The Big Picture
- Jason Isaacs and Neil Newbon discuss their roles in the successful video game Baldur’s Gate 3.
- Isaacs talks about recording dialogue for his role and the multiple versions of his character depending on player choices.
- Newbon reveals that he did motion capture for Matt Mercer and Jason Isaacs in addition to his own role.
This weekend, Collider’s Maggie Lovitt attended MegaCon in Orlando, Florida, and managed to chat with two of the stars involved in the making of Baldur’s Gate 3, the stunningly successful video game set in the Dungeons and Dragons universe, which launched last year to universal acclaim. Jason Isaacs and Neil Newbon were both delighted to discuss their roles in the game, with Isaacs being particularly self-deprecating about his role as Lord Enver Gortash, one of the antagonists of the series, while Newbon, who played Astarion, revealed that he had played multiple characters in the game — including some crossover with Isaacs.
Lovitt asked the veteran British star, Isaacs, about his involvement in the series, and he was only too happy to explain, even if his bemusement at the massive popularity was quite amusingly obvious to behold!
“Thanks for that very, very mild breath of applause,” he said, when Lovitt brought up the topic. “That’s what actors live for. Beautiful response [truly]. It’s all I’ve been waiting for and I don’t get it. I’ll just say, Lord Enver Gortash. Someone phoned me and asked me, would you come and do this voice? And I went in and they said, do you want to see what you look like? And they showed this sexy dude with a slightly [daft] haircut. I think, I don’t know. Some people like the hair. I’m not sure about it myself.”
Isaacs gave further insight into recording his dialogue for the role, revealing the amount of time spent and lengths he had to go to in order to deliver the performance. A key aspect of the game is that the player makes their own decisions which influences the story, and even the most subtle of distinctions in dialogue and tone are vital to portray, depending on what the player does. Isaacs was keen to emphasize, however, that you could not trust Gortash as far as you could throw him!
“He’s definitely more [strudy] than me. One of the great things about voiceovers, you can play someone younger and better looking. And then there was session after session, after session, but they work on it like a giant Hollywood movie and they refined story and they show you little bits of it, they work on bits. One of the great things about doing voice work is that they then tailor things, they’ve written stuff, but also when you make stuff up on the day, they then do the artwork to the stuff that you make up.
But one of the strange things as well is that I’ve recorded a billion versions of Gortash depending on whether you ally with him—don’t trust him. Let me tell you that right now, don’t trust him. And whether he’s losing or winning or whether you know— so when, when it comes to the story, there is no story for Baldur’s Gate 3, there are infinite permutations of stories. Unlike normal acting, I’ve played a billion lives of Enver Gortash, where people come up and they say, criticizing, ‘I don’t like something he did’ I’m like, ‘Well, you make the— make your choices, make your own better [choices.]
I would say—hands up if you’ve played Baldur’s Gate 3, okay for you nine people, I would just say this, hold on to your Netherstones, is all I’m saying.
Neil Newbon Explains His Role in ‘Baldur’s Gate 3’
Speaking at a separate panel, Newbon was asked what other roles in the Baldur’s Gate 3 universe he would have liked to play, and he took the chance to reveal that he actually had the opportunity already. Matt Mercer, who played Minsc in the game, as well as Isaacs, were unable to do motion capture, which meant extra responsibilities for Newbon.
“I was very lucky because the wonderful Matt Mercer who’s amazing, and also Jason Isaacs, who’s incredible, because those two physically couldn’t get to do their motion capture as well. Because we all did, 258 or possibly more actors, did full performance, you have to understand. The rest of us did four forms like voice work like Samantha Béart, Theo Solomon, Deborah [Wilde], Deborah’s amazing, Lae’zel, she’s so good. We did a full performance,” said Newbon. He continued, explaining:
“I got to body double for Matt Mercer for Minsc. I also got to do that for Gortash as well. So I was lucky that I got to hear their stuff before anybody, apart from obviously Greg and everybody and Jason and all the design team but nobody publicly. So I got to listen to their performance and then I had to try and match it and find ways to help support their stuff because they’re brilliant. They’re amazing. So I was very fortunate I was asked to double for their characters too. So I’ve already played another character.”
What Is ‘Baldur’s Gate 3’ and Why Is It So Popular?
Baldur’s Gate 3 is a wildly successful role-playing game, which is set in the Dungeons & Dragons‘ Forgotten Realms universe. The game presented a narrative rich with complex characters, ethical challenges, and an expansive world for players to discover. Produced by Larian Studios, the game was also beloved by fans for its commitment to game support through updates, patches, and modding capabilities allowed players to extend the game’s life significantly by creating and sharing custom content, allowing players to build their own stories if they so desired. The game was critically acclaimed and won several Game of the Year awards.
Baldur’s Gate 3
- Baldur’s Gate
- PC , PlayStation 5
- August 3, 2023
- Larian Studios