Rest In Peace, Zaeed Massani

By Alec Meer on February 6th, 2013 at 6:00 pm.

Aw. I know not everyone was as charmed as I was by Mass Effect 2 and 3′s scarfaced, cockney mercenary Zaeed Massani, but I found his no-nonsense, surly, partially malevolent geezerishness made him an essential part of my ME2 squad. His voice actor did great things in terms of turning, essentially, Dirty Den into a hard-bitten space bruiser, so I’m sad to hear that the chap behind those beyond-gravelly tones, Robin Sachs, sadly passed away on the first of February this year.

Londoner (no surprises there) Mr Sachs, who also voiced characters including Lord Harrowmont in the first Dragon Age, was but 61. You’ve probably seen him in any amount of genre TV, but he’s perhaps best known for playing Ethan Rayne, cocky nemesis of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Giles. More recently he’s done more in gaming than on TV, popping up in Resident Evils, Rainbow Sixes, Kain & Lynches…

I thought Zaaed, though, was a particularly great character (more in potential than actual usage, admittedly) with a great performance behind him even if, as I very strongly suspect was indeed the case, it did at times sound as though he was seeing the script for the very first time. He wasn’t given anywhere near enough prominence and had something of a thankless role due to originally being brutally sliced off into ME2 DLC, but his grounded, take-no-shit nature and war stories made him appealingly and invaluably incongruous in a game so given to flights of high-fantasy.

Rest in peace, sir. It’s very sad to think that we won’t ever get to see Mr Sachs lending similarly sonorous Laaahndaaahnisms to any future games.

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35 Comments »

  1. VA1N says:

    Oh shit. I didn’t realize he was Ethan Rayne in Buffy. He played that role perfectly. I’m sad to see him go and send my warmest wishes to his friends and family.

    • brulleks says:

      Indeed. I had no idea either. Not to place a value on life by way of acting roles, but that was even more of a kicker. A sad day.

    • D-e-f- says:

      Yea that is super sad. I read about it on Whedonesque yesterday. Such terrible news :(
      RIP again

  2. bodydomelight says:

    That is a shame. I agree that Zaeed was a potentially great character transformed into a simply good one by underuse. Would have loved to have seen more of him in future ME games, seems unlikely now.

  3. jellydonut says:

    I am ridiculously saddened by this. I loved his portrayal of Zaeed, and was vainly hoping he would show up in some of my favorite TV shows later on. :(

  4. The Pink Ninja says:

    Zaeed was a really underrated character and Mr Sachs’ gravelly performance was a big part of why he ranked so highly in my estimation. His appearance in ME3 was distressingly clipped.

    Rest in peace, I hope you get to see Jessie again on the other side.

    • brulleks says:

      Clipped? Odd, he didn’t appear at all in my play-through, despite him having survived ME2. Maybe it’s because I played his dlc after finishing the main campaign.

      • DarkFenix says:

        It’s a very brief appearance in a side quest on the Citadel. Probably quite easy to miss and it was a disappointingly small appearance, very underrated character.

      • Faxmachinen says:

        He didn’t even appear in my ME2 campaign 0_o

        Edit: Oh, it’s a DLC. Also, I should learn to read.

    • Kadayi says:

      Agreed. I really liked Zaeed as a character. The fact that his entire life history seemed to consist of him undertaking crazy missions and being the sole survivor lead me to wisely conclude that expecting him to command the troops at the end of ME2 would be a grave error Vs someone more team player orientated like Garrus. :)

      Saddened indeed to hear that at the untimely passing of Mr Sachs. My condolences to his family.

  5. Bluerps says:

    “Shepard! I was just waxing goddamn nostalgic!”

    Yeah, I liked that character. I could listen to him waxing goddamn nostalgic all day.

  6. fullbleed says:

    That’s really sad. I guess I was wasn’t alone then in my love for him Mass Effect 2, he was always a permanent fixture of my team. His gruff no nonsense space geezer perfectly complemented my equally tough renegade shep. I loved hearing his stories, such a shame we wont get to hear any more.

  7. fezmonkey says:

    Very sad. Personally, Zaeed was my favorite squad mate. I always took him along on missions just to see what he’d say and frequently checked in on him just in case he had a new war story. Every single thing he saw reminded him of some guy he shot or somebody who blew up. It’s a tragedy that we will never hear that gravelly voice again.

    • Artiforg says:

      You’ve said exactly what I wanted to say. I loved Zaeed. I’ve played through ME2 at least 3 times and every single time I have picked Zaeed for every mission as I just loved listening to what he had to say. I was hoping he was going to be a larger part of ME3 (still haven’t played much of it).

  8. caddyB says:

    Damn. I loved Zaeed. And I recognized him in DA:O too. Life is incredibly goddamn unfair sometimes.

  9. daphne says:

    Also Saul Karath from KotOR. RIP.

  10. werix says:

    This is sad. Out of all the squadmates introduced in ME2 that were not a carry over from ME1, he was hands down my second favorite after the Scientist Salarian, even though you could tell his character was cut down due to being relegated to on Disk DLC.

  11. JonasKyratzes says:

    He was also very good in several episodes of Babylon 5.

    • PatrickSwayze says:

      Ooh what series?

      I’m just in the middle of season three currently.

      • MacGuffin says:

        He was in one of the first episodes of Series 2 as a member of the Grey Council and as the same character (with a different name) in the “In the Beginning” prequel. I think he played a Narn in an episode as well.

      • frenz0rz says:

        Seasons 2, 3 and 5, as well as “In the Beginning”.

        According to IMDB he played Hendronn, that haughty religious caste chap in the Grey Council; Na’Kal, the Narn captain who likes Swedish meatballs; and Na’Tok, another Narn you’ll not have encountered yet. As you’re only on season 3 you’ll not have seen “In the Beginning” yet, but he plays another Grey Council member in that.

        Coincidentally, it seems he also played a character named Valen in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager.

        Sad times though. I’ve not played with Zaeed in ME2&3, but I hate to see a good actor (or anyone else, for that matter) die before their time.

  12. Ravenger says:

    He also played Sarris in Galaxy quest, another great role (and one of my all-time favourite films). He was very good working with costumes and posthetics, as shown by his B5 stuff too.

    • trjp says:

      Awesome film

      BY GRABTHAR’S HAMMER

    • ffordesoon says:

      Oh, shit, really? I didn’t realize that.

      Then again, I should have. Sarris was a character who wouldn’t have worked if a less accomplished actor had played him. That seems to have been Sachs’ favorite sort of character.

  13. Flint says:

    Didn’t like Zaeed at all in ME2 (partly probably because as a DLC character he seemed to completely disappear in presence after his own missions), but they really fleshed him out wonderfully in ME3. Quite liked the brief moments Sheppy had with him there.

    RIP.

  14. PopeBob says:

    I’ll never stop loving Zaeed and also grudgingly the one decent game he was in. I still laugh like a maniac to this “music video” of his Jessie story (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9-dLzzQuVM). I was also huge into Buffy when I was younger, so putting a real person face to his being gone is nice. Big fan of his work, will certainly continue to enjoy it for years to come.

  15. Navagon says:

    I was expecting Zaeed to be a tacked on character with an interesting facet or two. Instead there was a character brimming with personality and a gritty charm of his own. Robin Sachs was key to making that a reality.

    RIP, Mr Sachs.

  16. ffordesoon says:

    Bioware created Zaeed. Robin Sachs made him a character.

    If anyone else had voiced him, he would’ve been first out the airlock, because there was very little to his character in the actual writing. Robin Sachs’ performance turned him into a character I always wanted to see more of.

    Ethan Rayne was a well-written character, but Robin Sachs’ performance elevated him to a classic one.

    Damn fine actor. He will be missed.

  17. Beybars says:

    RIP, I took Zaeed with me on every mission in ME2. And I hated Saul Karath’s guts in Kotor (That’s how much convincing the voice acting was).

    Again RIP.

  18. HeatherWind says:

    I remember him most from the Dragon Age series, Buffy and Galaxy Quest – he was an amazing talent. But please help get the word out – he left 2 Pit bull dogs behind that have been sent to a shelter, and are due to be killed March 1st if they aren’t rescued! http://www.whedonopolis.com/rescue-alert-robin-sachs-dogs-need-a-new-home/

  19. Poliphilo says:

    Haven’t gotten round to ME2 yet, but will make sure to pay extra attention to his performance when I do. Sad loss.

  20. wearedevo says:

    He’s waxing goddamn nostalgic with the god children in heaven now :(

    But seriously, he was one of the best characters in ME2, second only to Mordin. This is all due to Sachs. On paper, a grizzled mercenary is a pretty stock standard character, but Sachs elevated him.

  21. Leramar says:

    R.I.P Robin, you will be missed :’(

    Does anyone remember his grizzled shark driving instructor character in Spongebob Squarepants?

    “Would anyone care for a bonbon?”
    Some guy in the back puts his hand up: “I’ll have one”
    “How does it taste?”
    “It’s a chocolaty taste sensation”
    “NO EATING IN MY CLASS!!” picks the guy up and throws him head first through the door.

  22. Bob says:

    How sad. I liked the voice acting he did for Zaeed and I always had him (Zaeed) in my squad in the earlier levels because his incendiary ammo and grenades helped with the enemies that had regen.

  23. dethtoll says:

    I was -just- playing through the trilogy. (Finished ME3 for the first time too, whoof!) While I don’t think I was hearing his voice the day he died, I was certainly hearing it at least a few days before. And I heard it a couple days ago, when my SamusAranShep was making her goodbyes before the final push. Feels especially poignant now…