Master Chief is one of video gaming's icons. Much like Mario and Sonic, the Halo series protagonist has become a video game company poster child. However, with the upcoming release of Halo 4, many Japanese gamers are not happy with how the helmeted gun-toting warrior is sounding.
On August 24th, Soutaro Tojima, the audio director for Halo 4 announced that there would be a change in the Japanese voice over cast for the main characters, Master Chief and Cortana. While the English version voices would remain as Steve Downes for Master Chief and Jen Taylor for Cortana, the Japanese cast (originally Atsuki Tani and Akiko Koike) would be replaced by voice actors Rikiya Koyama and Ayumi Fujimura.
The change in cast was almost immediately met with a stream of confused, worried and angry twitter posts directed at Tojima and his decision. Tojima replied that the voice cast choice was "strongly influenced by 'my own feelings'" and that when the game is released and people play it, if they are disappointed by the cast, it will be entirely his responsibility. Unsatisfied with Tojima's response, Japanese fans have put up an online petition to have the original voice actors reinstated.
While the Japanese Halo fanbase is a fraction of its Western counterpart, it is still significant enough in the eyes of the developers to warrant a Japanese voice cast version of the game and not just a subtitled version. A character's voice and what they sound like are an incredibly important factor in defining how people perceive them. Changing the voice of such iconic characters could be seen as extremely ballsy, extremely arrogant, or both. As small as the Japanese fanbase may be, alienating them is probably not such a good idea. Let's just hope Tojima's gamble pays off.
Halo 4 is scheduled for release on November 6th.
騒動の発端と経緯 [Halo4 吹き替えキャスト変更問題まとめ@wiki]
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