Madsen, Dushku head Yakuza voice cast

<i>Reservoir Dogs</i> and <i>Buffy</i> stars join Rachel Leigh Cook and Mark Hamill in English adaptation of Sega's Japanese-gangster game.

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It's now no secret how Michael Madsen makes his mortgage payments. Since the turn of the century, the star of such films as Free Willy and Thelma and Louise has earned a steadily growing side income from his voice work in games. His gravely baritone has been featured in Grand Theft Auto III, True Crime: Streets of LA, Driver 3, Narc, and the upcoming game adaptation of his most celebrated big-screen effort, Reservoir Dogs.

Now, Madsen can add another game to his voice-over-work resume. Today, Sega announced that he would be the English-language voice of Shimano, the hulking crime boss in the publisher's forthcoming crime game, Yakuza. The game, originally released in Japan under the title Ryu ga Gotoku, follows a rough-and-tumble gangster, Nishiki, through a free-roaming, GTA-style re-creation of Tokyo's underworld.

The English-langauge voice of Nishiki will be Michael Rosenbaum, who is most famous for his portrayal of a young Lex Luthor in the television series Smallville. He is joined by several other MTV-friendly actors in the Yakuza cast, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Eliza Dushku, who plays the ingénue Yumi. Also featured is Rachel Leigh Cook, who gained notoriety for playing the Pygmalion-esque lead in the 1999 teen comedy She's All That.

Yakuza's cast will also feature an actor who has iconic status among several generations prior to the current 18 to 34 demographic. Mark Hamill--aka Luke Skywalker in Star Wars--will play Majima, an insane Yakuza boss. Hamill is no stranger to voice work, having played the Joker in the long-running Batman Beyond cartoon series.

Discussion

66 comments
nootzalicious
nootzalicious

English in Tokyo?? c'mon!!!!!! i want to not only SEE this japanese town, but i want to HEAR it!!!! i want to know that I'm NOT in miami or la or or san andreas whatever.

largefry
largefry

Yeah it is pretty sweet how they have Rosenbaum in there, he just has that voice that says bad guy.

Supersonic2000
Supersonic2000

Lex Luthor, Tifa Lockheart, AND The Joker? I like what I'm hearing.

jec24
jec24

Since when is Reservoir Dogs Michael Madsen's "most celebrated big-screen effort"? Apparently no one saw Donnie Brasco or Kill Bill. Both of which were far superior movies.

soulknight63133
soulknight63133

What's wrong with Mark Hamil's voice? Remember his father had one of the most intimidating voices ever. Vader. (James Earl Jones)...lol A little off topic but, does anyone agree that Orlsen Wells and Jones have to be two of the best voices ever in show biz?

Fiku42
Fiku42

hmmmmmmm it does look intresting..............

rynmls
rynmls

i hope this will not end up just like the voice work of FF 7 advent children...

ewjim
ewjim

"GTA-style re-creation of Tokyo's underworld" - ??? NO! It's Shen-mue-like style! ;) I'm waiting for it! 8)

Kenji_the_Wolf
Kenji_the_Wolf

There will be no 'reconsidering' at this point. The dye is cast. We're getting english voice actors. Much to my lament as well. Hell, maybe in the future on PS3 or something we'll get a 'director's cut' or something to that extent. When will they figure out that english dialogue won't win over new audiences?

carpathianrogue
carpathianrogue

Kingsnake 976 writes "I say scrap the high-dollar American voice-actors and in their place, how about some authentic Japanese actors speaking English? So long as their accents didn't stand in the way of conveying the story, or sound too over the top (ala some Anime), that would be great." That's a stellar suggestion! *That* was absolutely what I considered the alternative would have been for Sega. That way, they retain the authenticity that's important, but also don't alienate those players who'd prefer not to read subs. This would have been a far more sensible and all-round appealing solution...Sega really ought to reconsider it.

lesleeee
lesleeee

Meh. Eliza, Madsen...nice. Rachel Leigh Cook was awful in Advent Children, hopefully she's worked on it.

universquall
universquall

It's spelt Rachael. At least GS did a better job than GF. But that isn't done by people that do it as a job. >_> Punks

Rimsa_Laded
Rimsa_Laded

"Reservoir Dogs and Buffy stars join Rachel Leigh Cook and Mark Hamill in English adaptation of Sega's Japanese-gangster game." DAMMIT ALL TO HELL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

gamepunk86
gamepunk86

this is how voice acting should be done. w/ quality actors. smart, sega

ryohazuki1987
ryohazuki1987

I like the voice acting choices. Rosenbaum has done a good job as Flash on Justice League. Likewise for Hamill as the Joker on Batman. I loved Madsen in Reservior Dogs and Dushku was one of my favourite characters in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Rachel Leigh Cook is a nice addition to the cast also. I was hoping for a subtitled version, but I'm very pleased with Sega's choices for Yakuza so far. Still waiting for Shenmue III!

HarlockJC
HarlockJC moderator

One more note Michael Rosenbaum also does the voice of Flash on JLA. He a cool guy to if any of you get to meet him.

HarlockJC
HarlockJC moderator

I read somewhere that Mark Hamill said he lost count of how many voice he done in cartoons when it got to be over a 1000. If you watch a lot of Animes he does voices in a lot of them. I use to love playing Wing Commander where he was the main star.

fat_shark
fat_shark

Interesting idea posted, re: subtitled game instead of crappy locatlized VOs. Surprise, surprise, though, they don't get expensive voice actors to sell it to the hardcore gamer who, if they really wanted a more "authentic" experience would import. All the same, it wouldn't be the first game to provide the option, and I think it'd be awesome, maybe for a "limited edition" (that's never really limited). Kudos to the commenter who posted about the correction to Mark Hamill's voice credit. One would think that GS would be more on the ball with that. They should've mentioned though that a)he also did the voice of Hobgoblin in the Spiderman cartoon series, and he's done VOs for other games, including Wing Commander IV and Full Throttle. Oh, and how can a gaming article that mentions Michael Madsen be so remiss in not mentioning his oscar-worthy turn in Bloodrayne?? :-o

TheGreatGuero
TheGreatGuero

The star of such films as Free Willy and Thelma and Louise? Dude, I think you guys need to give Madsen a little more credit than that...

veracity024
veracity024

should be a 360 game, Yakuza sounds cool. (the idea, not necessarily the game) expensive cast for a game on a dying system.

Maui00
Maui00

mmhh good voice cast

Jordanthewicked
Jordanthewicked

" at least it's a step-up from the horrid voice-acting from "Shenmue." At least it SHOULD be. " Are you nuts? The English voice acting in Shenmue is of the highest quality. How can you forget "Oh no no no, I've been too tired lately." This news of "real" voice actors doing this game is a huge dissapointment. I can only pray that if Shen3 does come out, they keep the original voice actors for THAT game!

alimn1984
alimn1984

SEGA, where is Shenmue III? Good,Yakuza will be a pretty damn cool game since I've betean the Japanese Version "Ryu ga Gotoku" but Where is Shenmue III??? We're in waitting since Shenmue IIX 2002 Xbox or even Shenmue II DC 2001 ...Most of us are trying to be patient but don't forget us... After Yakuza and VF5 PS3 you must go and think about a Shenmue complete for next generation consoles specially 360 since it have more support about a Shenmue III Hurry SEGA .

Kingsnake976
Kingsnake976

I'm in-between on this one. Japanese with subtitles would definately "sell" the authenticity of being in Tokyo and being part of the Yakuza. Having said that, I don't much care for the thought of having to read what's going on when I would really rather be WATCHING the action and cinematics. On the other side, the last thing I want to hear when playing a Japanese character is the voice of Mr. Blonde coming from his mouth.... I say scrap the high-dollar American voice-actors and in their place, how about some authentic Japanese actors speaking English? So long as their accents didn't stand in the way of conveying the story, or sound too over the top (ala some Anime), that would be great.

NeoJedi
NeoJedi

That is one interesting voice cast... Mark Hamill is great as the Joker in Batman Beyond and I'm sure he'll do a great job here. As for Madsen, he was perfect in GTA III.

Charlie2688
Charlie2688

I hope that Hammill can get at least one line of something related to Star Wars into the game...it will be hilarious!....it will also be a good touch if he had a lightsaber instead of a katana!...lol "I feel the force is great in you" -to the character-...lol

Pfilosophy
Pfilosophy

It'd be cheaper to use guys off the street that can do a much better job instead of "professional" voice actors that sound like crap. But then it wouldn't be Sega... However... Mark Hammill as a crazy Yakuza boss? That might sound pretty good, actually.

SemiMaster
SemiMaster

As long as it is a good game and I can understand the plot from either reading or hearing, I don't care either way.

jaefrmbk2k
jaefrmbk2k

i wish that they will add the subtitles minus the captions plus the english translation in english with a dash of chinese, japanese, portugese, look at these! ( . )( . )

rbarahona
rbarahona

There are some serious name as part of the voice cast. This fact could be a great plus for the game. However it should be nice that they could add a subtitles option for the gamers that wish to hear the japanese dialogues. Either way this seems to be a great game.

spokeydonkey3
spokeydonkey3

For the love of god I hope they give out the option of subtitled because it won't feel like a yakuza game it will feel like just another GTA clone, but this game seems to be so much more I mean Takashi Miike had his hand in it so I know that the story will have good direction but why do companies always Americanize everything. People should respect other cultures not change them to fit ours.

JoPeMo
JoPeMo

The English Cast is a nice Touch.. but I hope that the Original Japanese audio and English Text will be an option in the game. I'm really curious about this game. "SEGA" is known to take chances.. although they aren't always good (do I need to mention Shadow the Hedgehog?) I'm still willing to stand behind them 1000%. :D

FeiSlayerOGod
FeiSlayerOGod

I really think that they should leave the original language track. It would add so much to the feel of the game.

Jxy
Jxy

It could be damaging considering that a huge segment of the people who'll buy this game or who are at least interested are fans of Japanese yakuza movies and anime... they see a lack of an English dub as a good thing. Yeah, there's the odd person who'll say "ooh, I want the English dub so I can get my fix of MTV-friendly "talent," but Sega should know their target market.

carpathianrogue
carpathianrogue

axillia wrote: Screw the dub, give me the subtitled version with the original Japanese voices. That may well turn out to be a matter of contention. I personally think it's absurd, and potentially damaging, for Sega to spend such a great deal of time and effort recreating Tokyo right down to the fixtures and fittings. Inform us that we're playing as a member of the Yakuza, then populate the game with American voices (capable though they no doubt are.) The Tokyo illusion's then shattered, the moment someone opens their mouth...But the whole game's built around "Yakuza". I would prefer the option of subs with the original audio.

WolfSkill5544
WolfSkill5544

I can't wait to play this game. But for one I wish it could Japanese dialogue with English subtitles. Because the way that Japanese people speak makes this game more Yakuza style. Sometimes English dub takes out the flavor of the game and sound of the characters from games and sometimes from movies.

faizali86
faizali86

playing a gta style free roaming crime game is definitely not a bad idea. the voice cast is great. just hope the gameplay and storyline are good enough.

Renegade47
Renegade47

Michael Rosenbaum aka one of the most under appreciated actors in TV. Lex in Smallville and The Flash in Justice League Unlimited. The man deserves respect.

JiSnoz
JiSnoz

May the force be with you luke and use it for EVIL!! MUHAHAHAHAA

DreTire
DreTire

I'm guessing having the game w/ Japanese dialogue is out of the question when I seen the words "Madsen" and "Yakuza." But if the game has B-rated celebrities doing the voices, at least it's a step-up from the horrid voice-acting from "Shenmue." At least it SHOULD be.