It is estimated that the video game industry is currently generating more revenue than the movie industry. That’s not surprising as more and more people are participating in the game. From mobile games to esports, there are more ways people can play than ever before. Its success creates a celebrity who plays a bigger role in video games than ever before. This article describes the impact of these celebrities on video games.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
Just as Tony Hawk changed skateboarding, he also had a huge impact on the video game industry as Tony Hawk’s professional skateboarders revolutionized skateboarding games. Not only was it a great game in itself, but there were casts of real-life skaters from the famous Tony Hawk to Bob Burnquist, Chad Muska, Rodney Mullen and Kareem Campbell. For many, this game was an introduction to a real skateboarding celebrity. The recent Tony Hawk ProSkater 1 & 2 Remaster, released in September this year, also rekindled fans’ love for old games.
As video games evolved, stories were told not only through text but also through narration. Full voice acting games are expected, and the craving for voice actors is growing, which is another area where celebrities have changed video games. Arkham Asylum is a famous example featuring Mark Hamill’s voice as a joker. Video game narration has allowed celebrities to create dramatic narration performances that bring new life and personality to video game characters, rather than just reading scripts.
Beyond: Two Souls
As more technology runs the game, so does the level of celebrity involvement. While Tony Hawk pro skaters used only portraits of celebrities, games like Beyond: Two Souls also began to take advantage of their acting talent. Motion capture and face tracking techniques allow celebrity actors to express themselves in a way that can be accurately handed over to digitized actors. Beyond: Games like Two Souls bridged the gap between movie and video games, and celebrities like Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe lent out performances like movies.
Fortnite became a video game phenomenon almost overnight and permeated mainstream pop culture in ways that most other games couldn’t manage. With such widespread appeal and recognition, Fortnite took advantage of it to break new ground with celebrity performances. Musicians such as Travis Scott and Drake are hosting live concerts within Fortnite, allowing fans around the world to participate digitally while playing the game.
These types of performances are relatively new to games and represent a whole new angle of how celebrities star in video games. One day, digitized events may become mainstream.
Hideo Kojima is well known in the video game industry for his love of Hollywood movies. His games often reflect this with heavy use of movie cutscenes and dramatic character performances. Death Stranding in particular reflects this and features great performances such as Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, Léa Seydou and Guillermo del Toro.
Norman Reedus, in particular, not only performed cutscenes and script-rich events, but also did extensive motion capture. This allowed Kojima to digitize Norman Reedus, use performance in a fluid manner like any other video game protagonist, be controlled by the player, move around seamlessly and interact with the world.
As both the technology and scale of the video game industry grew, so did celebrity involvement in video games. Celebrities can now be filled with cameos, voice actors, or in-game motion-captured characters. With them, the line between film actors and video game actors continues to blur.
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