I hadn't heard that Max Von Sydow (him from the Exorcist, The Seventh Seal, er-ah-um Judge Dredd and the voice of Vigo in Ghostbusters 2) was voicing a major character in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Mixed feelings: I had this cynical concern that half the reason there were so many repeated, annoying and repeatedly annoying voices in Oblivion and Fallout 3 was because Bethesda blew all their actor budget on hiring Patrick Stewart and Liam Neeson respectively. I really don't understand that kind of stunt-casting in games - you don't see the guy, so the same promotional clout just doesn't exist. Why not spend that money and complication on hiring a dozen great-but-cheap unknowns to better bring your world to multi-voiced life?
The honourable Mr Von Sydow, however, is much more of a character actor than a limelight-hogging celebrity type, and I suspect he's a damn sight cheaper too.
I think the old legend could actually fit the game more naturally than his arguably more recognisable predecessors; he's got a long history of being authorative and magnetic even whilst trapped in the most horrific guff/shlock/camp (Dredd, Ming in Flash Gordon, far too many TV movies...) For instance:
Oh, that film. That film.
Anyway, back to Max circa 2011. Certainly, these making-of-Skyrim videos from Game Enforcer suggest his strangely pan-continental, sonorous tones will work well. Doesn't sound like he's phoning it in, either. It appears he's a noble character of some sort, but I'm still holding out some hope that Bethesda are going to reveal Ming The Merciless himself is Skyrim's big bad. Magic rings, dodgy robes, funny facial hair? C'mon, he's made for it.
Oh yes, and I'm sure many of you will be glad to hear that Jeremy Soule is returning for soundtrack duties too.
What I really need to know, however, is that the guy who did Brother bloody Jauffre and about 50 per cent of Oblivion's incidental male NPCs will not return. Please. I'm sure Ralph Cosham is an absolutely lovely bloke, but I hear his voice in my nightmares.
Still, this makes me feel better:
Yeah, you'd better accept my surrender. No, wait.