If you’ve been playing the Black Ops games for a while, you are familiar with the iconic character Frank Woods. However, you may have noticed that Woods sounds different in the trailer for Black Ops Cold War. That’s because the original actor, James C Burns, was not recast for the role, and he’s fairly upset about it.
We don’t know the name of the actor that replaced Burns. Activision hasn’t decided to make that announcement yet. We also don’t know why Burns wasn’t recast for his role—which he has been playing for over a decade. What we do know, is that the character in the game isn’t a new Frank Woods, because Cold War has been confirmed to be a direct sequel to Black Ops 1.
Eurogamer shared the news on their site with a few juicy quotes from Burns. The actor’s two and a half-hour long video details his thoughts on the new game, the future of his YouTube channel, and what he will be doing going forward. Speaking about not reprising his role as the iconic Frank Woods, Burns said, “I’m sure the story’s going to be f***ing brilliant. It’s just that if I could have brought all that I know… like I got 80,000 pounds of weight to bring to this thing. I’ve got 11 years with this guy man, and I have all this backstory and all this front-loaded stuff…ah! I would have f***ing crushed this thing. That’s my frustration. I wish I had a shot at it. Because man I think I would have really…I would have done a great job. I’m so bummed I didn’t get a chance at it. That’s all.”
In that same video, the actor said that Activision hadn’t reached out to him in the slightest, not even to shut down his YouTube channel because of all of the Black Ops content that he shares. Some fans have speculated that Burns was not recast because he had done voice acting work for a fan-made Zombies map. The theory is that this work would have violated the contract that he had with Activision. Burns shot down that theory, though, saying in a post on Twitter that that work wasn’t an issue.
Unless or until Activision decides to tell us why they decided to go with a different voice actor for Woods, we are left to speculate. Hopefully, this is a minor blip in an otherwise well-thought-out game. It’s just odd to change a major character without ever speaking with the actor who has been playing that character for over a decade. Time will tell what went behind that decision, or if we will even get the chance to hear what happened there.
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