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- Assassin's Creed Odyssey
Ubisoft is placing a high priority on hiring Greek voice actors for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey in order to avoid whitewashing the setting of the game and making the experience more authentic. This was confirmed by audio director Lydia Andrew in an interview during E3.
Talking to VG247, Andrew said, “What we tried to do was look for actors who are Greek or have Greek ancestry … 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.” This is a positive step forward when it comes to casting representation in media, with characters based outside the United States often portrayed by American voice actors putting on accents, sometimes even with white voice actors portraying non-white characters.
The most significant example of this prioritized casting is with the main characters of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Female protagonist Kassandra will be voiced by Melissanthi Mahut, who served as voice talent in Assassin’s Creed: Origins and starred in some short films. Male protagonist Alexios is being voiced by Michael Antonakos, who has had minor roles in a few notable films, namely Warcraft and the infamous Uwe Boll adaptation of Postal. Both of the actors were Born in Greece.
White voice actors portraying non-white characters in video games is a regrettably common occurrence. Nadine from Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, a South African black woman, is voiced by Laura Bailey, a white actress from the United States. This is only one example of many, and Naughty Dog’s creative director Neil Druckmann’s lacklustre response at the time that “your outward appearance doesn’t matter at all” when casting for video games shows how far the medium still needs to come. Thankfully, Ubisoft is going in the right direction.