God of War’s Kratos is the latest video game character to gain a new voice.
The grouchy Greek had been portrayed in all of his virtual appearances so far – spanning four console entries, two handheld spin-offs and cameos in Mortal Kombat and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale – by TC Carson, beginning with 2005’s debut.
Carson confirmed on Twitter that he had been replaced for the upcoming self-titled PS4 reboot of the franchise shown during PlayStation’s E3 conference, explaining: “Sony went in a new direction.”
Taking over the role is Stargate SG-1 actor Christopher Judge, who similarly made the announcement on Twitter to a mixed reception from fans of the series.
Carson’s replacement is the latest high-profile voice actor switch for an iconic series lead, following the controversial switch of long-time Metal Gear Solid performer David Hayter for TV and film actor Kiefer Sutherland for Metal Gear Solid V.
This year saw Uncharted 2 actor Steve Valentine complain that he hadn’t been asked to reprise his role of Harry Flynn in Uncharted 4, slamming the perspective of game actors as ‘disposable’ by developers.
“It really comes down to how much fans care about who is in their games. If they buy and play no matter what, we'll always be interchangeable,” argued Valentine.
The wider debate over the rights and treatment of game actors has continued to rage, spurred on by the #performancematters movement and reaching boiling point late last year, when members of the voice actor union SAG-AFTRA approved a strike by game actors in response to calls for greater recognition.
Key among the negotiations was the argument that game actors should be rewarded back-end bonuses based on the performance of triple-A titles.