Have you been following Deathloop? It’s an upcoming Arkane game where a man is trapped in a timeloop and has to escape by killing eight targets in a single day. Whenever he fails, he wakes up on the beach of fictional island Blackreef and has to start again, a perpetual hangover grinding away at his skull.
The man in question is called Colt Vahn, and he’s witty, charming, and as smooth as a baby seal covered in vaseline. He also looks a bit like Idris Elba, the British actor best known for his work in Luther and The Wire. Arkane says the resemblance was an accident.
“We had some feedback on the drawings that we made, which is that Colt looks like Idris Elba,” art director Sébastien Mitton explains. “We didn’t look for inspiration in Idris Elba, but we drew him out so many times that now I agree, he looks like him. But that wasn’t our initial thoughts, just to copy his look in and put it in the game. But I would say it would be pretty cool if Idris Elba would take Colt’s part [in a Deathloop movie].”
In-game, Vahn is played by Jason Kelley, the voice of Doom Slayer in Doom Eternal. From the gameplay I’ve seen, Kelley lends Vahn a coolness wrapped up inside a blanket of goofiness. It makes him instantly likeable as a protagonist.
“Jason Kelley and Ozioma Akagha [who plays Julianna Blake] – honestly, they did a wonderful job,” game director Dinga Bakaba says. “The amount of energy and character that Jason and Ozioma brought to those two characters, and even the rest of the cast, like Alex is just amazing. And they just bring so much energy that in the beginning, when you start a project, it’s easy to say, ‘Oh, yeah, I want the character to be this actor’. And now, you’re not only thinking about who you would like to be, but who would actually live up to the performance of the voice actor.”
Due to the pandemic, much of the performances were done remotely. Where many triple-A games are recorded in a performance capture volume these days, the pandemic meant the team had to be flexible. With the oversight of narrative designer and voice director Bennett Smith, most of the VO for Deathloop was done over a computer, rather than in an LA studio.
From what I’ve seen, it’s exceptional work – the two lead characters, Julianna and Colt, have so much chemistry that I’d never have guessed the VO was recorded remotely. It’s easy to see why the developers can’t imagine these characters as anyone else. I will say this, though: Idris Elba has a very nice face.
Deathloop releases for PS5 and PC on September 14.
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