Metal Gear Solid Paid Voice Actor Jennifer Hale Only $1,200

Voice actor Jennifer Hale needs little introduction, having gained fame playing characters like Metroid Prime’s Samus Aran, Bastila Shan from Knights of the Old Republic, and of course Mass Effect’s one true Commander Shepard. She’s also known for Konami’s Metal Gear Solid series, in which she’s played the shifty geneticist Naomi Hunter since the series’ inception in 1998. But in a recent podcast appearance, Hale revealed that her first MGS gig voicing that important character paid only $1,200.

Previously, Hale avoided naming Metal Gear Solid directly in interviews, only saying in September that a “game made $176 million” and paid her an hourly wage that was “way less than [what] I wanted it to be.” But in this week’s episode of the My Perfect Console podcast, currently available in early access, Hale responded quickly to host and critic Simon Parkin’s question as to what that $176 million game was: It was Metal Gear Solid.

She agreed with Parkin that her original MGS pay, $1,200, is at a “grotesque disparity” with $176 million, saying “it’s indicative of what’s happening in modern culture. […] For every dollar that the workaday person makes—and [voice actors] are workaday people; all actors, on-camera, voice-over, who are not celebrities are workaday people—we make a dollar for every $399 [executives] make.”

Read More: Video Game Voice Actors Are Ready To Strike Over AI. Here’s Why
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Still, “I love [Metal Gear],” Hale said. “It was such a crazy departure from anything I’d done before. I loved it because it was brilliant, and because it was just so unique. […] And it’s dark, and it’s mysterious, and it’s intense, and […] I loved everything about it.”

Currently, Hale is one of many video game voice actors prepared to strike over what they tell Kotaku is “an existential fight to make sure that they hang on to the rights to their own voices, their own images, because that is what they make their living with, as well as achieve wages that will keep up with inflation so that they can continue to be professionals in this space economically.”

During her podcast appearance, Hale reinforced this last point and said she wants voice actors to receive residuals for game work “on a flexible structure that honors the indie developers, that honors the budgets and capacities of teams. I would like to see that.”

SAG-AFTRA members authorized a video game strike with a 98 percent “yes” vote on September 25.

Did Super Mario Bros. Wonder Demo Hack Reveal New Mario Actor?

Update 10/13/2023 3:25 p.m. ET: The speculation surrounding who voices Mario has been brought to an end. Kevin Afghani, who also voices Arnold in Genshin Impact, confirmed on X (formerly Twitter) that he had stepped into the plumber’s boots.

The Verge reports that Nintendo also confirmed the news via an email which stated, “The voice actor’s name is Kevin Afghani.”

The original story follows below.

Fans believe they might have discovered who the new actor for Mario is in Super Mario Bros. Wonder.

In June, Nintendo revealed an all-new 2D side-scrolling Mario platformer called Super Mario Bros. Wonder. While one section of the internet was captivated by the upcoming game’s new power-up that transforms Mario and friends into elephants, other keen-eared fans were distracted by how “off” the Italian plumber’s various utterances sounded in the trailer. Nintendo confirmed in August that longtime Mario voice actor Charles Martinet was stepping away from the series, transitioning to an honorary role as a “Mario ambassador” for the company. Now, one Mario fanatic claims to have committed what the kids call a “cool crime” to figure out who the unannounced new Mario voice actor is.

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According to Video Games Chronicle, an anonymous 4chan user claims they acquired a “kiosk demo” of Super Mario Bros. Wonder from a retail store in the U.S. and has hacked into it to obtain previously unrevealed information. On Wednesday, the anonymous user posted images of an unverified list of voice actors, which filtered out across other websites like ResetEra and Twitter. Although the list gained an air of credibility thanks to attached screenshots of previously unseen levels allegedly from World 1 of Wonder, it didn’t specify what roles the name-dropped actors would be voicing. This in turn led to a bit of online investigating on fans’ part to narrow down the potential Mario actor by cross-referencing each actor’s previous works.

After Famiboards user MondoMega whittled down the 21-person list by removing any female, foreign, or returning Mario cast member names, the list of potential western Mario actors came down to just two: Kevin Afghani (Arnold from Genshin Impact) and Mick Wingert (Heimerdinger from Arcane). The running theory in this makeshift Mario Wonder actor ARG is that the plumber’s new voice is probably Wingert. Why Wingert? As VGC notes, Afghani’s performance as Arnold sounds similar to Wonder’s talking flower, which would make veteran voice actor Wingert the likely pick for Wonder’s Mario.


Read More: Super Mario Bros. Wonder Is A Whole New Approach To 2D Mario Games
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After giving Wingert’s demo reel a quick listen and discovering that he’s voiced a wide range of similarly plucky-sounding characters over his career—from Baki Hanma’s Kaku Kaioh, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim’s Shu Amiguchi, to virtually every character in the Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness game—I wouldn’t be surprised if he were the new voice of Mario. Plus, Wingert’s high-energy voice print maps nicely to Nintendo’s adventurous plumber. Of course, we’ll find out come October 20 if Wingert is in fact the new voice of Mario or if a bunch of internet sleuths just got in a tizzy over nothing.

Metal Gear Solid Actor Weighs In On Quiet’s ‘Revealing Costume’

Ever since Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was released in 2015, its eagle-eyed sniper, Quiet, has been at the epicenter of online debates over her revealing default outfit, and the backstory that supported it. Now, Quiet’s actress has finally weighed in on the discourse over her character’s getup.

In a recent interview with IGN, actress Stefanie Joosten, who is the face model and motion actor for Quiet, was asked about her perspective on the over-sexualization of women in video games and whether her perspective had changed on Quiet’s portrayal in MGSV. In the past, Joosten said Quiet, who wears a bikini top over torn fishnets and tactical gear, “has her reasons for wearing what she does.”

In the game, we learn that Quiet suffers from a parasitic virus. The upside to the virus is that it grants her superhuman abilities like invisibility and super speed. However, the virus also makes it so she has to breathe through her skin, hence her revealing outfit. Convenient. Before the game’s release, creator Hideo Kojima had said on Twitter that those questioning her design would be “ashamed of your words & deeds” upon learning the truth. Nevertheless, the years following MGSV’s release have been rife with debates around her, with players either admonishing or ardently defending Quiet’s design.

Speaking with IGN, Joosten told IGN that, although she respects the creative decision to make Quiet’s appearance “quite revealing,” she sympathizes with fans’ desire for capable female characters who aren’t oversexualized.

Here’s what Joosten had to say about Quiet’s design:

This game came out in 2015, and I think the video game landscape has changed quite a lot since then. People are looking for more representation, and I really get it. Quiet’s outfit is not practical at all. Even with the explanation that was given of her breathing through her skin, of course there were so many other options you could have gone with. I do agree on that. I got to see the character artwork when we were starting motion capture, and of course my first reaction was, ‘that’s a very revealing costume’, but I respected it and accepted it. So that’s basically my stance. It’s fantasy, and I find that acceptable as well. But I do understand, having more of a diverse representation in video games for woman and all minorities is something I would encourage as well.

A Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain screenshot shows Quiet inside Mother Base.

Image: Konami Digital Entertainment

Read More: Metal Gear Turned 35, But Quiet’s Character Design Marks A Timeless Controversy

Although Joosten thinks it would be intriguing to explore Quiet’s character further in a spin-off MGS game, she feels her character’s story arc “had a really beautiful conclusion” within MGSV.

“When I went into the last motion capture sessions and also the voiceover sessions, I really felt, at the end, I was really saying goodbye to the character as well,” Joosten told IGN. “So that really felt like closure, but who knows? It would be interesting to explore Quiet’s past, for instance.”

Toward the end of the interview, IGN asked Joosten whether or not she would consider working with Kojima again in the future. Joosten replied, “Absolutely.”


Marvel Nearly Pivoted To Dr. Doom After Kang Actor Legal Case

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is in a weird place right now. Between shake-ups in upper management, Jonathan Majors’ legal trouble following domestic violence charges in March, animators unionizing, and a complete restructuring in how Marvel makes Disney+ shows, the interconnected superhero story has been collapsing in on itself this year. According to a new report from Variety, Marvel and Disney have been working on contingency plans, and one of them included pivoting its story to a fan-favorite villain: Doctor Doom.

According to Variety, Marvel was looking for a way out of its current arc, which focuses on Majors’ character, Kang the Conquerer, as a villain of a multiverse-spanning conflict. Majors has starred in multiple MCU projects, including Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and the Disney+ show Loki, and is set to appear in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars. But given the contentious nature of the charges, Marvel considered making a hard left turn in the story and making Doctor Doom, the archenemy of the Fantastic Four, the new big bad.

However, Marvel reportedly felt Majors and his character were too well-established at this point to just drop in the middle of his story, so instead of recasting the character, the studio seems to be sticking with Majors for now. Sources told Variety that Quantumania’s middling reception had Marvel considering moving away from Kang before the domestic violence case began. The film raked in around $475 million, which is still a metric fuckton of money and more than its $200 million budget, but is on the low end of modern Marvel box office. In any case, jettisoning Majors doesn’t seem to be the studio’s play.

Marvel / Marvel Universe Entertainment

While Doctor Doom might have been on the table at one point, the most surprising fanservice play mentioned in Variety’s piece is bringing back Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, both of whom were killed off in Avengers: Endgame. This would be alongside the rest of the original Avengers crew, such as Chris Evans’ Captain America, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, and Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk. Reviving characters through magic and multiverse nonsense is pretty common in comics, but it would be a real shame after bringing on all these new heroes over the past few years to just relegate them to swaying in the background behind the old guard.

The Variety piece delves into various aspects of the declining quality in Marvel’s output, ranging from impossible turnarounds on VFX work, to attempts to course-correct by pulling the plug on troubled projects. One example cited is the Blade reboot led by Mahershala Ali. The film was originally meant to premiere in 2023, and has since gone through multiple writers, two directors, and a shutdown before production. According to Variety’s sources, one version of the movie was “a narrative led by women and filled with life lessons,” with Blade himself “relegated to the fourth lead.” After Ali was about to leave the project over the script, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige brought Logan writer Michael Green on and pushed the movie to 2025.

While the Marvel movies and TV shows are trying to get their shit together, the Marvel video games are having their own ups and downs. Insomniac just released Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, while Crystal Dynamics ended support of its Marvel’s Avengers game in September.