This article originally appeared on gosocial.co
Jeff Goldblum – Goosebumps: Escape from Horrorland
You might not remember Jeff Goldblum ever playing the role of Dracula – but that’s just because he never did it on TV or in a film. Back in 1996 (the same year he made Independence Day), Goldblum played the iconic vampire in Goosebumps: Escape from Horrorland, a DreamWorks Interactive PC game based on RL Stine’s best-selling series of children’s horror novels.
Christopher Walken – Ripper
Take-Two Interactive’s 1996 PC adventure game Ripper featured an entire film-worthy ensemble of respected actors, but the digital spotlight was stolen by no less than Christopher Walken, as Detective Vince Magnotta. Unfortunately, the number of actors hired meant the game cost over $4 million to make, which it failed to recoup in sales.
Kristen Bell – Assassin’s Creed
In 2007, Kristen Bell – still best known for TV’s Veronica Mars at the time – appeared as Lucy Stillman in the original Assassin’s Creed, the actress’ likeness being digitally rendered via motion capture and CGI. Bell reprised the role in the first two Assassin’s Creed sequels, but her character was killed off after the by-then more famous Bell allegedly demanded a percentage of the game profits.
Martin Sheen – Mass Effect
BioWare’s sci-fi series Mass Effect is another video game franchise notable for hiring a lot of well-known actors, and perhaps the most notable is Martin Sheen. The seasoned star of Apocalypse Now and The West Wing joined the series in 2010’s Mass Effect 2 in the role of the Illusive Man, which he would reprise in 2012’s Mass Effect 3.
Dana Plato – Night Trap
1992 Sega release Night Trap utilized full motion video technology to create what was essentially an interactive horror movie. It boasted one of the first video game appearances from a name actor: Dana Plato, famed for TV sitcom Diff’rent Strokes. However, Night Trap soon proved controversial for its violent content, which inadvertently led to the introduction of age ratings for video games.
Gary Coleman – Postal 2
Dana Plato isn’t the only former Diff’rent Strokes star to appear in a controversial video game. The sitcom’s best-known actor, Gary Coleman, was digitally rendered for Postal 2, the 2003 sequel to the infamously violent and distasteful first-person shooter game from publisher Whiptail Interactive. Coleman features in the game as a fictionalised version of himself.
Burt Reynolds – Saints Row: The Third
After the first two Saints Row games were criticised for ripping off Grand Theft Auto, developers Volition and publishers THQ decided to take a more tongue-in-cheek approach on 2011’s Saints Row: The Third. To this end, they hired none other than Burt Reynolds to appear in the game as a fictionalised version of himself, playing the mayor of the game’s city Steelport.
Christopher Lloyd – Toonstruck
Thanks to 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Christopher Lloyd was already known for appearing in live action/cartoon crossovers. Lloyd brought his madcap charm to a pixellated world in Virgin Interactive’s 1996 PC game Toonstruck, which cast the actor as a cartoonist transported to the world that he created. Alas, despite the presence of Lloyd and other well-known actors, the game flopped.
Kevin Spacey – Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
In 2014, Kevin Spacey made his first video game appearance as antagonist Jonathan Irons in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, the 11th entry in the long-running first person shooter series. Following Spacey’s disgrace in 2017, rumors spread that new downloadable content would see his performance replaced by Tom Hanks, but this proved untrue.
Sylvester Stallone – Demolition Man
Created for the long-since defunct 3DO console, 1994’s video game offshoot of 1993 blockbuster Demolition Man featured plenty of footage from the film itself in cutscenes. However, in addition to this, leading man Sylvester Stallone himself did some green screen work specifically for the game, produced by Virgin Interactive Entertainment.
Kit Harington – Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
Kit Harington, known mostly for his role as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones, made an appearance as the main antagonist Salen Kotch in futuristic, space-based shooter Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Although the Call of Duty franchise was in a bit of a rough patch around the time Infinite Warfare came out, Harington’s acting was well-received.
Keanu Reeves – Cyberpunk 2077
Famous for playing Neo in The Matrix, and John Wick in the franchise of the same name, Keanu Reeves is also no stranger to appearing in video games. He has previously made appearances in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Constantine: The Video Game, and Cyperpunk 2077, as the military veteran Johnny Silverhand. Unfortunately, Cyberpunk 2077 was riddled with bugs and glitches, which muted its effect on the gaming world.
Conan O’Brien – Death Stranding
TV talk show host Conan O’Brien makes an unexpected appearance in Death Stranding as a holographic version of himself. The role isn’t large, and his appearance is more of an Easter egg than a genuine plot point, but it’s interesting to see him in game form nevertheless.
Ricky Gervais – Grand Theft Auto IV
Ricky Gervais’ part in Grand Theft Auto IV is fleeting, but amusing all the while. He is playing himself and is one of two comedians performing routines at the Split Sides comedy club. Gervais’ routines are similar to his real-life stuff, so it is certainly not for the easily offended.
Rami Malek – Until Dawn
Before he became Freddie Mercury, Rami Malek gave his voice and motion capture performance to the horror video game, Until Dawn. Malek plays Josh Washington, one of the eight teenagers trapped in a secluded cabin. Malek went on to win multiple awards for his performance in Bohemian Rhapsody and so, unsurprisingly, didn’t return for the Until Dawn spinoff, The Quarry.
Matthew Perry – Fallout: New Vegas
Matthew Perry unintentionally performed his audition for Fallout: New Vegas on television, when he expressed his love for Fallout 3 on the Ellen DeGeneres show. From there, he was hired to play Benny, the secondary antagonist in Fallout: New Vegas. New Vegas is still regarded as one of the very best Fallout games, with Perry’s character a firm fan favorite.
Terry Crews – Crackdown 3
Terry Crews is a keen gamer and has lived out his dream of appearing in one, starring in Crackdown 3. The game allows players to play as Crews’ character, Commander Jaxon, in a world of futuristic gang warfare. The game follows Jaxon from the age of 14 into full adulthood, with the motion capture making Crews’ character look and feel like the man himself.
Ozzy Osbourne – Brutal Legend
The Guardian of Metal in Brutal Legend is unmistakably Ozzy Osbourne, with the hair, tinted round glasses, and the ability to transform to and from molten magma. There’s no proof that Osbourne has that last trait in real life, but we wouldn’t put it past him. Osbourne’s character serves as a shopkeeper in the game, with the ability to upgrade players’ weapons.
Phil Collins – Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
The drummer/singer Phil Collins plays an important, yet unexpected role in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories. He appears as himself and is the subject of multiple assassination attempts. When players complete the In The Air Tonight mission, they are offered the opportunity to purchase a ticket, which allows uninterrupted access to watch Phil Collins’ animated self play the song of the same title in its entirety.
Shaquille O’Neal – Shaq Fu
Shaquille O’Neal is a much-loved former basketballer who had his very own video game on the shelves at the height of his fame. Shaq Fu came out in 1994 and isn’t a great deal different from games such as Mortal Kombat or Tekken, 2D button mashing games where you have to fight your opponent until the death. Only in Shaq Fu, you can fight using Shaquille O’Neal himself.
Sean Bean – Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Emperor Martin Septim in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was played by Sean Bean, an actor known for playing roles in Game of Thrones and James Bond. Bean is also known for his characters rarely surviving the duration of the TV show or movie he’s acting in, which is no different here. Martin Septim unfortunately didn’t make it to Elder Scrolls V.
Willem Dafoe – Beyond: Two Souls
Willem Dafoe joins actors Elliot Page and Eric Winter in the action-adventure game, Beyond: Two Souls. Dafoe plays a doctor, caring for a young girl who has psychic connections with a mysterious entity known as Aiden. Beyond: Two Souls was widely praised for its interactivity and attentive storytelling.
Elijah Wood – The Legend of Spyro
It may come as a surprise to find out that your favorite talking purple dragon, Spyro, was voiced by Elijah Wood – known for playing Frodo Baggins in the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies. Wood stuck around as Spyro’s voice actor for the three games in The Legend of Spyro trilogy.
John Goodman – Rage
As well as voicing Sulley in Monsters Inc., John Goodman has also played the role of Dan Hagar in Rage. Hagar is a resident, and leader of, the Hagar settlement, as well as the rescuer of the game’s main protagonist Nicholas Raine in the prologue. Hagar is a no-nonsense, but ultimately, good-natured character.
Ice Cube – Call of Duty: Black Ops
Call of Duty has had an impressive list of celebrity cameos, with Black Ops hosting a multitude of famous faces and voices. N.W.A. rapper Ice Cube is one of these voices, appearing in almost every mission as Chief Petty Officer Joseph Bowman, until his death in the Payback mission.
Ray Liotta – Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Ray Liotta’s part in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was a major one, playing the playable protagonist Thomas Vercetti. He was the first playable character with a voice in the GTA series, as characters such as Claude Speed from GTA 3 had been known for their silence.
Gary Oldman – Call of Duty: World at War and Black Ops
Gary Oldman was a recurring character in the Treyarch-developed Call of Duty titles, World at War and Black Ops. He plays the Russian squad leader, Sgt. Reznov, a firm fan-favorite character from arguably the golden era of the Call of Duty franchise. Oldman has also lent his voice to The Legend of Spyro alongside Elijah Wood.
Samuel L. Jackson – Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Samuel L. Jackson plays the voice of the police officer and main antagonist, Frank Tenpenny, in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Tenpenny seems to be an affable character but as the storyline unfolds, his corruption comes to the fore, when players realize that he and his group are allowing the city to be flooded with substances by a rival gang.
Snoop Dogg – True Crime: Streets of L.A.
Snoop Dogg has one of the most recognizable voices in the world and has lent it to many video games, including True Crime: Streets of L.A, where players get to play as Snoop Dogg himself. The part is more of a cameo role, and has little effect on the game’s overall storyline, but it presents players with a bit of fun nonetheless.
Patrick Stewart – Castlevania
Legendary actor Patrick Stewart has given his voice to over 20 different video games, including playing Zobek in Castlevania. In addition to being one of the main characters in the game, Stewart is also the narrator, making a return in the game’s sequel, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2.
Liam Neeson – Fallout 3
Liam Neeson plays James in Fallout 3, another franchise that is often littered with celebrity cameos. Neeson plays James, a scientist grieving the death of his wife during childbirth, and attempting to keep his infant child safe from super mutant attacks. James’ main ambition throughout the game was to finish a water-purifying project he had been part of when his wife was alive.
Kiefer Sutherland – Metal Gear Solid V
Kiefer Sutherland is no stranger to lending his voice to games, having appeared most notably in Call of Duty and Metal Gear Solid V. Sutherland gave his voice and his body, via motion capture to the role of Big Boss and Venom Snake, after initially being recommended as he could act and sound like someone in his late 40s.
Mark Hamill – Batman: Arkham Series
Best known for playing Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars movies, Mark Hamill has also played another iconic role, voicing The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series. The series was well-received, with Hamill’s voice acting praised. This made casting easy for the production team when they decided to turn the animated TV show into a trilogy of video games.
Norman Reedus – Death Stranding
Norman Reedus produced the standout performance among a cast of stars in sci-fi action game Death Stranding. Reedus played the main character Sam Bridges, delivering as realistic a performance as you could expect from an actor in a video game. It isn’t easy to standout in a cast including the likes of Mads Mikkelsen, Margaret Qualley, and Léa Seydoux, but Reedus manages it.
James McAvoy – 12 Minutes
The mystery game 12 Minutes features three top-class actors in James McAvoy, Daisy Ridley, and Willem Dafoe. The three characters are stuck in a time loop, with players having to work out how to escape it. The game involves pointing, clicking, and looking for clues with a top-down style of gameplay.
Aidan Gillen – Quantum Break
It’s undeniable that games are becoming more and more like TV series and movies as the graphics get better and the scripts get more dense. Quantum Break intentionally went down this avenue, with episodic gameplay and integrated live-action segments. Aidan Gillen, of Game of Thrones and Peaky Blinders, was brought in to play Paul Serene, who very quickly goes from friend to enemy.
Nicolas Cage – Dead by Daylight
Nicolas Cage has had an interesting acting career, going from popular actor, to out-of-favor actor, ironic megastar and back to popular actor again. In 2023, he made his video game debut in multiplayer survival title, Dead by Daylight as part of a DLC. He plays himself, with the official title for his role being ‘Superstar’.
Emma Stone – Sleeping Dogs
The martial arts-based game Sleeping Dogs has an all-star voice cast, including the likes of Lucy Liu, Tzi Ma, and Emma Stone. It focuses on an undercover police officer working in Hong Kong, targeting a gang using nothing but his bare hands. The game was widely appreciated by players and critics upon its release and has a 9/10 rating on the online game store, Steam.
Dr. Dre – Grand Theft Auto V
Grand Theft Auto V Online has been continuously updated in the decade since its initial release, with a whole host of new characters introduced for various missions. In a more recent update, Dr. Dre offered his voice and motion capture performance to the game, playing himself alongside the main storyline character Franklin as the two partner up to create a talent agency.
Jack Black – Broken Age
Hollywood actor and musician Jack Black joined Elijah Wood in the indie game Broken Age. Black plays a ruler who lives in the clouds in the point-and-click-style game that blends fantasy and science-fiction together. As indie games go, Broken Age is beautifully made, with a cute artistic style.