Many fans have been vocal about their disappointment with Megan Fox’s performance in Mortal Kombat 1 as Nitara. But it’s not the first time the series has suffered from poor celebrity voice acting, and that is a part of the issue.
While there have always been celebrities who contribute their voice to video games, the Mortal Kombat series continues to have trouble getting them to deliver a great performance. It might be very cool seeing a popular actor appear in your favorite game, but none of that matters if they sound terrible.
A thread posted on Reddit sparked a discussion about all the bad casting choices that NetherRealm Studios has made for the recent Mortal Kombat games. This included Ronda Rousey as Sonya Blade and DJ Dimitri Vegas as an alternate Sub-Zero in Mortal Kombat 11. Although some went on to mention other celebrities who appeared in the series, the focus was mainly on the ones who were not liked by fans.
Users in the thread weren’t opposed to the idea of celebrities being brought on to play a character, even going as far as to suggest a few that would make great choices for some characters. But they were quick to point out the poor delivery of lines from those brought up.
“NRS HAS to have a voice director,” one commenter said. “How did that voice director listen to Nitara’s lines and not think, Wow, this is complete donkey piss. They can’t release like this.”
Another user brought up the point that it could be a money issue and lack of additional takes when recording dialogue.
“NRS is either just really bad at casting celebs, or they don’t see it worth the money to pay the actor to actually perform multiple takes to get lines down and commit to the role,” they said.
A lot of the backlash about Megan Fox in Mortal Kombat 1 was how many of her lines didn’t sound natural. The same was said for both Vegas and Rousey for their characters, where the lines they delivered could’ve been redone to sound a lot better.
“I think the bigger issues is that celebrities have no incentive to deliver for the role,” a fan said. “Their livelihood isn’t dependent on voicing some character in a video game. They likely get paid before they even do the lines and I imagine they don’t get the same feedback at a regular VA does.”
Others had similar thoughts about how celebrities are given feedback during their voice performances. That may be a factor for why some don’t sound great, but another possibility could be the direction they are given when recording lines.
A few comments mentioned how part of the casting of celebrities was to use their voice and likeness to attract their fan base to the game. With certain characters, the likeness of the actor is used as a basis for a new design. In Mortal Kombat 1, both Nitara and Johnny Cage have looks that are based on Megan Fox and Jean-Claude Van Damme. While Megan Fox is said to be a massive fan of the series, the involvement of Jean-Claude Van Damme ties directly to the history of the Mortal Kombat franchise.
Despite how vocal MK fans have been about this, it won’t be the last time we see celebrities lend their voice to the series. The upcoming Kombat Pack 1 will bring in more fighters to the roster, including characters like Homelander, Omni-Man, and DC’s Peacemaker. Each will be voiced by the same actor who played them on their respective shows. With any luck, they won’t be received as negatively by the fans as much as other characters have before.