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The Top 7… Awful fake accents

Fake accents aren’t inherently bad. Much as they’re frequently maligned for promoting stereotypes and denying jobs to foreign actors, they’re sometimes actually quite convincing (if not exactly realistic). And even when they’re not, they can at least be funny or help us suspend our disbelief for a little while – or both, as evidenced by the Red Alert and Assassin’s Creed series (for example). They’re broad and a little silly, sure, but ironic as it is, we’d probably have a hard time taking those characters as seriously without them.

This article isn’t about those fake accents. It’s about shitty ones. We’re talking accents that slip a little too frequently, or are delivered a little too half-assedly, or that are so ridiculous or nebulous that trying to figure them out actually detracts from the experience of playing the game. These aren’t “bad accents” – these are awful accents, and their existence should stand as a stark warning to casting directors and voice talent of what not to do. What follows are the most notable – which is to say excruciating – examples we could dig up.


7. Alex Mason

From: Call of Duty: Black Ops

Attempted accent: American

Actual accent: Strangled Australian

Australian actors typically do pretty well at imitating American accents (Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman being a couple of noteworthy examples), but Sam Worthington’s record is a little spotty. He does OK most of the time, but go back and listen to his performance in Avatar again, and you’ll notice little bits of his actual accent poking through his incredulous Marine’s patter.

And that’s fine for a sci-fi movie set 140-odd years in the future. After all, who knows what our accents will sound like by then? It’s when you hear those same slip-ups in a gritty military shooter set during the 1960s that things get weird. As Alaskan special-forces operative Alex Mason, Worthington’s voice is with us for most of the game, providing both narration and in-game dialogue. Most of the time there’s nothing strange about it, but every once in a while Mason develops an oddly foreign twang that, after a while, had us convinced the game’s Big Twist would be that he was a Russian spy the entire time.


Above: The actual Russian spy was voiced by Belarus-born American Gene Farber, and sounded like an American with occasional Russian inflection 

Not so! It was just that Worthington’s accent (apparently strained by the prolonged fakery) kept slipping into a tangled mess somewhere between Australian and American. That was, of course, when he wasn’t just speaking with undisguised Australian diction, which happened a few times.


Above: Why they didn’t just do fresh takes for these is anyone’s guess. Seriously, “gnawring?”

Worthington’s numerous slip-ups and weird pronunciations had the long-term effect of making CoD:BlOps’ campaign into a bizarre mindfuck – just probably not in the way its creators intended.


6. Maria

From: Midnight Club II

Attempted accent: Chola

Actual accent: A Minnesotan trying too hard to fit in around downtown L.A.

The voice of Maria – one of the first racers you throw down against in the free-range street-racer Midnight Club II – is apparently the only role ever performed by actress Melissa Delaney DeValle, so we can’t say with 100 percent certainty that her accent is fake. At the same time, we refuse to believe that an accent this silly is anything but.

Maria starts out as a passable rendition of a tough, urban Latina… until it’s actually time to race. Then her stiff Chicana accent suddenly skyrockets to cartoon-stereotype levels before suddenly veering into a heavy Minnesotan inflection when she yells at you to look out for “the cawp-chawpper!” It’s weird and grating, possibly even to the point of being offensive, but it’s too broad to not be (unintentionally) funny. Funny enough to make Maria stick out as one of the more memorable (if not exactly likable) characters in MCII, anyway.

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Top 7

95 comments

  • erenelliekush - December 5, 2010 6:12 a.m.

    I kinda expected Chrono Cross. like all 400 playable characters in that game (except Serge who doesn't talk) have horrible fake and/or real accents. one guy is a vegetable who talks in Ye Old English!
  • Claymore17 - December 5, 2010 5:12 a.m.

    hilarious!
  • tomservo - December 5, 2010 2:27 a.m.

    Any other Scots horrified by the voice acting in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow? And then I found out it was Robert Carlyle... I wish those zombies had got him in 28 weeks later... oh yeah.
  • Deadshotjim - December 4, 2010 10:47 p.m.

    Stalker Clear Sky had some pretty bad accents,"Too bad those punks got away!"
  • cxvfgcdxggf - December 4, 2010 5:32 p.m.

    a leading worldwide w holesaler company (or ucan say organization). w w w . yahcc . u s We supply more than 100 thousand high-quality merchandise and famous brand name products all at wholesale prices.
  • waran4 - December 3, 2010 2:42 p.m.

    Just Cause 2. "Bolo Santosi". 'Nuff said...
  • AGENTJORRRG - December 3, 2010 2:27 a.m.

    I am almost certain that everyone in Deus Ex is voiced by the same dude. h aso, I appreciate the effort, but the new vid player is fail. I'd forgotten about most of them by the time they started playing.
  • AA95mp - December 2, 2010 11:36 a.m.

    loving the new player guys.
  • Randomwordcombination - December 1, 2010 11:10 p.m.

    Awesome, this should make for a fun episode of TalkRadar!
  • Apollomasque - December 1, 2010 9:38 p.m.

    What happened to freaking EVERYONE from Just Cause 2?
  • Zeb364 - December 1, 2010 9:31 a.m.

    I read this article specifically looking for morons from Heavy Rain and GR did not let me down. I love how terrible those accents are, and I'm not just referring to the stupid French Kids. Two words: "Fuckin asshole!"
  • Fistly - December 1, 2010 1:16 a.m.

    Heavy Rain, anyone?
  • Yeager1122 - December 1, 2010 12:51 a.m.

    Agentnahmanjayden made me crack up it was so painfully bad.
  • Solid_Gabriel - November 30, 2010 11:36 p.m.

    Everyone trying to speak in portuguese on Soccom 2. Gosh! That lousy attempt to mimic the way brazilian people speak was just embarrasing!
  • DoctorCrazy - November 30, 2010 10:38 p.m.

    Those Heavy Rain kids are going to give me nightmares. But Alex Mason, his voice didnt bother me at all. When I heard it I simply went "oh thats Sam Worthington".
  • Darkhawk - November 30, 2010 7:21 p.m.

    Bonus nomination, from the House that Cage Built: Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit. My god, the accents in that game are terrible
  • GorditaSlim - November 30, 2010 7:07 p.m.

    Haha, gotta love Heavy Rain. "JAAAY-SUHN!"
  • infernox - November 30, 2010 6:28 p.m.

    the crazy voice acting in deus ex was one of my favourite things about the game. always made me laugh and lighted the mood on a amazing game.
  • AlpineGuy - November 30, 2010 5:51 p.m.

    This should make for an awesome first segment of TalkRadar. DON'T LET ME DOWN MIKEL!
  • MrsJonMurphy - November 30, 2010 5:13 p.m.

    You had a most annoying voices list and you left out Vanille? That woman's terrible on / off British (or was it Australian) accent made her the Jar Jar Binks of the FF games.

Showing 1-20 of 95 comments

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