Eidos Confirms New Lead Voice Actor For Thief

| 3 Apr 2013 16:15

Eidos Montreal says the voice actor portraying Garrett in the Thief reboot needs to be able to perform his own stunts.

The Thief trailer released on April 1 looked not entirely bad but the absence of Stephen Russell, the man who so effectively portrayed the lead character of Garrett in the first three games, made fans of the franchise somewhat less than happy. And now, despite hope that the voice in the trailer was just a placeholder, Eidos Montreal has confirmed that Russell is in fact out.

Russell was considered "quite heavily" and was actually brought in for some early voice recordings, but the studio eventually decided to record voice and movement at the same time with a "full performance capture technique," and that left the veteran voice actor out in the cold.

"The actor playing Garrett needed to be able to perform his own stunts," Audio Director Jean-Christophe Verbert explained. "Garrett's a really athletic guy. We could have pasted Stephen's voice on top of the actions and stunts of someone else, but this wouldn't appear natural. It really wouldn't make any sense to capture the full performance for our other characters, but not for our star."

"We're absolutely huge fans of Stephen's work on the classic Thief games. But when it came down to it, we ultimately realized that holding onto Steven as the voice of Garrett just for the sake of our nostalgia would be like wanting to cast Sean Connery again in the new 007 movies," Narrative Director Steven Gallagher added. "It's a nice thought, but honestly, it wouldn't make sense for anything else other than nostalgia."

It's arguable that nostalgia is the entire basis for making Thief 4 - it's a new game in a 15-year-old franchise, after all - but if you wanted to be argumentative you could simply point out the rather large body of work that already exists in which professional voice acting is effectively laid over animated characters, or ask why it's even relevant in what is, as far as I know, a first-person game. That's not to dismiss Eidos' explanation outright, but it is a tricky position to argue; regardless of what you think of it, however, the bottom line is that Russell is out, new guy is in and, aside from slapping your name on the inevitable petition, there's not a thing you can do about it.

Source: Eidos Montreal

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My problem here is I don't think anyone stupid enough to believe you need a voice actor for a video game who can do their own stunts is intellectually capable of producing a quality product.

TheKasp:
I frankly don't give a fuck. When I think 'Thief' I don't remember a particular voice or the story.

I remember great leveldesign and gameplay. I remember how I felt when I discovered how much awareness the AI had and how I could play with it. I remember how I searched the levels for every bit of loot for the best score. And then I remember that in most parts Thief 2 is still uncontested by modern stealth'em ups (the closest to it was Dishonored due to great leveldesign but AI hasn't improved in any shape or form since Thief 2 in stealth games so yeah...).

If they manage to deliver a game with great stealth and leveldesign I could fight the Justice League riding on magical ponies to war.

Seeing how Garrett was one of the most charismatic characters in gaming with an amazingly snarky and sarcastic voice, I beg to differ. This is just like the Solid Snake fiasco, or the Sam Fisher voice replacement. It's stupid and unnecessary and is only going to alienate fans of the game while the new players wouldn't see the difference.

Honestly, you're the first person I've seen that has played through the classic Thief games (I am assuming.) and does not give one single bit of fuck about the character.

I take issue with the whole dropping a bomb and jumping out of the window thing.

Would have been far better to have Garrett dodge the attacks of the guard, put him into a sleeper hold or drug him then put him into a chair nearby before creeping out of the house. Then have someone stumble across the guard and accuse him of sleeping on the job...again (for slight comedic effect.) Whilst the guard pleads innocent and claims to have been attacked by an intruder which the person who found him refuses to believe, track out to Garrett on the roof with the sound of the guard being insulted fading out into the title as the guard says something like "I'm telling you it was a thief!" Cue Garrett's smile, fade to black.

And to Garrett the perfect heist is a way of life? That doesn't even make sense given the previous comments in the voice over.

RJ Dalton:
I was fine up until that stupid chase and jump out the window bit. Thief was about making sure nobody knew you were there, getting in and out as quietly as possible. And the fact that they have Garret doing stunts bothers the shit out of me. Garret was not a stunt man. Stunts are how you show off and Garret was not a show off.

This.

When I play a Thief game, the intention is to get in, sneak about without alerting anyone, get out without leaving a trace. It's slow paced, tense, patient. Many people might find that boring, which is why there aren't a lot of really great stealth games these days, but it is why Thief has always been the master of the genre. Combat was always clunky, difficult, unrewarding and ultimately useless, because Garret was not a combatant, he's a thief. He doesn't need to fight, because he's a ghost who nobody ever sees or hears or even knows he's there.

If they start focusing on combat and fast paced action scenes with stupid stunts in this new ame, then it's not a Thief game. In fact I'm gona go ahead and call fanon discontinuity right now just in case, same as I did with DMC2 and DMC-Not-5.

I don't even care about the change of voice actor much, though the original guy was awesome. If they're going to make the game more action and combat based then I'm out, straight off.

I frankly don't give a fuck. When I think 'Thief' I don't remember a particular voice or the story.

I remember great leveldesign and gameplay. I remember how I felt when I discovered how much awareness the AI had and how I could play with it. I remember how I searched the levels for every bit of loot for the best score. And then I remember that in most parts Thief 2 is still uncontested by modern stealth'em ups (the closest to it was Dishonored due to great leveldesign but AI hasn't improved in any shape or form since Thief 2 in stealth games so yeah...).

If they manage to deliver a game with great stealth and leveldesign I could fight the Justice League riding on magical ponies to war.

Ishigami:
So it was no random act. They brought him in and tested how it would turn out and in the end they decided against him because it did not match up with how they would imagine it.
Fair enough I say.

Yeah, older guys can't into gymnastics. Who would have thought?

Seriously, we are in a time in gaming where you can be TOO FAT AND TOO OLD TO TALK. It's not that his voice changed or he didn't want to do it, they rejected it because they want to turn Thief into Assassin's creed and wanted the VA to be recorded while doing pull ups. It does not matter that Thief was never about acrobatics, it's part of their extremely deluded vision.

Also, they decided to announce this before showing any pre-rendered gameplay that won't look anything like the final product AND after announcing that they were going to turn Garrett into an emo BDSM ninja. Man, PR must be in a total coma.

Making a game where stealth is your only option and where manipulating the environment to create stealth is the theme of your entire arsenal, would be absolutely suicidal for a triple-A game in a market where CoD reigns supreme. This is indie game territory now, aimed at a very specific audience who don't start foaming at the mouth because they have to wait 2 minutes to knock out a guard at an optimal spot of his patrol route, but in fact enjoy it.

Therefore, I am completely uninterested in this game, and voice acting is not even close to the biggest issue here. Of course, I can't definitely say that I won't be pleasantly surprised. I might. But most likely, I won't. In order for me to buy a Thief game, it has to be a Thief game. Don't sell me the name if you can't sell me the game. If I want to play Dishonored 2, then I will wait for Dishonored 2.

DeadlyYellow:

2fish:
self censoring?

I'm one of those people that took the "It'll bring more than just stealth" statement to mean more forcibly action-oriented. In this day and age probably means at least cutscene takedowns, though likely not to the absurd levels of FC3. I am curious as to how they're going to explain his eye this time.

Likely there will also be a forced combat fight at some point, maybe to an outsourced boss.

is the boss at least modable to look like randy savage? I know what you mean and I do agree with the many who have pointed out we are too far out to get really pissy. Thus I shall simmer at kinda pissy.

2fish:
I have not played tomb raider but the other two did have stealth but it was not thief. The focus was aim at stealth if you want and action if you mess up. I am not sure there is a big enough audience to make a pure thief game. I mean the fact that they have removed many factions makes me think they don't feel that they can sell a classic thief game.

A good game is possible but will how will it measure as a thief game or will it be like dishonored with more stealing?

I'm one of those people that took the "It'll bring more than just stealth" statement to mean more forcibly action-oriented. In this day and age probably means at least cutscene takedowns, though likely not to the absurd levels of FC3. I am curious as to how they're going to explain his eye this time.

Likely there will also be a forced combat fight at some point, maybe to an outsourced boss.

"but you can not black list a game without information on the product its self"

Of course I can!

And I have information about this game. Not a lot, but enough to know that it annoys the crap out of me. Also, I like deducing. It has worked in the past, it will work again.

dakkster:

Programmed_For_Damage:
I call bullshit on this, it all boils down to economics. They didn't want to pay two separate people, one for the mo-cap and one for the voice acting. If they could pay one bloke to do both they save money.

I'm really disappointed, the same way I am about Splinter Cell: Blacklist. It certainly doesn't "wreck" the game but it makes me less enthusiastic about it.

No, it doesn't wreck the game, but it's just about the biggest red flag we can get with minimal information. Looking at Splinter Cell, that game has been wrecked and that's for a bunch of reasons. New actor is just one of them, but it's symptomatic of the watering-down of the game to cater to a broader audience. Sam Fisher isn't supposed to call down airstrikes on the fly for crying out loud! That game is wrecked and it doesn't matter if they tack on some kind of challenge mode. He's not supposed to blow shit up regardless.

wolf thing:
Christ everyone really jumping the gun on this one, "Ill by it at sale price", "i wont buy it at all", "there no stealth". how the fuck do you know, you dont you fucking dont, no on does! there has been no footage from the game besids this trailer and your acting like you have some future knowledge. grow the fuck up, i get it you like the old actor i like him too he was cool but this is a new fucking game, let them do what they think is right and well see when it come out. it could be shit or it could be great we dont know we have seen nothing of it yet, so lets wait.

How about using your brain and your ability to deduce? No, we don't know a lot about Thief in particular, but we know quite a lot about other game franchises and how they have been exploited in recent years, watering down gameplay and compromising for the most inane reasons in a very bad way. Ask yourself this: Why would a Thief game need an actor that does motion capture stunts? Compare that to what's happening to Splinter Cell: Blacklist and other examples. Deduce. It's not that hard.

looking at trends in game is a way determining other games will go sure, but you can not black list a game without information on the product its self, looking at other games which have at best streamed lined there approach at worst water them done is not a good enough way of critisising a game which has little to no information released on it. you can call it "deduction", but all the facts must be considered on judging the game, what facts you ask? there are little. as i have said we know nothing about the game, so there is no facts beyond the removal of the previews actor, which does not make this game bad or watered down. they want an actor who can do stunts for momcap, why would they need one? well Garrett is a thief and would have good athletic skills, he can climes and show controlled skilled movement in the older games, so if they wanted to mocap an actor it would be a logical choices to keep the character movmnet and actor speech alined well. as for the mocap it self there are many reason, none of which you state, they may do canned animation which i assume you mean but we dont know for sure because we have next to no information on the game, motion capture is offten used for cinematics which they will most likely use, there are too may varible to consider many of which do not lead to a water down exsperance. you are merely grabing for example of other game to justify you nee jerk reaction, you have good reason to worry because the watering down of game is a big deal, but acting like children when you know nothing about the product is a poor way of going about things.

So it was no random act. They brought him in and tested how it would turn out and in the end they decided against him because it did not match up with how they would imagine it.
Fair enough I say.

dakkster:

Programmed_For_Damage:
I call bullshit on this, it all boils down to economics. They didn't want to pay two separate people, one for the mo-cap and one for the voice acting. If they could pay one bloke to do both they save money.

I'm really disappointed, the same way I am about Splinter Cell: Blacklist. It certainly doesn't "wreck" the game but it makes me less enthusiastic about it.

No, it doesn't wreck the game, but it's just about the biggest red flag we can get with minimal information. Looking at Splinter Cell, that game has been wrecked and that's for a bunch of reasons. New actor is just one of them, but it's symptomatic of the watering-down of the game to cater to a broader audience. Sam Fisher isn't supposed to call down airstrikes on the fly for crying out loud! That game is wrecked and it doesn't matter if they tack on some kind of challenge mode. He's not supposed to blow shit up regardless.

Urgh, I'd lost interest and stopped reading about Blacklist a while back and what you just mentioned there has disturbed me even more.

Nice Rollins avatar BTW.

Programmed_For_Damage:
I call bullshit on this, it all boils down to economics. They didn't want to pay two separate people, one for the mo-cap and one for the voice acting. If they could pay one bloke to do both they save money.

I'm really disappointed, the same way I am about Splinter Cell: Blacklist. It certainly doesn't "wreck" the game but it makes me less enthusiastic about it.

No, it doesn't wreck the game, but it's just about the biggest red flag we can get with minimal information. Looking at Splinter Cell, that game has been wrecked and that's for a bunch of reasons. New actor is just one of them, but it's symptomatic of the watering-down of the game to cater to a broader audience. Sam Fisher isn't supposed to call down airstrikes on the fly for crying out loud! That game is wrecked and it doesn't matter if they tack on some kind of challenge mode. He's not supposed to blow shit up regardless.

wolf thing:
Christ everyone really jumping the gun on this one, "Ill by it at sale price", "i wont buy it at all", "there no stealth". how the fuck do you know, you dont you fucking dont, no on does! there has been no footage from the game besids this trailer and your acting like you have some future knowledge. grow the fuck up, i get it you like the old actor i like him too he was cool but this is a new fucking game, let them do what they think is right and well see when it come out. it could be shit or it could be great we dont know we have seen nothing of it yet, so lets wait.

How about using your brain and your ability to deduce? No, we don't know a lot about Thief in particular, but we know quite a lot about other game franchises and how they have been exploited in recent years, watering down gameplay and compromising for the most inane reasons in a very bad way. Ask yourself this: Why would a Thief game need an actor that does motion capture stunts? Compare that to what's happening to Splinter Cell: Blacklist and other examples. Deduce. It's not that hard.

"We found that there was a disconnect that we couldn't ignore between the concepted character and Stephen's voice today.

Emphasis mine.

I'm just going to keep telling myself that Russel couldn't do the voice anyway and their decision to change it was smart and economical and, in the end, for the best. I don't care if it's not necessarily true, I have to tell myself that. It's the only way I can accept the change.

Just let me pretend my assumption is true. Nobody tell me otherwise. Please.

DeadlyYellow:

2fish:
Well we can hope the new one is good, right?

Of course it will be good. Dishonored was good. Farcry 3 was good. The new Tomb Raider was good. Leaves little reason to assume otherwise.

I have not played tomb raider but the other two did have stealth but it was not thief. The focus was aim at stealth if you want and action if you mess up. I am not sure there is a big enough audience to make a pure thief game. I mean the fact that they have removed many factions makes me think they don't feel that they can sell a classic thief game.

A good game is possible but will how will it measure as a thief game or will it be like dishonored with more stealing?

2fish:
Well we can hope the new one is good, right?

Of course it will be good. Dishonored was good. Farcry 3 was good. The new Tomb Raider was good. Leaves little reason to assume otherwise.

So most of the time first person and third person for cutscenes and take downs i would presume.

What is wrong with blackjack on back of the head? I cannot see the reason for fancy animations of somebody dropping down to the floor. Did not like it in Deus Ex and it will be even less appropriate in Thief.

DeadlyYellow:
Eh. Might still be worth $20.

I don't know I mean I spent 2.50 on thief 2 from and maybe another 8 to get a physical copy of the game. So 20 is more than 10.50. I might do the 20 if it is a kick ass thief game with all these small issues.

I admit I am being harsh as it will be hard to live up to thief 2 so maybe it is best to base this off of thief deadly shadows? I spent 5 on that one...I did rent it once a long time ago and decided not to buy it.

Well we can hope the new one is good, right?

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