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The Universal Reset
Tuesday, 8 February 2011
And now, number three, the Larch... The Larch... The... Larch...

Yes, yes, it seems as though GoldenEye Wii is all I talk about lately. I'm sure that such will not be the case forever... just for as long I can think of new stuff to say.

So, I guess that somewhere in the back of my mind, I must have realised this, and I'm sure that you've probably known this for a while. But, I thought I'd mention it anyway.

See, I thought, when the game's website with all the character profiles on it went up, that since the game is based on a re-tooled version of the original GoldenEye plot, the likenesses on all the characters would be totally contrived. After all, that's what they did with Agent Under Fire and NightFire -- make the main character likenesses entirely within a 3D modelling programme with no use for cyberscanning (that is, creating a 3D model of a person's head).
With Everything or Nothing, it was highly publicised that Mya, Shannon Elizabeth, and Heidi Klum would be in the game as virtual Bond girls, and that Pierce Brosnan (whose head had been cyberscanned for the previous game) would be the game's James Bond. Like, really highly publicised -- every entertainment gossip show everywhere was talking about it, Nintendo Power talked about it for months, there were videos put onto demo-discs for stores' game kiosks, and of course EA took all of these opportunities to include the EoN website's URL (it was 007.ea.com, which, replaced the NightFire site and was, itself, replaced by the From Russia with Love site... I think it's defunct now).
There was no similar publicity for GoldenEye Wii. In fact, I don't think anyone even knew that it existed until E3. Where Electronic Arts would have hyped a new GoldenEye for months, if not a year in advance of the release date, Activision and Eurocom kept it a secret for a couple of years... all anyone knew was that a new Bond game would be released in Q3 or Q4 of 2010.

The point is, when I saw the new character likenesses on goldeneyegame.com, I assumed that they were completely original. That some concept artist someplace in Europe had drawn some faces which the 3D modellers at Eurocom turned into game characters.

Wrong, of course. As it turns out, all of the primary characters in GoldenEye Wii are cyberscans of real actors. I found this out whilst I was watching Agatha Christie's Poirot on television the other day. I thought the bad guy looked a bit familiar, so, as I continued watching, I used my Nintendo DSi to look up the episode on Wikipedia (only because the IMDb won't load on the DSi Browser). According to the article, the character was played by one Elliot Cowan. Looking into his filmography, I found that he was also the likeness and voice of Alec Trevelyan in GoldenEye Wii.
When I was able to get back to my computer, I looked the game up on the IMDb (huh? Oh, "Internet Movie Database" -- imdb.com). It turns out that every one of the available headshots of the voice-actors were the spitting image of their 3D models... well, most of them, anyway.

Obviously, Daniel Craig is Bond, Rory Kinnear is Tanner, and Judi Dench is M. But, perhaps you may also know...

Elliot Cowan (Alec Trevelyan), from The Golden Compass, and Foyle's War: A Lesson in Murder (the latter, incidentally, starred Michael Kitchen, who played the role of Tanner during the Pierce Brosnan era)...

Kirsty Mitchell (Natalya Simonova), from Lake Placid 3...

Kate Magowan (Xenia Onatopp), from Stardust...

Laurentiu Possa (Arkady Ourumov), from MI-5...

Ed Stoppard (Dmitri Mishkin), from Upstairs Downstairs...

Alec Newman (Valentin Zukovsky), from Star Trek: Enterprise...

and Nathan Osgood (Sky Briggs), from Sahara.

Of course, that isn't a complete listing of their entire respective filmographies. There's even some overlap between titles, which leads one to suspect that the casting director may spend a bit too much time in front of the television.
Also, some of the names to whom the credit of "(voice)" is given may be familiar to you. One that leapt off the page as I scrolled down was Jonathan Aris (whom I suspect played the voice of one of the Severnaya guards). I recognised him as Wilhelm, the costumier, from my favourite film of all time, Topsy-Turvy (which stars Jim Broadbent, Allan Corduner, and Timothy Spall).

I suppose, in retrospect, it seems illogical to think that they paid someone or a group of people to design completely original likenesses, then pay another group of people to provide voices for those likenesses. It's more logical to use the likenesses of your voice-actors... well, nowadays, that is. That wasn't always the case -- take GoldenEye 64 for example. If you had different voice actors for each character, you'd run out of memory real fast.

Perhaps next time, it'll be about not GoldenEye.


Posted by theniftyperson at 2:17 PM CST

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