As video game voice actors go, it’s tough to top Nolan North both in notoriety and abundance of roles. Having voiced such iconic characters as Nathan Drake and Desmond Miles (Assassin’s Creed), one has to believe that Nolan North knows just what works and what doesn’t when it comes to delivering a top-notch voice acting performance.
Now North isn’t saying that the team at Ubisoft doesn’t do a great job with the voice acting in Assassin’s Creed — any trailer for the game would argue to the contrary — but he has come out to suggest a slight tweak to the game’s developmental formula. That tweak in question is the addition of the motion capture voice acting performance that the Uncharted series has been using, the same one featured in a behind the scenes trailer for Uncharted 3.
For North, this type of motion capture/voice performance combination helps give a greater authenticity not just to the actor but also to the end product. As Desmond becomes more involved in his assassin roots, and begins delivering lines whilst climbing and jumping, North thinks that it would be truer to the performance if he were doing some variation of those actions.
“I wish it wasn’t done separately. Don’t get me wrong, the mo-cap actors do a great job, but there will always be somewhat of a disconnect when it’s done this way…The cut-scenes are shot exactly like a film or television program. The actors interact more naturally and unique and subtle elements to the performances are captured. Don’t think for a minute that gamers don’t notice. They’re a savvy bunch.”
Obviously there’s a lot more work that goes in to creating the same scenarios that Naughty Dog placed in front of North and the other Uncharted voice actors, but he may be on to something. There were some moments in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood that felt a little forced and lacking in authenticity, but ultimately those quibbles didn’t amount to much.
North’s aspirations are all well and good, but ultimately he has to realized that Uncharted’s much more story-driven goals aren’t the same as Assassin’s Creed’s emphasis on sandbox gameplay and variety. The story in AC is still an integral part of the experience, and this year’s iteration promises a decent amount of closure, but there’s a lot more to it.
Perhaps, with next year’s iteration rumored to be Desmond’s last Assassin’s Creed adventure, Nolan North can receive a fitting send off by getting his wish. If not, then he will still have Uncharted 4.
Do you think that Assassin’s Creed’s voice work suffers from a lack of authenticity? Would you prefer the Uncharted performance capture techniques be used?
Assassin’s Creed Revelations is out now for the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.