Tagged: Red Dead Redemption

Pay for an Actor Shoutout with Cameo

Pay for an Actor Shoutout with Cameo

Back when Dragon Age Inquisition came out, before the fans creeped me out and I had to back away, voice actors from the game were very active and popular on social media. I especially remember Greg Ellis (Cullen) and Steve Valentine (Alistair) interacting frequently with fans, but that may be because those are the two I personally was paying attention to.

Ellis was recording phone notifications for free as Cullen. The three files I saved have the following dialog: “Inquisitor, you have a message…OH! Andraste’s tits!“, “Maker’s breath, answer the phone. This is ridiculous.“, and “Can it wait? I’m in the middle of some trebuchet calibrations… Did you just touch my bottom? This is ridiculous oh I’ve fallen down!” The fans were greatly amused, as was I. Valentine saw the potential and did something along the same lines, but behind a paywall of some type that I can’t recall now.

Why am I bringing this up five years later? First off, that was the start of my interest in following the voice actors, and now motion capture actors, from the games I love. More interestingly the service to get these types of personalized audio/video clips from video game actors, musicians, athletes, and more is now a real thing. So we don’t have to hope the actors are willing to take time for free, we can pay them for a birthday wish or whatever else (within reason).

Cameo.com is the site that I found out about from actors in Red Dead Redemption 2 posting on social media. Their site says “Cameo is a platform where fans can book personalized video shoutouts from their favorite celebrities, athletes, or influencers. Our mission is to create the most authentic and memorable fan experiences in the world.”

Here’s a list for you of some game actors I have found:

  1. Roger Clark – Arthur Morgan in Red Dead Redemption 2
  2. Kaili Vernoff – Susan Grimshaw in RDR2 and Miranda Cowan in GTA5
  3. Peter Blomquist -Micah Bell in Red Dead Redemption 2
  4. Rob Wiethoff – John Marston in the Red Dead Redemption series
  5. Meeya Davis – Tilly Jackson in Red Dead Redemption 2
  6. Raphael Sbarge – Kaidan Alenko in Mass Effect series
  7. Ned Luke – Michael De Santa in GTA5
  8. Steve Valentine – Alistair Theirin in Dragon Age series (I’d bet this is due to me tweeting to him repeatedly about it)
  9. Jennifer Hale – Commander Shepard in Mass Effect Series
  10. Steve Blum – Oghren in Dragon Age
  11. NEW! Greg Ellis – Cullen in Dragon Age & Anders in Origins Awakenings

I tried searching for others like Greg Ellis, Steve Valentine, Jennifer Hale, but did not find them. If anyone finds more game actors please comment and I will add to this list! Take time to check out the previously recorded items on their pages, it’s entertaining.

Done Playing: Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360)

I’m not a huge cowboy fan but I appreciate the change of pace from the typical bro-love of space marines and Earth toned fantasy characters every now and again. Red Dead Revolver came along at just the right boiling point in 2004 and although there have been plenty of titles to marry a controller with the Wild West, none have ever done it as well as Red Dead Redemption.

Set at a boiling point of its own, John Marston heads back West at the behest of an expanding government agency that’s blackmailed him into a corner. A former bandit on the path of redemption (cue title card) he enters the fictional world of New Austin just as modern civilization catches up. Horse paths are well worn, wagons and wannabe gunslingers race back and forth while townsfolk talk of new technology and the Capital’s looming shadow. I expected to be all alone out in in the wild and seeing a lot of similar sun-baked terrain but given the setting and the talent of the environment artists there’s only a lull in the scenery when it’s well planned.

read this whole thing I wrote or just watch the beauty unfold above

The atmosphere is what continually impressed. The rippling heat, the stark shadows cast over the terrain at noontime and the glowing blue-white hue of a full moon night. But the storms! Oh, how amazing storms are in this game! It’s the kind of powerful display I wish every storm could be like in real life. Flashes light up the sky and the individual raindrops falling in front of you while the peeling thunder always sounds imposing; so much so that it sometimes spooks your horse. Little details like the shimmery puddles that last through the day or the extra-bright sunshine following a storm really show an attention to detail and mood that very few games can match.

The wildlife is another highlight that keeps the vast barren spaces alive and imposing. Dozens of creatures roam the world, some only at certain times of day, and many of them easily provoked and more powerful than you might expect. The press materials promised a realistic food chain but I never saw much animal-on-animal action. Rather, it was a random hunter whose approaching gunfire almost always had my pistol at the ready. I could go on for days about this amazing, unpredictable and gorgeous world but I’ll suffice to say that it’s the one thing that pulls this game above the ‘Grand Theft Horse’ expectations and makes it truly special.

That’s not to say the gameplay or story are a disappointment. Without all the terrible, modern pop culture to cull from, Redemption’s story is pretty basic and, given the setting, even the most despicable actions are easily justified. Many of the missions involve random strangers you’ll meet and some unfold over the course of the game without a single bullet being fired, others are wrapped up after hunting down specific plantlife or animals. ‘Random acts of Honor’ pop up regularly as you explore the world and let you decide how to deal with fleeing convicts, stagecoach hijackers, kidnappers, and assorted ruffians. For as forward-thinking as all that stuff is you’ll still be gunning your way through a large chunk of the Wild West’s population. The writing does a good job of explaining John’s motivations no matter how many times you hear it repeated but in the end the story stuff feels too much like Grand Theft Auto.

That would’ve been a selling point in 2002 but here it was almost the last thing I wanted to do. It starts out strong with story missions that see you wrangling wild horses and herding cattle but soon enough it falls back on cover-based, slow-mo enhanced gunfights against armies on obvious setpieces. Rockstar has definitely pushed way out ahead of GTA4 but this isn’t quite the new standard in open world gaming. Maybe that’s why there’s so much ambient, ancillary stuff to do. I’ve already put in over 80 hours and I’d guess less than 1/4 of that was spent on the story, even less in Multiplayer. So come for the experience of an honest-to-god Wild West wonderland and stick around for the quality storytelling. Just be sure to wander well away from the familiar mission structure as often as you can.

Achieving: A Lot with Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption may prove to be a landmark title in Achievement design when we look back on this crazy social scoring meme in ten years. Perfectly metered story Achievements unlock as you progress but the ancillary stuff — the X number of kills with a weapon, the well played hand of Poker, the horse breaking — are all things you could easily unlock by just playing around. Then there are the classic Wild West moments to be recreated (tying a woman to the train tracks), endurance challenges like clearing out all gang hideouts in one 24-hour day, and cheeky pop culuture references like ‘Bearly Legal’ and ‘Heading South on a White Bronco’. Those are all specific things to accomplish but with a little focus they’re not overly frustrating or even terribly challenging. But, of course, there are the really tough multiplayer Achievements which I’m mostly incapable of , or too antisocial, to ever get.

One of my proudest moments is what’s pictured above. Rockstar’s Social Club is a whole other realm of meta-gaming layered on top of Achievements and PlayStation 3 Trophies. Connect your account there with your Xbox Live or PSN credentials and it pulls in an incredible amount of data about how you play. Those numbers filter into the page you see here that visually tracks your progress towards 100%-ing the game. It also offers tips and helps keep your head in the game even when you’re just sitting at your computer. The 100% ‘Redeemed’ Achievement was almost simply a matter of playing the game for me making the following accomplishments a little more rewarding:

Most Wanted: Become a Public Enemy for 10 minutes and escape alive in a Public Free Roam Game

I’ve never sought out a Public Enemy in a Free Roam game myself but it seems like the longer you’re the most wanted the more Experience your hide is worth. At least, that’s how it felt as I’d hole up in a good camping spot to abuse the A.I. cops for 9 minutes only to have a real person come gun me down in the 10th. After two days of serious effort (the whole process took me about 35 minutes each time) I finally managed to outlast other players and the cops to get this sweet 10 points.

Unnatural Selection: Kill one of every animal species in the game in any game mode.

Killing and skinning animals was a surprising experience for me. I wasn’t appalled by the act but it definitely gave me pause every time it happened. Then I got desensitized and the elongated skinning animations were more offensive than the gore. I waited as long as possible to go on an animal killing spree, hoping no one would spot me knifing a pig or sniping a cow from the outskirts of town. Turns out, the Achievement is for wild animals so I apologize to the domestic dogs, chickens and cattle I pointlessly slaughtered. I feel somewhat proud, then, that the last animal I needed for the unlock was a wild horse. Of all the stray bullets I sent fly throughout the game not a single one (or any of my deliberate shots for that matter) ever hit a wild stallion… until it was at the top of my hit list.

Hit the Trail: Get from Blackwater to Escalera before sundown in a public Free Roam session.

This one isn’t terribly hard, you basically ride from one distant point on the map to another, but waiting around for sunrise to set out on this particular session proved hair-raising. Just as the day broke on the town of Blackwater another online player decided to make it his mission to gun me down repeatedly. He set me back by several minutes but eventually I respawned far enough away that I could call on my horse and tear off out of town. I don’t know if he was set on following me but his dot on the map kept pace for a while, making my hands shake as I managed my horse’s stamina. As I rode across the border into Mexico he disappeared but then he began fast traveling to destinations ahead of me. At one point he was almost back on me but I was speeding by on a trail while he plodded through the brush. Finally I coasted into Escalera with loads of time before sundown, feeling more accomplished than I rightly should have thanks to my improptu pursuer. *BA~GOINK* Another nerve-wracking 10 points… and then he caught up and gunned me down again.