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Motion Capture: An End To The Nolan North Monopoly

Nolan North is a legend. We love him as Nathan Drake of course and we’re even beginning to enjoy him as Desmond Miles in the Assassin’s Creed series. The only trouble is that he’s also Will Grey (Dark Void), Hades (God Of War), Joe (Lost Planet series), Deadpool (MvC3), The Prince (Prince Of Persia 2008), Devlin (Singularity) and Musaad Mayfield (Valkyria Chronicles).

Clearly North is good. He’s got the everyman thing down and he can do a lot of good support work too. He’s so good though that he seems like the first choice on every sound designers’ list of voice actors. The flair and wit of Drake and the subtle vulnerability and strength of Desmond are being chipped away by his spread of work elsewhere.

Now I don’t want to deny him work. That would be horribly unfair. If you’re good at your trade you should be rewarded with more and more offers to practice it. Fair play Mr North. However, the rise and refinement of motion capture for videogames could mean we hear a little less from our friend Nolan.

We only have to look at games such as Enslaved, Heavy Rain or LA Noire to see where motion capture is taking us. Genuine acting performances in videogames. Actors provided voice and motion to their characters. Now, Nolan North has a wealth of acting experience and will likely adapt to these new challenges, but there are plenty of other actors out there who seem keen to be involved in the games industry and keen to supply that full body and voice work.

This is an exciting new field for the acting community. A field where physical appearance means nothing, but voice and motion mean everything. There’s a place for Nolan North in that world, but I doubt it will feel like he’s dominating it in quite the same way.




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