Original Silent Hill 2 Voice Actor Speaks Out About HD Remake

Original Silent Hill 2 Voice Actor Speaks Out About HD Remake

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The original James Sunderland says that people are talking about him and Silent Hill 2 without having all the facts.

Guy Cihi, the original voice actor for Silent Hill 2 protagonist James Sunderland, has struck back at the idea that he is the reason that Konami has re-recorded all the voices for the HD re-releases . Despite claims from his replacement, Troy Baker, that he was holding out for residuals, he says that his issue with Konami has never been about the money.

"Troy didn't have all the facts when he spoke and I don't think Devin or Tom have all the facts either. I am not the only reason Konami decided to record new voices. I'm just the nail sticking up that some people chose to hang blame on." Cihi is presumably talking referring to Devin Shatsky and Tom Waltz, who are both currently working on Silent Hill: Downpour.

EDIT: It's a lot more likely that he's referring to Konami's Tomm Hulett, a producer for the Silent Hill series.

He said that Konami never had - and still didn't have - permission from the original Silent Hill 2 cast to use their performances for anything other than the PS2 version of the game. However, he said that now that he had given permission - something that he did in an open letter on his Facebook page - the other cast members would do the same in order to "maintain the integrity of the game." He said that Konami had acted poorly and cited his removal from Silent Hill 2's making of video as an example.

He implored Konami to make things right not just for him, but for the fans, the new voice cast, and even itself. "All Konami has to do is meet the request of thousands of fans and restore the original voices alongside the newly recorded ones," he said, "It will cost them nothing because no work is required. What's to stop everyone from coming out a winner in this? "

"Come on Konami," he added, "do the right thing."

It's not unheard of for a game to have two different voice tracks, although usually it's an English one and a Japanese one, or something along those lines. Whether Konami would be receptive to the idea is anyone's guess. The collection doesn't come out until next year, which would suggest that the time needed to include the original voice track is there, but despite having the recording already, it's additional effort and expense to include it, and it's something that most people probably won't care all that much about. It really comes down to whether Konami feels the goodwill it would gain from doing it would be worth the cost involved.

The Silent Hill HD Collection comes out for PS3 and Xbox 360 early next year

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You are SOOOO wrong if you think people don't care about the voice acting...

Edit: There we go. All you need to do is check the dislike bar.

"and it's something that most people probably won't care all that much about."

I must most strenuously disagree. Silent Hill fans are serious fans. I know. I am one. The original dialog may have been a bit stilted. We laughed at it a bit. But serious Silent Hill fans replay these games over and over and become used to the characters as they are. Changing James is stupid. But leaving out the option to switch over to hear the original we all cherish is suicidal.

And don't even get me started on Heather. I consider Silent Hill 3 to be a breakthrough in video game voiceovers. It was head-and-shoulders above its predecessors and most other games of its time. The character of Heather was named for her voice actor. And she is precious to me. There, I've said it. I think Heather is a great character, and largely because of the voice.

If they change it, I will get on a plane, fly to wherever the moron who made the decision is, and he will receive a hard punch square in the mouth.

GeneticallyModifiedDucks:
You are SOOOO wrong if you think people don't care about the voice acting...

Edit: There we go. All you need to do is check the dislike bar.

Yikes after hearing the voices in that preview i would have to say they are still somewhat cringe worthy and the dislike bar is a true sign that the fans of the game are not pleased at all with the current decision of Konami, but i digress i don't mind James new voice as much but then again i still do love the original voice just as much as i may like the new one so i would have to side with the fandom on their decision.

Both versions suck, nostalgia is the only thing that keeps the old one ok

Logan Westbrook:
The collection doesn't come out until next year, which would suggest that the time needed to include the original voice track is there, but despite having the recording already, it's additional effort and expense to include it, and it's something that most people probably won't care all that much about.

Ummm, sorry what? Didn't this very post just mention all the backlash at the NEW voices? What makes you think no one cares?

Aside from my disdain that this "collection" only includes two out of a possible 7 games in the series, it was the final straw to hear about the voices being re-recorded for one of the most iconic games of the PS2 era. A LOT of people hold this game in high regard, warts and all. The experience just won't be the same with new voices, however close they try to make them. As Yahtzee pointed out in his collumn a few weeks back, Guy Cihi was pretty much drafted in from the streets to voice James. The confusion and apparent distance in his voice was probably genuine and not something you will be able to replicate.

Yahtzee:
Guy Cihi, the voice of protagonist James Sunderland, was an American businessman living in Japan who was only at the auditions to escort his daughter. He'd never voice acted before and never would again. But you know what, that's a much more interesting story than some jobbing voice actor coming in, doing the lines and pestering the producer for cab fare home. That gives Cihi's role in the game's production an almost legendary quality. Besides, the stilted awkwardness of Silent Hill 2's dialogue gives the game an even more off-kilter feel that adds a lot to the intended atmosphere.

343 Industries have got the right idea with Halo Anniversary, they KNOW fans don't want that game changed. Konami should follow suit, there's certainly no other reason to make me buy this when I have my far superior PS2 copy. HD be damned.

GeneticallyModifiedDucks:
You are SOOOO wrong if you think people don't care about the voice acting...

Edit: There we go. All you need to do is check the dislike bar.

EDIT: Wow, I just watched that video for the first time... everything about that just seems so wrong. Eddie sounds like the sort of gravelly voiced guy that might do the voice overs for movie trailers, wtf? Mary sounds like some sort of generic American voice actress now, I wonder why.

And that scene with Maria and James is one of the most important and iconic in the whole game. Such a shame that they ruined the "I'm not your Mary" line. It's lost any of the venom that she used in the original. I remember watching that scene in the original for the first time, the way her voice changed and she became so suddenly cold made me physically recoil. This abomination is not Silent Hill 2.

The original voice acting was laughable at worst, but the new one is cringe inducing at best.

I'm on the fandom side with this one, considering that I finished this game like 6 or 7 times back when I still had the PS2, heck, I still kept this game, along with Silent Hill 3 (a great game in it's own right) until the very last moment when I (stupidly) decided to sell the PS2.

And no, nostalgia is not a factor in this one, the voices can greatly change the way these characters are portrayed and the awkwardness was one of the factors that made the game so eerie and even the badly written dialog plausible.

Maria? Aren't you Maria?

Yeah, I dont think that will sound the same.

Edit: *watches video in first reply*

RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGEEEEEEEE

I don't care about Mary but the rest of the voices suck ass specially Eddie's, still need to listen Laura and Angela (One of my favorites)

Shadow-Phoenix:

GeneticallyModifiedDucks:
You are SOOOO wrong if you think people don't care about the voice acting...

Edit: There we go. All you need to do is check the dislike bar.

Yikes after hearing the voices in that preview i would have to say they are still somewhat cringe worthy and the dislike bar is a true sign that the fans of the game are not pleased at all with the current decision of Konami, but i digress i don't mind James new voice as much but then again i still do love the original voice just as much as i may like the new one so i would have to side with the fandom on their decision.

I have to agree that James new voice wasn't bad, but the others did not sit well with me. It's been so long since I last played SH2 that I don't even really remember the originals so I don't think it's nostalgia. The new voices for Mary/Maria and Eddie were utterly terrible in that video if you ask me. Frankly, as cheesy as I'm sure the originals probably were, I would rather just break out the PS2 and pop the original in than play the new ones with those voices.

Reading Guy Cihi's open letter to Konami (link below), I can see that he's a pretty decent guy. He really seems to care about the spirit of Silent Hill 2 and not just making money. He's even said that Konami can simply have the rights to his voice performance just so they can make the game complete for fans. What a guy.

http://www.facebook.com/notes/guy-cihi/open-letter-to-konami-digital-entertainment-inc/10150291872944259

Nuff said

(stereo sound)

Overacting at its best. Everyone sounds like they're on drugs. Non of the characthers have a unique voice it's like in the voice acting school they learned one voice that was the coolest one and they all do it.

"He said that Konami never had - and still didn't have - permission from the original Silent Hill 2 cast to use their performances for anything other than the PS2 version of the game. "

And therein lies the problem. And may be part of the reason we see a ton of PS1 and earlier Nintendo console remakes, but not a lot of PS2 games or later gen console products. something that nobody ever would have thought of back then. The voice actors were "actors" and were hired under contracts that reflected the TV industry of the times. What no one thought of was what would or could happen 10+ years down the line when you want to re-release the game as a new or different product, rather than it being simple residuals, you have ended up in the situation where either all of your original contract voice actors can veto a re-release, demand way more money than they were originally contracted for, or you have to re-record all the dialogue with new actors using more current video game industry type contracts.

In the case of this guy, it's probably easier and cheaper to simply remake the game with someone else's voice in such a way that you own any and all rights to the performance outright perpetually then it is to attempt to pay off the old voice actor and seek to somehow re-contract the thing to cover all future contingencies this time, and all the while hoping that some legal challenge based on the original contracts wouldn't blow a hole in the new one and force you to either cough up more money or abandon a project mid development.

It's something of an unexpected wrinkle. When is a game not entirely a game and not entirely software? When it is also a performance and the hollywood actors are involved.

Proverbial Jon:

Logan Westbrook:
The collection doesn't come out until next year, which would suggest that the time needed to include the original voice track is there, but despite having the recording already, it's additional effort and expense to include it, and it's something that most people probably won't care all that much about.

Ummm, sorry what? Didn't this very post just mention all the backlash at the NEW voices? What makes you think no one cares?

I didn't say no one cares, I said that that not many people care. Not the same thing at all. I'd be amazed if the majority of people who play the HD re-release even notice that the voices have been re-recorded.

esperandote:

Nuff said

(stereo sound)

Overacting at its best. Everyone sounds like they're on drugs. Non of the characthers have a unique voice it's like in the voice acting school they learned one voice that was the coolest one and they all do it.

Sadly this just makes the problem seem even more obvious.

Maria is supossed to be attractive to James, her voice sould be alluring. Here she just sounds either like a man or that she's started smoking 50 a day since the original. Horrible.

Logan Westbrook:

I didn't say no one cares, I said that that not many people care. Not the same thing at all. I'd be amazed if the majority of people who play the HD re-release even notice that the voices have been re-recorded.

That's a fair point, sorry about that! I guess I was in such a rage about this that I didn't really read it properly.

I guess I'm hoping that anyone who HAS played Silent Hill 2 before WILL notice the change in voices. But maybe it's simply because it's one of my personal favourite games of all time. I can see what Konami are doing, they're trying to attract new people and sell more games. New players won't be bothered by the voices because they haven't heard the originals. I get that. But this is still a kick in the teeth for fans. Konami must be aware that SH2 is held sacred amongst fans of the franchise. This just seems like a bit of an arogant move on their part. Hopefully Guy Cihi's letter will help on the legal side and we can all be happy.

Come on Konami, DO IT!!

Keep the same voices that were from the original game, if you don't, you're going to piss off a lot of the fans that liked them the way they were, me being one of them. Don't re-record them.

bruunwald:
"and it's something that most people probably won't care all that much about."

I must most strenuously disagree. Silent Hill fans are serious fans. I know. I am one. The original dialog may have been a bit stilted. We laughed at it a bit. But serious Silent Hill fans replay these games over and over and become used to the characters as they are. Changing James is stupid. But leaving out the option to switch over to hear the original we all cherish is suicidal.

And don't even get me started on Heather. I consider Silent Hill 3 to be a breakthrough in video game voiceovers. It was head-and-shoulders above its predecessors and most other games of its time. The character of Heather was named for her voice actor. And she is precious to me. There, I've said it. I think Heather is a great character, and largely because of the voice.

If they change it, I will get on a plane, fly to wherever the moron who made the decision is, and he will receive a hard punch square in the mouth.

This.

I was more pissed off about even the THOUGHT of them changing Heather's voice, I liked it. And I loved the fact that they credited game Heather for the voice rather than the acter's real name, which had the same first name but different last one.

Can I join you in that flight? I might need some closure if this happens.

esperandote:

Nuff said

(stereo sound)

Overacting at its best. Everyone sounds like they're on drugs. Non of the characthers have a unique voice it's like in the voice acting school they learned one voice that was the coolest one and they all do it.

Haven't played the game, but wtf is up with that fat dude becoming a stoner in the remake?

I hope they will, but goodwill from publishers towards customers seems to be a rarity these days.

I hope this wins, then we'll have precedent to cite every time a game doesn't have it's original voices in favor of dubs or reworks.

Such a shame that this won't happen. I was quite excited for the HD releases in a sort of "that'll be good for OTHER people", but now I'm just disappointed. The James-Maria prison sequence actually still creeps me out to this day - even if it's slightly stilted, it's incredibly effective.

Hmm, it's actually a good idea. It's too bad that it costs more, as it probably drives the chances of getting both voice tracks down a bit, but judging by the reactions even just here on the forums, people really want the original voices. Maybe what they could do is make it a pre-order bonus. Pre-order the game, and you get a code that lets you download the original voices as DLC from PSN or Xbox Live. Except they would still have to make new animations, if they weren't keeping the lines the same, wouldn't they. Nevermind, just include the original voices on the actual disc. XD

Edit: Hmm. Yes. I like the original voices better. Please include them. lol

What more can I say about this subject but; I'm glad I still have my original copies of SH2 and 3.

The moment heard about new voice actors dubbing it, my interest in the HD release dropped like a sack of puppies. Especially Maria/Mary's new voice is a fucking atrocity.

the only way i will play this is if we get the old voice actors back, i need to play three, but only with the old voices.

I think that it is really dumb that the only thing that people are talking about for this game is that this guy is being "cheated" which makes no sense why he should make more money when he isn't doing any actual work for this game. I am actually happy that konami is cutting this guy out of this game by recasting the voices. It wont sound the same but every time I hear the difference I will smile that a greedy CEO didn't make money for doing nothing and the crap that they modeled James after "Guy" the graphics weren't that good to make that claim if he tries that every middle aged blond guy should line up for a hand out. No silent hill fan should support this "Guy" he is trying to hinder the production of some of our favorite games.

Of course they would like to get the original voice actors back but that would cost a lot and the only people that will be upset enough not to buy the game because of it are the silent hill baby ****H fan boys which I think are the worst fan boys of the gaming community right in front of final fantasy fan boys. I am happy they are doing a remake because I personal would like to play silent hill 3 on the 360. I will buy this game to support silent hill and konami to see more silent hill games.

Proverbial Jon:
Reading Guy Cihi's open letter to Konami (link below), I can see that he's a pretty decent guy. He really seems to care about the spirit of Silent Hill 2 and not just making money. He's even said that Konami can simply have the rights to his voice performance just so they can make the game complete for fans. What a guy.

http://www.facebook.com/notes/guy-cihi/open-letter-to-konami-digital-entertainment-inc/10150291872944259

Oh yes, he definitely cares about this game! He even did a voiceover for a fanfic of Silent Hill 2. Definitely a great guy!

Sooo...those voices. I don't mind the new James so much. Yeah, I prefer the old one, but the new James is the least offensive of the bunch, which isn't really saying a whole lot. Mary/Maria on the other hand...urgh. Ok guys, pay close attention to the scene in the jail cell. Now note how Maria's voice changes to Mary's in her second line ("I am - if you want me to be"). This is subtle foreshadowing, and completely absent in the new version.
Eddy sounds like a drunk, not the traumatized little psychopath that suddenly snapped. This one is just bad - not the missing-the-point-entirely bad of Mary/Maria, just bad.

I do, however, like the idea of having two voice tracks for the game, the original, and the new voices.

TheEsw1989:
I think that it is really dumb that the only thing that people are talking about for this game is that this guy is being "cheated" which makes no sense why he should make more money when he isn't doing any actual work for this game. I am actually happy that konami is cutting this guy out of this game by recasting the voices. It wont sound the same but every time I hear the difference I will smile that a greedy CEO didn't make money for doing nothing and the crap that they modeled James after "Guy" the graphics weren't that good to make that claim if he tries that every middle aged blond guy should line up for a hand out. No silent hill fan should support this "Guy" he is trying to hinder the production of some of our favorite games.

You did read the article, yes? He's letting Konami use his previous recordings free of charge, provided they get included. So how pray tell he being greedy, or a hindrance to production in any way?

Maybe if you type Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start at the menu screen it will unlock the original voices? That would be awesome, like retro retro :D

thethingthatlurks:

Oh yes, he definitely cares about this game! He even did a voiceover for a fanfic of Silent Hill 2. Definitely a great guy!

Sooo...those voices. I don't mind the new James so much. Yeah, I prefer the old one, but the new James is the least offensive of the bunch, which isn't really saying a whole lot. Mary/Maria on the other hand...urgh. Ok guys, pay close attention to the scene in the jail cell. Now note how Maria's voice changes to Mary's in her second line ("I am - if you want me to be"). This is subtle foreshadowing, and completely absent in the new version.
Eddy sounds like a drunk, not the traumatized little psychopath that suddenly snapped. This one is just bad - not the missing-the-point-entirely bad of Mary/Maria, just bad.

I do, however, like the idea of having two voice tracks for the game, the original, and the new voices.

Wow, thanks for sharing the link!

I'm with you on James voice actually. Oddly enough he is the one who seems to matter the least out of the new voices. It's a very good match but I still want Guy Cihi back! I said in a previous post pretty much the same thing you just said for Maria and Eddy. Based on the preview alone, I dread to think just what they have done to Angela and Laura.

TheEsw1989:
Of course they would like to get the original voice actors back but that would cost a lot and the only people that will be upset enough not to buy the game because of it are the silent hill baby ****H fan boys which I think are the worst fan boys of the gaming community right in front of final fantasy fan boys. I am happy they are doing a remake because I personal would like to play silent hill 3 on the 360. I will buy this game to support silent hill and konami to see more silent hill games.

It's not a case of getting the original voice actors back to re-record the voices, Konami already have the recordings. All they have to do is bother to seek permissions to use them. Guy Cihi has given his consent for free so they can at least use his voice. This is a minimal effort approach and after Guy Cihi's generous offer, the others might follow suit and release their voices for free.

Also, as far as ranting fan boys go, it's not all about simply keeping the game the same as before. As we have seen from the new voice previews, the new actors don't deliver the lines as well as the originals. Considering they are professionals, that's really not a good sign. But as I and thethingthatlurks both pointed out, something as simple as changing Maria's inflection during the jail scene can drastically change the tone of the whole game. And from where I stand, that's a death sentence for a game that is all about symbolism.

 

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