading roles.
Not only were their voices and physical movements recorded to be used for their in-game characters but the latest 3D modeling technology was employed in order to ensure that their in-game models resembled the actors physically. The evolution of these technologies has been driven simultaneously by the video game and film industries. The technology used in blockbuster movies is a more evolved and refined version of what video game developers are working with. A film can be pre-rendered and then played back, whereas a video game must be rendered on the fly in response to player input. However, as the power of games consoles increases, the gap between the two is closing.
A Serious Career Path
Voice acting has gained popularity as a career option for many aspiring actors and this has been driven in large part by the success of the video games industry. While many big film studios still prefer to cast well-known actors with recognizable voices for animated features, an increasing number of big name actors are becoming involved with video games. As such, an increasing number of television and film producers, such as Michael David Palance, who are always on the lookout for new talent, is steering new talent towards video games and voice acting as an excellent stepping stone to a successful career.
Join Other Big-Name Stars
Many people aren’t aware of just how many of their favorite Hollywood actors are working on video games on the side. Elijah Wood voiced the eponymous purple dragon in the Spyro The Dragon series, alongside Gary Oldman and David Spade. Other actors with video game credits include Christopher Walken (True Crime: Streets of LA), Mark Hamill (The Batman: Arkham series), and Liam Neeson (Fallout 3). Should you choose to pursue video game work as part of your acting career, you will be in good company.
Videogames are playing an increasingly important role in the world of cinema, from providing the inspiration for blockbuster films to giving actors a chance to reach new audiences and demographics.