Ubisoft has tried to fill Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, which is set in 5th century BC Greece, with as many Greek actors as possible. This, of course, sounds like common sense, but it’s lamentably worthy of note in an industry that’s often dominated by Americans, regardless of the setting. Protagonists Kassandra and Alexios are played by Melissanthi Mahut and Michael Antonakos, respectively, both of whom are Greek actors. Both actors have had several TV and film roles, and Mahut was in Origins, while Antonakos was in Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak and the Warcraft movie.
“What we tried to do was look for actors who are Greek or have Greek ancestry,” audio director Lydia Andrew told VG24/7. “We really felt like it was a nice opportunity for us to have a deep dive into the culture of Greece and obviously Ancient Greece. You can have a great actor who’s great at accents, and that’s fantastic, but you can also find great Greek actors and work with them too.”
I’ve already seen plenty of people moaning about it not mattering because anyone born in Greece today is far removed from the ancient squabbling city states, but that’s utter bollocks. It strikes me that it’s as much about respecting the cultural heritage as much as it is about having authentic voices, and nobody is more connected to the Greece of yesterday than Greeks.
There have been a lot of egregious casting mistakes, particularly in film, with actors shoehorned into roles that don’t make a lick of sense for them, but the one that always sticks with me is Highlander. A Frenchman plays a Scot alongside a Scot playing a Spaniard who is later revealed to be Egyptian. Amazing.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is due out on October 5.