Let professional voice actors do the dialog in games, and skip the marquee celebs - that's the advice of Sony dialog manager Greg deBeer. Why? In an interview with Gamasutra's Brandon Sheffield, deBeer said he feels "hearing an identifiable celebrity voice takes you away from the game."
Instead of being immersed in this environment with these characters who are supposed to be a part of whatever world you're playing, you say, "Oh, I recognize that voice," and it brings you back into the real world. It's a very disruptive experience for me personally.
I don't necessarily disagree, but in the swap-over between games and English-dubbed anime, often fans end up hearing familiar voices from one game to another, anyway. These days I always hear at least one voice in a game that I recognize, or think I recognize, and actually have to pause the game to go and look it up and see whether I was right. I guess it depends on the game - many times, character models take influence from major actors (think Tenpenny), and in that case the celebrity actor is a good fit, right?
However, deBeers said that's not the only reason:
I also find, in many cases, celebrities are used to a very specific way of being dealt with and dealing with production, and voice over is very different from that. And game voice over is different from just straight animation or ADR or something in a film setting.
There are some actors that can handle it very well, but I've found that more often than not, the more exposure they've had in the film world, the less they are able to cope in these situations."
Is that a polite way of saying "diva effect," do you think, or is it just different skill sets?
Giving Games A Voice: Sony's Dialog Manager Greg deBeer Speaks [Gamasutra]