Most people have had that moment when they start a new game in their favorite franchise and something goes wrong. Your favorite character starts talking and their voice is different. In games, there are so many recognizable voice actors, but for some reason a voice actor can change.
It happens more than most realize. Often the new voice actor does their best to sound like the previous one, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes the new performer elevates the role and other times it is less successful. Whatever the reason, there have been a number of characters in the game whose voice actors have changed, and these are some of the most notable.
9 Mordin Solus – Mass Effect
Mordin is Mass Effect’s wacky salaryman scientist. He joins Commander Shepard in the second game to help in the high-risk mission against the Collectors. From the second to the third entry, Mordin’s voice actor changed.
He was originally voiced by Michael Beattie in Mass Effect 2, but was replaced by William Salyers in the third entry. It’s hard to say though. Salyers’ performance is almost exactly the same as Beattie’s. If you read snippets of the two games back to back, it would be hard to notice the difference.
8 Sephiroth – Final Fantasy
In fairness, this list might be a list of Final Fantasy 7 characters only. With Remake revamping all roles, the entire cast of the game got new voice actors. What many don’t realize is that Sephiroth’s first vocal performance was by none other than *NSYNC’s Lance Bass.
He wasn’t exactly cut out for the role and after the first game the players said Bye, Bye, Bye. He will then be replaced by George Newbern in the following Kingdom Hearts games and by Tyler Hoechlin in Final Fantasy 7 Remake.
seven Chloe Price – Life is Strange Before the Storm
Chloe is one of the main characters in the first Life is Strange game. The developers decided it was worth exploring the story of what happened to the person around whom the main mystery of the story revolves, Rachel Amber.
Thus was born a prequel titled Before the Storm starring Chloe Price. Unfortunately, Chloe’s original voice actress, Ashley Burch, was unable to reprise her role due to the SAG-AFTRA strike, and Chloe was voiced by Rhianna DeVries. Burch was, however, able to help work on the character of Chloe behind the scenes.
6 The Announcer – Super Smash Bros.
If you’ve played Super Smash Bros games for more than a few hours, you can probably hear the announcer’s voice in your head. “3, 2, 1… GO! Although he doesn’t say much, his iconic performance is instantly recognizable.
The first three games all featured different voice actors. Only Xander Mobus, who voices him in the current iteration of the series, has held the role for more than a single game, with his first voice appearance being in Super Smash Bros. on WiiU and Nintendo 3DS.
5 Leon Kennedy – Resident Evil
Leon Kennedy is easily one of the most popular characters in the Resident Evil series. Everyone’s favorite rookie cop turned US government agent has had a number of voice actors over the years.
Originally, he was voiced by Paul Haddad in the original Resident Evil 2. He would be replaced by Paul Mercier in Resident Evil 4. Mercier would retain the role for a few spinoffs before being replaced by Matthew Mercer in the sixth entry. Later, a new actor would be cast, Nick Apostolides, in the Resident Evil 2 remake.
4 Harley Quinn – Batman: Arkham City
The Batman Arkham games are known for having very popular and prolific voice actors in their cast, including Mark Hamill as the Joker. Perhaps equally notable is his sidekick, Harley Quinn.
Although Harley was originally voiced by longtime comedian Arleen Sorkin, the role was passed on to veteran comedian Tara Strong. Sorkin not only voiced Harley, but she also served as inspiration for the character’s creation. Strong took over because Sorkin retired from acting and overall filled Harley’s shoes well.
3 Sonic – Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic is everyone’s favorite speed demon from the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Through the various versions of Sonic, from movies to cartoons to video games, the title’s main character has been voiced by no less than eight voice actors. Out of those eight, three of them lent their talents to Sonic in the games.
Sonic’s latest voice performer is Roger Craig Smith. He’s voiced it in over twenty-five entries, including recent Sonic games. In the 2020 Sonic the Hedgehog movie, which is known to be a surprisingly great video game movie, he is voiced by the funny Ben Schwartz.
2 Garrett – Thief
Sometimes the evolution of technology plays a role in redesigning voice actors. In 2013, it was revealed that Garret’s voice actor in Thief would no longer be Stephen Russell. Instead, he would be voiced and captured by Romano Orzari.
This was controversial for fans because Russell had voiced Garrett for so long. The studio decided to switch performers because they wanted someone who could do both motion capture and voice at the same time to play with the other performers to deliver a more compelling performance.
1 Xehanort/Ansem – Kingdom Hearts
Sometimes a voice actor changes and no reasoning is ever really given. While fans and gamers may not always need an answer, many people will be wildly speculating on the reasons for a change. This is especially true if the new voice actor is perceived to be less successful in the role and fans demand that a previous actor return.
This is the case for the role of Xehanort/Ansem from Kingdom Hearts. In the first game, he was voiced by Billy Zane. He would later be replaced by veteran voice actor Richard Epcar. In fairness, however, they both succeed in their own way in the role.
Next: The Longest JRPGs Of All Time
The late Great John Madden is on the cover of NFL 23