In honour of the re-release of Assassin’s Creed Rogue, we’ve been revisiting the way video games do accents. Our medium of choice gets a lot of flack for not getting accents right all the time, but that’s only because you’re not paying attention. There are some accents that games literally never get wrong.
Games may have given you the impression that anyone from England will have one of three accents: received pronunciation (villain; sexy accomplice who turns out to be a villain); impenetrable Yorkshire (oppressed peasant and/or side quest giver); cockney (chirpy, lovable sidekick providing comic relief). This is, of course, only a half truth. Many of us do have varied regional accents, but until 2007 we weren’t actually allowed to go abroad unless we have or can adopt one of those three on demand, so as not to scare North Americans. These rules were widened to include South West regional accents after Hot Fuzz introduced their existence to a wider audience (although inhabitants of Cornwall have elected to stay in Cornwall because there’s nothing worth seeing over the Tamar anyway).
In any case, once you move to London you have to adopt approximately the same accent and cheery disposition as Dick Van Dyke in MAIHRree POHP-ins! How fondly do we all remember Tomi Undergallows from Neverwinter Nights, with his classic lines like ‘Well, I’ll be a nekkid monkey’s uncle!’ (actual dialogue from the game)? That’s right: very fondly. One need only listen to the likes of real life hard man Danny Dyer to know how extremely unbelievable British accents can actually get, so it’s heartwarming to see the accent that lets us all know a character is from London in the likes of Vivian from Call of Duty: World War II, most of the cast from The Getaway, and everyone’s favourite time warping hero Tracer. CHEERS LAV, THE CAH-VALREES ERE!
Correctly pronounced Oireland, of course. Every English person ever believes they can do a great Irish accent — and we’re entirely right about that, since every Irish person you’ll ever meet will either speak like the Lucky Charms leprechaun mascot after doing a rough line of speed off a pissy club toilet cistern, or will almost immediately segue into a kind of weird version of Yorkshire, maybe? During my
reading of Wikipedia research I discovered that as of 2013 approximately 33 million Americans self report as having Irish heritage, which is almost seven times the population of the Republic of Ireland, which is pretty interesting.
Given that all this is true, it follows that you can hire literally anyone to do an Irish accent and it’ll be just as good as the real thing. This is evidenced by the nigh unbelievable authenticity of such characters as Shay Patrick Cormac from Assassin’s Creed Rogue (whose accent has been subject to an extensive and far reaching investigation by this very website) and Sean Devlin from The Saboteur, and Irish from Red Dead Redemption, who you can tell is Irish because his name is Irish. Special shout out to Sheogorath in The Elder Scrolls series, the Daedric Prince of madness, who has drifted between Scottish and Irish over his appearances in the different games. That’s okay, though, because they’re basically the same country in many ways.
It’s-a me-a! WA-HOO! Right? Right?
Man from Russia is stronk. Haff hair on chest, wrestle many bear. Drink vodka as part of balanced breaking of fast. Creatiff grammar and much angry shoutink. Loyal to motherland. Very popular bad guy in 2000s – because so formidable! Hahahaha! Puny Americanskis! Possible voice by Gary Oldmanov, who has experience from the movie name of Air Force One. Good movie, but Russians lose to idiot president. Critically support Comrade Korshunov! Also, haff big furry hat, name of ushanka.
Wakka from Final Fantasy X
Wakka gets his own section entirely because while John DiMaggio, who provides the English voice for the character, is very talented, there is no earthly way of telling what exactly the real world equivalent of Wakka’s accent is supposed to be specifically. Even in wholly fantastical settings you can usually go, ‘Oh yeah, those Elves have Welsh accents,’ or ‘Those lads are meant to be a bit French,’ but with Wakka it’s just vaguely and non-specifically a bit Caribbean. There are two important details, though: Wakka is from a fictional place called Besaid, and almost nobody else from Besaid speaks with that accent. This means that Wakka is basically unique and there is no way his accent can’t be the most accurate version of itself. Well played, Square Enix. Well played.