Why Destiny Dev Dropped Peter Dinklage for Nolan North
It's all about consistency.
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One of the biggest surprises about the new Destiny expansion, The Taken King, is that developer Bungie has hired voice actor Nolan North to be the new voice of the in-game Ghost companion. North, who is a prolific video game voice actor known for titles like Uncharted and Assassin's Creed, hasn't been brought on just for the expansion, either; he is re-recording every line of dialogue in the entire game, completely replacing Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage, who was the original voice of Ghost. Dinklage's voice acting in the original game was widely criticized by fans, even after Bungie dropped his most infamous line from the game's beta test.
In an interview with GameSpot, Destiny's lead concept artist, Jesse van Dijk, spoke about why Bungie decided to make such a significant change to the game. According to van Dijk, Bungie wanted to rework the entire game to make it more clear and guide players more. The team calls this process the "questification" of Destiny, and it involves an overhaul of the quest and bounty systems in the game.
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"We wanted to improve the sense of what goals players were chasing after," he explained. "Because very often we would find that they were chasing after a gun, or following a specific quest line. What we wanted to do was chart that more clearly, and ultimately that led to something that we call 'questification.' All of the The Taken King content has been given that treatment... And when we started working on that, we were actually so satisfied with that formula that we went, 'Wait a minute, why don't we give all our previous content the same treatment? Why don't we questify that as well?'"
This required Bungie to make Ghost's role more important, which meant that the studio needed more lines of dialogue to be recorded. As a result, it hired Nolan North to be the new voice of Ghost--but he couldn't just do the new lines. He had to be the voice of Ghost throughout the Destiny universe. Van Dijk explained, "When we started looking at voice actors, and we decided to work with Nolan North, the consistency of the entire universe is very important to us, so we decided to give the full treatment to all of our previous content too. [This] is why Nolan North is also your Ghost from the very moment you start [the game]."
The Taken King launches on September 15, and it brings a lot of significant changes to the game. Most notably, Bungie has abandoned the Light system of leveling, instead opting for a more traditional, experience-based system. A lot of weapons will also be rebalanced, and you'll be able to try out some guns before you buy them. Check back on GameSpot for more news about the expansion in the coming weeks.