Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding is almost upon us. Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, and Lindsay Wagner are just three of the incredible talents Kojima has brought in to work on Death Stranding. Looking at the rest, it is clear to see that players are in for an incredible story-telling experience. Death Stranding doesn’t just limit it’s celebrity appearances to major roles though. Hideo Kojima has sprinkled a number of other celebrity faces across the game’s regions. Conan O’Brien is one of the more hilarious additions, with Hideo Kojima tweeting this out a couple of weeks ago.
Adding to this fantastic cast are directors Jordan Vogt-Roberts and Edgar Wright who make cameos as The Film Director and Thomas Southerland, respectively. Also, Japanese Singer-Songwriter Daichi Miura and Hirokazu Hamamura, president of Enterbrain, appear across the Central Region of Death Stranding’s map. With the game not officially out, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if there were a couple more cameos for players to discover. Gamespot has all those discovered so far here.
For me, though, this raises an important question: Does Death Stranding get the most out of its celebrity cameos? I decided to look back at some of the most memorable celebrity performances in video games to help my decision-making.
In no particular order, here are some of the best that Death Stranding is up against.
Ozzy Osbourne – Brutal Legend
First and foremost, Ozzy Osbourne as the Guardian of Metal.
In a game like Brutal Legend, it would almost be a crime to not include the Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne. Summoned from the fiery pits of hell with a sick riff from Jack Black’s Eddie Riggs, Ozzy enters as the Guardian of Metal. His Brummie cadence seems so out of place in the world of Brutal Legend, but any appearance from Ozzy Osbourne is undoubtedly a good one.
Martin Sheen – Mass Effect Series
Secondly, Martin Sheen’s Illusive Man has to be mentioned.
For much of Mass Effect, Martin Sheen’s Illusive Man remains just that: illusive. He is shrouded in shadows with most of his features unclear. Well, except for the piercing, illuminated blue eyes he sports. Despite this, Martin Sheen delivers a thrilling performance through his voice acting alone. He keeps the Illusive Man interesting, with players continually wondering whether he is indeed a hero or a villain. For a series as incredible as Mass Effect, Martin Sheen steps up to the plate to deliver a fantastic performance.
Stephen Fry – Fable Series
Following on from this, I present to you the wonderful Stephen Fry as Reaver.
I would happily argue that Lionhead Studios’ Fable series is one of the best RPG series ever made. Alongside a thrilling story and exciting gameplay, Fable is chock-full of incredible celebrity performances. It’s hard to choose just one to feature here. Ben Kingsley as Sabine, Zoe Wanamaker as Theresa, and John Cleese as Jasper all spring to mind. However, Stephen Fry’s performance as the unlikable Reaver has to be the best in the series. He is egotistical, self-centered and is more than morally questionable. Stephen Fry dominates any scene he appears in as the character, making him one of the most memorable parts of the series.
Gary Oldman – Call of Duty Series
Next, we have Gary Oldman as everyone’s favorite Russian hallucination: Viktor Reznov.
Gary Oldman is a brilliant actor. That’s a fact. It still amazes me that Sirius Black and Commissioner Gordon are both Winston Churchill. Gary Oldman’s talents are endless. Now, I don’t want to take away from his Oscar win, but Oldman as Reznov in the Call of Duty series has to be up there with one of his greatest performances. Reznov is easily the most memorable character in World at War and an incredible addition to Black Ops. He provides a series of awe-inspiring speeches you feel only an actor of Gary Oldman’s ability could deliver.
Mark Hamill – Arkham Series
Finally, we have Mark Hamill’s performance as the Joker in the Arkham Series.
Without a doubt, it is the undisputed champ of video game voice acting performances. I would go as far as to say it is the best Joker performance full-stop. Hamill delivers manic laughter alongside a sinister guttural tone which highlights the character’s persona perfectly. There isn’t a lot else to say except that if you haven’t seen Arkham’s Joker, you are missing out.
Will Death Stranding’s Celebrity Performances be better?
The more I think about this question, the more I find myself unsure. Death Stranding does look incredible, but it’s hard to say whether any performance could ever live up to the greatness of Hamill’s Joker, Oldman’s Reznov or Fry’s Reaver. What makes these performances great is their stark contrast to the actors and their other roles. From what we have seen of Death Stranding, I am not blown away by any of the performances. I do hope that this will change when I finally get to play the game, but that remains to be seen.
Death Stranding is Kojima Production’s first game since Hideo Kojima split from Konami in 2015 and releases 8 November 2019.