The Elder Scrolls Online is almost upon us, and ZeniMax Studios is doing its damndest to ensure every single gamer knows it. Following a string of informative videos, detailing everything from levelling to lock-picking, gameplay to group dynamics, the developer is now ready to announce its all-star casting.
Unveiled via video, the game’s predominantly English cast — the norm where fantasy titles are concerned — includes numerous award-winning actors, thespians and veterans of the stage and screen. To see the cast in action, check out the video above. For more on the players and their parts, read on.
John Cleese as ‘Caldwell’
A well-known and highly respected British comic, Cleese made his name as part of the eccentric and irreverent ‘Monty Python’ group, a clique of comedians dedicated to oddball, off-the-wall humor. The actor also features in various Harry Potter, James Bond and Shrek series instalments. According to Cleese ‘Caldwell’ provides much of the game’s comic relief, entertaining players with his mix of stubborn gallantry, stiff upper lip and rambling anecdotes. Look for Caldwell to appear as a fighting companion during one or two quests.
Bill Nighy as ‘High King Emeric’
Like Cleese, Nighy owes much of his mainstream appeal to a string of successful cameos, including appearances in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Underworld series and Harry Potter brand. High King Emeric marks Nighy’s third appearance in a video game, and the first in which the actor has portrayed an original character (Nighy reprised roles for the former two titles). As leader of the powerful Daggerfall Covenant Emeric commands great power, though he retains much of his compassionate and human side. Expect Nighy’s man to dole out plenty of quests.
Kate Beckinsale as ‘Queen Ayrenn’
Another Underworld alumni, Beckinsale shot to fame following the commercial success — and critical flop — of Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor. The English actress has also appeared in 2012’s Total Recall reboot and 2004 Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator. As Queen Ayrenn, Beckinsale portrays the head of the Aldmeri Dominion, one of three factions vying for the vacant throne of Cyrodiil. Described as a powerful warrior and ruler, but with “a very good heart,” Ayrenn is nonetheless surrounded by trauma, loss and difficulty.
Alfred Molina as ‘Abnur Tharn’
Known to most fans as the conflicted and ambitious Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2 Molina has also made a string of appearances in films ranging from Chocolat to Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Da Vinci Code. As Abnur Tharn, Molina will have the chance to play a scheming Daedra-worshipper with political savvy to spare. Arrogant and sarcastic, Tharn will likely require the player’s attentions, either via swordplay or as part of nasty assassination quests.
Michael Gambon as ‘The Prophet’
Yet another player in the Harry Potter franchise, Gambon took over the role of Albus Dumbledore following the death of his predecessor Richard Harris. The actor appeared in 6 of 8 HP outings, while also finding the time to appear in numerous stage and screen productions. As The Prophet, Gambon appears to lead the player via an ongoing narration, though certain lines suggest the character could also appear in person.
Malcolm McDowell as ‘Molag Bal’
Famed for his portrayal of unfeeling teen Alex DeLarge in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, McDowell has also appeared in various trilogy-topping video games, including Wing Commander 3, Fallout 3, Killzone 3, God of War 3 and Command & Conquer 3. Playing Molag Bal, McDowell channels his best “Villainous Englishman” archetype, doling out hefty punishments to the player, and to the world of Tamriel itself. Expect to face Bal during the endgame of The Elder Scrolls Online.
Other notable appearances include Wonder Woman‘s own Lynda Carter as ‘Azura’ — a benevolent god-like entity presiding over dusk and dawn, ‘Femshep’ actor and frequent video game vocalist Jennifer Hale as ‘Lyris Tianborn,’ Fargo‘s Peter Stormare as ‘Jorunn the Skald King’, Jim Ward (WALL-E) as ‘Mannimarco’ and Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show) as ‘Sai Sahan.’
Like the Grand Theft Auto games of old, The Elder Scrolls series has never been shy about pursuing big name actors for relatively minor parts. Sir Patrick Stewart showed up in the opening moments of The Elder Scrolls IV, only to be quickly liquidated, while Sean Bean surprised absolutely no one by following him into Oblivion. Skyrim also introduced its fair share of talents, including respected thesps Max Von Sydow and Christopher Plummer.
Do celebrity cameos lend respectability to a title or ruin its in-game immersion? Is this the best cast the series has yet produced? Have your say in the comments below, and be sure to check in with all of the latest Elder Scrolls news, right here on Game Rant.
The Elder Scrolls Online arrives April 4, 2014 for PC and Mac platforms, with Xbox One and PlayStation 4 ports set to debut in June.
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