Christopher Judge on Acting in GamesReported by NCZ on Tuesday, May 1st 2018
Christopher Judge was interviewed by BBC's Newsbeat regarding his role as Kratos in the new God of War game, a role which he took over from TC Carson. The game has received wide critical acclaim for the depth and pathos of its story, characterization, and acting.
When Judge was emailed the script, he had no idea it was from a game.
"I'm sure my agents purposefully didn't tell me it was for a game because I'd been staunchly against doing them in the past. I had to act out the audition. That's something you don't have to do for theatrical auditions, so that was my first clue. The material was so good though I didn't care, and after a further call back I was told it was for a game but I was fine with it because it didn't seem to be written like that. Then I was even called to do a chemistry test [with child actor Sunny Suljic, Atreus] and I called my agent and said 'Are you sure this is for a game?'"
The rise of full-bodied motion capture performances is attributed to the greater perception screen and stage actors have of games, and is why they have more recently been finding prominence in major game roles. Judge cites Kevin Spacey's performance in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare as a breaking point. Kiefer Sutherland taking over the role of Big Boss in Metal Gear Solid V took a lot of the game community by surprise, and Kojima's next project, Death Stranding, commands the star power of Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, and even film director Guillermo del Toro.
However, professional voice actors themselves have also been benefiting from the increasing communal and critical prominence of games. Other motion capture performances over the years such as Nolan North in Uncharted, Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson in The Last of Us, Laura Bailey in Uncharted and inFamous, have also gone a long way toward elevating voice actors themselves into superstars. The SAG-AFTRA acting strike in 2017 made national news and major headlines, gaining a lot of awareness toward the conditions that many voice actors face in games. Conventions and Twitter have also gone a long way toward providing a following to many big names - vehicles such as Critical Role (created by and starring Matthew Mercer with several other voice actors) have even provided them with fanbases and name value beyond their voice acting alone.
Judge summarized the greater respect actors are finding for games as follows.
"It used to be where you went when your career was over in front of camera. However the notion that games are where old actors go to die was slowly starting to dissipate because Kevin Spacey had just done a lead in a game. Now every actor I know is searching for a lead role in a game so that's how far the industry has come."
"Games are not just about the gameplay any more, but about the stories. There are wonderful tales to be told in this medium, and it truly is just another form to exercise your craft."