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Why Thief's Garrett has a new voice actor

While many Thief fans are not happy with the revelation that Stephen Russell will not be back as the voice of the stealthy Garrett in the upcoming franchise reboot, developer Eidos Montreal said it had to do with how they were developing the game, not a dissatisfaction with the actor.

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While many Thief fans are not happy with the revelation that Stephen Russell will not be back as the voice of the stealthy Garrett in the upcoming franchise reboot, developer Eidos Montreal said it had to do with how they were developing the game, not a dissatisfaction with the actor.

"Stephen was considered quite heavily. We actually had him in for some preliminary vocal recordings in fact," Narrative Director Steven Gallagher said in an interview on the Eidos community blog. But the studio's desire to do "full performance capture"--recording voice, motion capture and face tracking all at once--took precedence.

"The actor playing Garrett needed to be able to perform his own stunts," said Audio Director Jean-Christophe Verbert. "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."

Gallagher said that bringing Russell back would be akin to casting Sean Connery again in the role of James Bond. "It's a nice thought, but honestly, it wouldn't make sense for anything else other than nostalgia."

Ubisoft Toronto made a similar decision for Splinter Cell Blacklist when it chose not to recast Michael Ironside as Sam Fisher, citing Ironside's age and the increased demands of performance capture.

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
  • reply
    April 3, 2013 6:50 AM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Why Thief's Garrett has a new voice actor.

    While many Thief fans are not happy with the revelation that Stephen Russell will not be back as the voice of the stealthy Garrett in the upcoming franchise reboot, developer Eidos Montreal said it had to do with how they were developing the game, not a dissatisfaction with the actor.

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      April 3, 2013 6:55 AM

      This and not including the WiiU changes to DXHR on other platforms is some tremendous bullshit.

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        April 3, 2013 7:02 AM

        Didn't know there wasn't any WiiU support. Guess I'll wait and see what happens.

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          April 3, 2013 9:02 AM

          No, you have it backwards. People want the WiiU enhancements on other platforms.

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      April 3, 2013 7:12 AM

      So they'd rather have an athletic guy with a lousy voice so they can crow about the 'full-performance capture' that most players won't even notice, instead of an iconic voice that most players immediately notice. Smart thinking, Eidos.

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        April 3, 2013 9:00 AM

        "most players?" in the best case scenario, most of the players for the new game won't be long time fans of the franchise

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          April 3, 2013 10:39 AM

          Once upon a time, I went to see the Wing Commander movie because I loved Wing Commander. It was terrible, largely in part because they named the movie so they could build off the cachet from the videogames.

          Thief is doing the exact same thing. I'd rather they just bite the bullet and name it something else entirely, while holding up Thief as the primary inspiration. That's an easier pill to swallow.

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            April 3, 2013 11:12 AM

            i thought it was named Wing Commander because it was directed by the guy behind the Wing Commander games who wanted to turn them into a movie

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              April 3, 2013 11:17 AM

              agcrouton just got pwned

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                April 3, 2013 11:24 AM

                ...pwned how? Chris Roberts did direct the movie, and he was the guy behind the videogames. My statement about the movie playing off the popularity of the videogames is still valid.

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                  April 3, 2013 11:32 AM

                  What movie based off of a video game doesn't trade on the cachet of the game? That's part of the point.

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                    April 3, 2013 11:47 AM

                    So to bring this full circle back to Thief, Eidos is using the Thief name to trade on the goodwill of the previous games. Riki is of the opinion that doesn't mean anything for the intended audience, while I disagree.

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                      April 3, 2013 1:04 PM

                      They are not "using" the Thief name, they are making a Thief game. There's a pretty clear difference.

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                  April 3, 2013 11:56 AM

                  It was terrible, largely in part because they named the movie so they could build off the cachet from the videogames.

                  No. It was terrible because it was terrible. It was made by the creator of the games and he made the movie he wanted to make, it just happened to be terrible. It could have been named "Spaceships" and it would have been just as terrible. They didn't, however, name the movie "Wing Commander" just to dupe stupid fans.

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                    April 3, 2013 1:00 PM

                    You're right of course, they totally didn't market the movie towards videogame fans. How silly of me to assume that. Every movie and every videogame stands on its' own merits independently.

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                      April 3, 2013 1:10 PM

                      Your last sentence is absolutely correct. I'm amused that you apparently meant it sarcastically.

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      April 3, 2013 7:14 AM

      I think it's a fair point, backed up with a creative intent, and that fans are being sandy vaginas.

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        April 3, 2013 7:24 AM

        [deleted]

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          April 3, 2013 2:40 PM

          Midget, as a completely ignorant fucking person, I want to say that Deus Ex 3 had a very generic character, yet was still a great game. Everything I've read about Thief suggests this will be just as good of a reboot.

          Also, I wouldn't rush to judge a character after a minute-long teaser. Maybe he has a sensitive side we don't know about. Maybe he struggles in secret with dyslexia, too ashamed to seek professional treatment.

          I never stole this.

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        April 3, 2013 7:26 AM

        I know, right? I'm constantly pulled out of the game when I can tell that Stephen Merchant didn't also provide the animations for Wheatley, or how Alyx's movements were clearly that of a different woman from the person providing the voice.

        Don't even get me started on animated movies. Fucking rubbish that lot.

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          April 3, 2013 7:29 AM

          The only valid comparison you have is Alyx. Now, if Alyx were to be doing lots of extremely physical activities, many of which would likely feature dialog mid-action, you would have quite a good point.

          But I don't remember Alyx hanging off buildings and whacking people in the head with a blackjack. Maybe that was in Episode 2, but I missed that boat.

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            April 3, 2013 7:41 AM

            Now, okay, I couldn't have possibly been using hyperbole, but sure. You're right, we should also be demanding better voice and animation synchronization with all first person protagonists. It's comforting to know that the characters in the game will be able to believe that the anima... oh? It's no longer a first person looter, it's more like an Assassin's Creed clone? Oh. Okay.

            Well, whatever.

            I still don't understand how you aren't pissed at Disney, Warner Brothers, Pixar, and Dreamworks. I mean, it's pretty rare when they use the voice actor to provide the basis of the animation.

            I don't know about you, but I had serious difficulty believing Jackson as Frozone or Kelly Macdonald as Merida. There was always that super creepy disconnect in everything they did.

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              April 3, 2013 8:54 AM

              They are making a game, and they believe they should follow a creative line, call it experiment since it isn't done systematically in this respect in the rest of the business (as far as we know)

              Wether or not it will be better or crappier than other animated characters remains to be tested (when the game comes out), but you can't give them shit for sticking to a guideline they believe will make the character more coherent as a whole.

              Like I said in my first reply, it's a fair enough point that is creatively defensible.

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                April 3, 2013 9:31 AM

                No you don't understand- placating angry nerds should be the primary goal of every developer. There is no room for taking risks and experimenting.

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                April 3, 2013 12:54 PM

                Look, if they said, "We want a younger Garrett," that would be the end of it. They're the one trotting out animation as the only reason why, which is, arguable.

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        April 3, 2013 7:27 AM

        Ding ding ding. A winner is barichnikov.

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      April 3, 2013 7:36 AM

      Wow, been so long since I posted here! Anyway, I'm as big a fan of the Thief series as there is. I've played dozens upon dozens of user maps, and played through all three games numerous times. While I am also disappointed that Stephen Russell won't be doing the voice work for Garrett, I can understand why they are going in this direction. Their explanation makes perfect sense, and and top of that, this is a reboot of the franchise. It makes sense to hire a new actor in that regard. I just hope Eidos keeps us diehard Thief fans in mind as they continue development of this game. I understand there is a whole new generation of gamers out there that have never even heard of the franchise, and they won't care one bit how far off the Thief path Eidos takes this new one. And these gamers will probably make up the majority of the sales. But us diehard fans, who have been waiting for this game since TMA was released (many didn't care for Deadly Shadows, although I thought it was pretty good), will be the ones who keep the game going with new fan missions and mods. Anyway, I am very much looking forward to the release of this game, moreso than any title since Skyrim.

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        April 3, 2013 7:53 AM

        You think the new game will allow for new missions and maps? Must be nice back in 2005.

        Are you still far enough back to prevent shitty DLC? Look, tell everyone you know that Bethesda is going to try to charge $10 just for horse armor for their sequel to Morrowind, there might still be hope.

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          April 3, 2013 9:34 AM

          He made front page posters look good and you are making chatty posters look like jerkoffs.

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            April 3, 2013 10:02 AM

            Seriously, what was up with that?

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            April 3, 2013 12:50 PM

            Yeah, that's fair, I'm just cranky and was hoping for some Quantum Leap savior.

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            April 3, 2013 12:54 PM

            Really Should have had a frown at the end of the first line.

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        April 3, 2013 12:59 PM

        Sorry for coming off as an ass. Really meant that to be sad punctuated by a joke.

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        April 3, 2013 2:24 PM

        Have a failing bunny as an apology: http://i.imgur.com/LxEBx9A.gif
        Finding the gif goes to [fry], and I'm just going to collapse this thread.

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          April 8, 2013 2:53 PM

          Lol. No problem. I do expect some tools to be released for this game. I know that doesn't happen nearly as much as it used to, but I do expect it for this one.

          And I was one of the chatty posters, but many, MANY moons ago, back when Gibsom first started this joint. Sure has changed around here...

    • reply
      April 3, 2013 10:01 AM

      [deleted]

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      April 3, 2013 10:50 AM

      BUUUULLSHIIIIIIT.

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      April 3, 2013 10:53 AM

      At least the new Thief is pretty close to the old, that's what I thought.

      The new Sam Fisher is BULLSHIT.

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      April 3, 2013 12:11 PM

      Yeah this is stupid.

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      April 3, 2013 12:23 PM

      New voice actor sounds competent and fits the role. Stop being so fucking butthurt, goddammit.

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        April 3, 2013 1:07 PM

        [deleted]

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          April 3, 2013 1:17 PM

          DX is harder to make. Thief has less voice acting and scripting, and character resets between levels except for the number of arrows/potions etc.

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            April 3, 2013 1:19 PM

            Well, it has in the past. Frankly I'm fine with Thief gaining continuity between missions. If that's the biggest change they made to the formula we'd be fine.

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        April 3, 2013 2:46 PM

        New voice actor sounds like a boring faggot.

        More at 11

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      April 3, 2013 12:23 PM

      It worked for Darth Maul. A guy acting and doing stunts but that wasn't his voice. And that was for a film and not a video game so even easier in a game to hide any little discrepancy.

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      April 3, 2013 12:39 PM

      They can have their full performance capture all they want; still not buying it without Russell and I encourage everyone who feels the same to do likewise. Change the character if you can't or don't want to use the same VA from before.

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      April 3, 2013 12:56 PM

      Wouldn't be the same to put his voice over the top? Er, yes it would.

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      April 3, 2013 1:52 PM

      Seems like a dumb excuse to me. If they want to bring in a different voice actor, that's fine, but as an old school Thief fan I think of the character of Garrett, as sarcastic and cynical with a bit narcissism as well. The new trailer presents Garrett in a serious almost 'Batman'-like tone which is what's weird to me.

      If you're going to bring back the character of Garrett, then it should be Garrett. If not, then just make up a new name for the new character.

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      April 4, 2013 8:21 AM

      They must think people are stupid (maybe they are..). Not using the same person for MoCap and Voice is the norm, not the other way around. You usually use different people for the two. So that's just BS.

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        April 4, 2013 1:46 PM

        That's not what they're saying at all. They're saying it's easier and more natural to use the same person for both, which is absolutely logical. The dialogue is interwoven with the acting, instead of being recorded afterwards.

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