Video games have been a popular form of entertainment for decades, with the cast and crew’s hard work being similar to that of a movie set. While there are voice actors who specifically dedicate themselves to the video game world, well-known standard actors have expanded their palette to include voice-over work as well. Here’s a list of recognizable names you may not know were involved in interactive media!
Like any entertainment medium, video games are an ever-evolving part of the industry, growing into a modern form of storytelling. Narrative-driven games heavily rely on voice actors to bring the characters and their stories to life in an imaginative, emotive way. While some voice actors like Troy Baker and Jennifer Hale have made a name for themselves within the video game sphere, A-list celebrities have also taken up the gig, expanding their repertoire to more than just a live-action on-screen presence. Here are some big names that you forgot or didn’t know were in video games throughout the years!
Kristen Bell – Assassin’s Creed
Actress Kristen Bell has been around since the 90s, landing big roles in TV and films such as Veronica Mars, The Good Place, and Bad Moms. She’s also had her fair share of voice acting work, like Anna in Disney’s Frozen and the narrator of the titular Gossip Girl. But perhaps a little more obscure is her voice-over work as the character Lucy in Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed (2007), Assassin’s Creed II (2009), and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (2010), whose appearance shares Bell’s likeness as she provided CGI scans. This is an action-adventure game that follows the main protagonist Desmond Miles — a crucial character for the series — and his experience connecting with a machine called the “Animus,” which allows its users to access ancestral memories. Lucy’s character helps Desmond in his early assassin career as a member of the Assassin Order and a researcher for the Animus Project. She’s also the love interest of Desmond, but he ends up stabbing her in the third game while under the influence of an ancient god. The then 26-year-old was enthusiastic about the role, having been a massive video game fan herself.
Natalie Dormer – Mass Effect: Andromeda
Bioware’s Mass Effect: Andromeda came out in 2017 as another new story, largely detached from the original Mass Effect trilogy, which ended in 2012. The sci-fi series has always put their character relationships and development at the forefront of the epic space role playing-shooter game. Overall, there’s been a bunch of big names involved, like Martin Sheen and Seth Green, and the most recent addition is no different. Best known for her roles as Cressida in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay and Margaery Tyrell in Game of Thrones, Natalie Dormer takes on the support role of Dr. Lexi T’Perro on board the Tempest ship as it explores the unknown Andromeda galaxy. While the English actress’ voice is recognizable, her appearance is not so much as her character is part of the all-female blue alien species known as the Asari. The game certainly had a large budget behind it, even though the launch was filled with bugs and disappointed diehard fans. Dormer’s character is the first person to greet the game’s protagonist after they wake up from cryosleep after 600 years, so she’s sure to be a memorable one. She acts as a helpful guiding voice of reason to the other characters. While Dormer played her Game of Thrones character in a 2014 video game version with the same name, Mass Effect: Andromeda was her first experience voice acting as a brand new character — one she says was a fun challenge that helped her grow as a storyteller.
Chloe Grace Moretz – Dishonored
In 2012, actress Chloe Grace Moretz took her second video game role as 10-year-old Emily Kaldwin in Dishonored. She previously played a video game version of her Kick-Ass character Mindy Macready/Hit-Girl in 2010 in Kick-Ass: The Game. Moretz quickly rose to fame after that role at just 13 years old but had her fair share of acting gigs as a child star before that. Bethesda and Arkane Studios’ Dishonored featured a star-studded billing of voice actors, including Susan Sarandon, Lena Headey, John Slattery, and Michael Madsen. Set in a fictional industrial city, the action-adventure features role-playing and stealth elements in a first-person perspective following Corvo Attano, a bodyguard to the Empress of the Isles who is framed for her murder. Moretz’s Emily is the daughter of Corvo and said Empress. When she’s rescued from her kidnappers, she’s largely a gauge for morality on the player’s part, with her interactions changing depending on their actions toward violence. Unfortunately, Moretz did not return to reprise the role in 2016’s Dishonored 2, where Emily is grown up and serves as a playable character. Since 2012, she has gone on to star as the titular Carrie in the 2013 reboot, If I Stay, The 5th Wave, plus many more.
Neil Patrick Harris – Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions
Prominently known for his role as Barney Stinson in How I Met Your Mother, as well as an extensive TV and filmography, Neil Patrick Harris took up the helm as the voice for The Amazing Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. The 2010 action-adventure game features four different playable versions of the Marvel comics’ Spider-Man, with each iteration coming from a different universe. The other “Spider-Men” are voiced by Josh Keaton (Ultimate Spider-Man), Christopher Daniel Barnes (Spider-Man Noir), and Dan Gilvezan (Spider-Man 2099). Though the game was made 10 years prior, it has a similar multiverse premise as the 2021 film Spider-Man: No Way Home, which showcases the three different cinematic versions of Peter Parker. Harris had actually previously voiced the superhero in Spider-Man: The New Animated Series on MTV in 2003.
Samuel L. Jackson – GTA: San Andreas
Actor Samuel L. Jackson has been around for decades, including big titles like Star Wars and numerous Marvel movies as the prominent Nick Fury. With all of his more recent and bigger in-your-face promoted projects, it’s easy to forget that his distinct voice was in 2004’s Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as corrupt police officer Frank Tenpenny, the game’s main antagonist. Rockstar Games has capitalized on the GTA franchise for years, with San Andreas being the fifth entry in the series and seventh overall. The fictional city emulates Los Angeles and its real-life events during the 1990s — gang rivalries, LAPD scandals, LA riots, and the crack epidemic. The game is one of the highest regarded and most loved in the industry, winning Spike TV’s Video Game Awards for “Best Action Game” in 2004. Jackson even took home “Best Performance by a Male” for his work as Tenpenny, and his acceptance speech was one of the only noticeable times he spoke out about his video game role. He’d go on to voice Frozone that same year in The Incredibles game (taking after his role from the movie), as well as Iron Man 2 (2010), two Disney Infinity games (2014 & 2015), Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (2011), and Afro Samurai (2008).
Matthew Perry – Fallout: New Vegas
You probably never would have guessed that Friends’ Chandler Bing was a voice actor in the game 2010 Fallout: New Vegas. Matthew Perry plays antagonist Benny in the action role-playing game from Obsidian Entertainment and Bethesda Softworks. As a spin-off of the main Fallout series, the game is set in an open-world, post-apocalyptic environment from nuclear warfare. While promoting his 2009 movie 17 Again on The Ellen Degeneres Show, Perry gave her a copy of Fallout 3 with an Xbox 360, purely because he was such a big fan of the game. He claimed that he loved it so much and played so often that he needed to get injections from a doctor after injuring his hands. New Vegas developers saw this and offered him a role for their upcoming game. Players control the protagonist called the Courier as he journeys the Mojave Desert Wasteland to recover a stolen package after he was nearly shot dead by Benny. This was Perry’s first and only voice-over role he has done for a game.
Carrie-Anne Moss – Mass Effect 2/3 & Horizon Forbidden West
Best known for her work as Trinity in The Matrix franchise, Carrie-Anne Moss continues to exude her powerful presence through auditory performances. She got her start in the 2003 game Enter the Matrix, reprising her character, and again in 2021’s The Matrix Awakens. However, when it comes to video games, she’s perhaps most recognizable in Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 as the iconic character Aria T’Loak, another beloved Asari from the series. The actress carried the perfect tone of voice for the “I couldn’t care less” / “Don’t mess with me” attitude that Aria brings to the story. She would later be recognized in 2022’s Horizon Zero Dawn sequel, Horizon Forbidden West, as antagonist Tilda, who also serves as the game’s final boss. While the characters are different, she still holds a certain distinct cadence that makes her a perfect candidate for voice-acting roles.
Keith David – Saints Row, Halo, & Mass Effect
Actor Keith David’s filmography is extensive — from John Carpenter’s The Thing to The Chronicles of Riddick, on top of numerous voice-over roles for animated works like the cat in Coraline and Dr. Facilier in The Princess and the Frog. His video game work is building as well, as he’s been present in the field since 1997 as Decker in Fallout. Though, most of his well-known gaming roles reside in three big franchises: Halo, Saints Row, and Mass Effect. He played Arbiter Thel ‘Vadam in Halo 2 (2004), Halo 3 (2007), and Halo 5: Guardians (2015), a military sci-fi centering on conflicts between humans and aliens. Then, he played the character Julius Little in Saints Row (2006), Saints Row 2 (2008), and Saints Row IV (2013), an open-world action-adventure series with a lot of driving and shooting, reminiscent of the GTA franchise. And throughout the years, he played David Anderson in the Mass Effect trilogy, a guiding military compass for the player protagonist. His trademark deep voice makes for a commanding presence, both on screen and in the recording booth.
Mark Hamil – Batman
Mark Hamil’s role as Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars saga skyrocketed the actor to fame, spanning a 50-year career. He may have an identifiable face, but he’s perhaps most prominent in his various voice roles for film and television. Carrying over the spot he paved for himself as The Joker in frequent animated iterations of the character in different Batman projects, he voice acted the same role in countless Batman video games, starting back in 1994 with The Adventures of Batman & Robin. There was also Batman: Vengeance (2001), Arkham Asylum (2009), Arkham City (2011), Arkham Knight (2015), Arkham VR (2016), and Lego DC Super-Villans (2018). Ironically, the actor with a knack for the biggest DC villain also frequented Marvel gaming projects, including Wolverine in X2: Wolverine’s Revenge (2003), Red Skull in Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet (2011), and supervillain Arnim Zola in Lego Marvel’s Avengers (2016). Hamil has three of the biggest franchises tied to his name in one way or another, bringing the necessary talent to do so.
Ray Liotta – GTA: Vice City
The late award-winning actor Ray Liotta’s most popular works are as Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas (1990), Ray Sinclair in Something Wild (1986), Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams (1989), and Frank Sinatra in HBO TV film The Rat Pack (1998). Even after all that plus more, he can add the voice role of Tommy Vercetti in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002) to his list of TV and film appearances. The character was the first playable protagonist in the GTA franchise to have a full set of dialogue. Set in a fictional place based on real-world Miami, Tommy is an Italian-American criminal mastermind working for the Forelli crime family, a fictional organization of the Italian Mafia. Vice City was the fastest-selling video game in history at the time, giving Liotta the 2003 win for Spike’s Video Game Awards for “Best Performance by a Human” as well as former game award show G-Phoria for “Best Male Voice Performance.” Liotta himself was surprised at how popular the game turned out, but still had a fun time during the game’s production.