NetherRealm Studios is facing criticism over celebrity casting in their latest fighting game hit, Mortal Kombat 1. Hollywood actress Megan Fox was brought on to voice the vampiric femme fatale Nitara. But unimpressed by Fox’s performance, the developer quietly hired professional voice actor Cristina Valenzuela to provide additional vocals.
Got Found Out By Twitter Actress Tweet
Released in early access this month, Mortal Kombat 1 sees positive initial impressions for its gameplay and content. However, Fox’s voice work as Nitara was immediately panned. In response, NetherRealm drafted in Valenzuela, known for roles in BlazBlue, Madoka Magica and KonoSuba, to record Nitara’s battle cries and other effects.
Valenzuela announced on Twitter she had partnered with Fox on Nitara. But rather than praise NetherRealm for doubling up, fans criticised the developer for poor casting. Many argued Fox was merely stunt casting, unable to fully voice the complex character.
Pre-launch, NetherRealm promoted Fox’s involvement, releasing a trailer of the enthusiastic actress thanking them for letting her play her favourite character. But when the final product arrived, fans felt Fox’s acting fell flat.
Some suggested NetherRealm should have hired professional voice talent like Valenzuela for the entire role. Her past performances in shows like Tales of Berseria, Helluva Boss and the previously mentioned KonoSuba indicate she could have better captured Nitara’s intricate personality.
Megan Fox’s Acting Compared to a “Wooden” Ronda Rousey
It echoes similar celebrity casting issues in MK 11, which saw Ronda Rousey widely panned for her wooden performance as Sonya Blade. Roping in famous names over experienced voice actors is a controversial yet persistent trend in gaming.
Dave Bautista recently narrated a TV spot which fans thought was cool and Jean-Claude Van Damme cast as Johnny Cage has also gone down well within the community. So it isn’t always frowned upon if it works, but in this case, fans are annoyed at the fact that it looks like Megan Fox has just been outright lazy with her performance.
While Valenzuela seemed content to collaborate, fans remain disappointed in NetherRealm’s decisions. Relying on a celebrity name like Fox brings publicity but at the cost of authentic, nuanced performances.
Should Have Hired a Professional Voice Actor from the Start
Voice acting is a distinct skill from on-screen acting. The most engaging game characters come from performers who can convey a complete emotional range using their voice alone. Stars like Fox, despite enthusiasm, often cannot deliver this.
Some defend NetherRealm, arguing famous voices, even if inferior, help market the game. But most players value immersive acting over star power. Distracting casting hampers enjoyment and damages artistic integrity.
Looking ahead, NetherRealm must decide whether chasing headlines through stunt casting is worth risking fan disillusionment and critical drubbing. Their games thrive on expertly crafted characters realised by talented performers.
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For now, Valenzuela’s contributions have helped temper the worst of Fox’s deficits. But the casting misstep has left many questioning NetherRealm’s priorities and commitment to treating voice actors with respect.
Mortal Kombat 1 officially launches September 19th on Windows PC, PS5, Switch and Xbox Series X/S.
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