From the Vault: “Foster is down!”

Today is the first day in a week that I didn't get up at 4am to go to work. I really wish I could say what I've been working on, because it's awesome, but I have to keep that information in a secure location for at least a few more days.

It was pretty great that I got to sleep late – I rolled out of bed at 8, despite my efforts to convince my brain that it should shut the fuck up and sleep while it can – and it was especially nice to see that my dogs were so happy to see me.

Both of the dogs met me at my bedroom door and proceeded to follow me all around the house while I made breakfast and stuff. I texted Anne: The dogs must have missed me, because they've been following me everywhere since I got out of bed 20 minutes ago." She texted back "Oh, I didn't feed them before I left." I replied, "Awwww DAMMIT!"

It's been a pretty great day already, what with the sleeping in and basically earning a day off, but it's about to get a whole lot better, since Red Dead Redemption came out today, and I can play a whole bunch of it without feeling guilty.

Some of you may know that I'm a character in RDR … now all of you know that I'm a character in RDR … and it's always fun and weird to play a game where I can hear my own voice come out of one of the characters. Thinking about that while I made my coffee this morning reminded me of this post from the vault about a character I played in Ghost Recon 2 many years ago:

I play David Foster in Ghost Recon 2. I've been waiting for months to play it (ever since I recorded my first few lines of dialogue), and last night, I finally got my chance to try it out.

I couldn't sleep, so rather than lie in bed and toss around until I woke Anne and got The Wrath, I quietly went down to the living room to play.

Okay, the first mission? SO @!#$^%ING HARD! But that's good, because it sets it up for the player that this isn't going to be a cake walk. Save early, and save often, as the saying goes.

After several tries, I finally completed it with my entire squad intact, if slightly wounded. Funtimes!

On to mission two: blew the bridge with no problem, and lead my squad around the left side of the building complex, where we took a big group of hostiles completely by surprise! Yes! A few times, I heard me (Foster) tell myself, "Great shot!" or "Fire in the hole!" I must say, I am quite the badass . . . and so is David Foster.

So.

After we cleared this courtyard, I consulted my map and saw that we had a few hundred meters to cover before we met up with the British squad, so decided to send my men on the right flank while I went up the left side.

"Copy that," is that last thing I heard myself (Foster) say before a hail of gunfire errupted from behind some bushes.

"GARRAGGHHH!!!!!" I (Foster)screamed.

"Foster's been hit, captain!" Someone in my squad said, while I listened to myself (Foster) writhe in agony. "Oh shit!" I thought. "I have to save myself!"

I ordered my squad to lay down suppressive fire on the two North Koreans who had me (Foster) pinned down, and I crawled through the grass until I was close enough to adminster aid.

I heard the zip of the bullet cut through the air in front of me, just before it buried itself into my (Foster's) head.

"Foster is down!"

"We've lost Foster!"

"NOOOOO!" I shouted, loud enough to wake my entire house.

Luckily, the doors were all closed, and maybe my scream was louder in my head than it was in my living room, because The Wrath I would have gotten when Anne realized I was mourning my (Foster's) death in a video game would not have been pretty.

I reloaded the mission and tried again. This time, I ordered Foster to hang back while I tossed way too many grenades near the area where I knew the hostiles were lurking. Yeah, I spammed 'em good.

We hooked up with the Brits, held off a pretty nasty assault while we waited for extraction, and made it into the chopper relatively unscathed.

I don't know why, but I left out a key detail when I wrote that: I had Foster park himself in the start area, and didn't let him move until the entire area was cleared. It was a tough mission, and I made it tougher by doing it without one of my key party members, because I was so traumatized by his (my) untimely demise.

I cringe when I hear my writing voice from those days, but I'm willing cut myself a tiny bit of slack, because I was young and foolish then (I feel old and foolish now). The story still makes me smile, though, so I think it's a fair trade off. As Chuck Lorre would say, "Not so funny then, very funny now."

44 thoughts on “From the Vault: “Foster is down!””

  1. Nice post. Not complaining and its obvious by the post you have been very busy but you teased us about RFB 28 last week and that it would have some sort of announcement…I just enjoy the burrito very much.

  2. Ok, I’m curious–does playing the voice in a computer game pay more or less the same as acting in a TV show or on a movie? If not it is generally less than or more than what you’d earn when you are also visible to the audience? (I don’t care what the going rate is, mind you, just wondering how the computer game industry compares to the entertainment industry when it comes to hiring actors.)

  3. I just texted my husband “Wil Wheaton plays one of the characters in the video game that gets here today!” His response: “Nice! Now you won’t bug me about going to bed when I stay up late playing it!”
    I’d play it off like he’s exaggerating but? He’s totally right. My plan to look at my watch and sigh every fifteen minutes until we finally got to go to bed has been blown!
    And I’m happy about it!

  4. RFB28 is delayed because of a technical difficulty that makes me want to blast off and nuke the site from orbit. I'm still working on it, though, and hope to have it ready in a couple of days.

  5. The SAG minimums are substantially less for video games than they are for original animation.
    You know what pays the least, but requires the most work? Dubbing Anime.

  6. Funny, I don’t think I could handle playing a shooter where one of the characters was me – even if it was just my voice. I have enough of a time trying to disengage from those types of games anyway.
    What I do like doing is putting myself into the EA sports games. Watching “myself” step out onto the ice after a great win to accept the applause for First Star kinda makes me giddy.
    I do turn injuries off though, mostly for practical purposes, but I sure as heck wouldn’t want to see myself go down awkwardly clutching at my broken ankle.
    Have fun, Wil!

  7. Oh my god, yes. Watch the special features on the DVD of Howl’s Moving Castle and see the hell Disney put Christian Bale through.
    Then again, considering that freak-out he pulled, maybe it was preemptive karma.

  8. I found your vault post plenty funny, but then again I was picturing you yelling at the screen in an otherwise silent house, and it had great comic effect.
    Your writing style has changed over the years but I wouldn’t necessarily say that it was unfunny then. I remember tears of laughter from reading your vault posts when they were new.
    Maybe we’re both old and foolish?
    :old and foolish high five!:
    :ow my back:

  9. I imagine Ghost Recon has a much higher level of detail but I actually like seeing myself in these situations. Take it to the extreme, play Avatar Drop on the XBox360. Cute little download game that puts your avatar through hell.

  10. How lame is it that I want to buy this game but don’t have a platform that will play it? And I am considering getting one?
    This is knowing full well that I suck hard at video games and would probably never even get to the part where his character is.
    *sigh*

  11. My wife has worked at Microsoft for quite some time. Back in the day (and I suspect maybe they still do this), they would audition interested employees to do voiceovers for video games.
    She actually has an IMDB credit for doing the voice in one of MSFT’s “get in this big piece of mech and fight” games from, oh, six or seven years ago.
    They took her because she’s got that sexy voice, y’know. If I recall correctly, one of her lines was, “I’m going down!”
    For some reason, though, I could never get her to reprise her role during the throes of passion, as it were.
    My loss, I’m sure.

  12. Don’t get into any bad habits there.
    There is nun reason to play this game.
    But if you do play it – hold onto your suicidal horse for cryin’ out loud!
    :D

  13. Ooh — a friend of mine is a character in RDR too! I don’t even know anything about it to know if it’s my kind of game or not, but I think I’m now obligated to look into that…

  14. Oh! Secret project! Can’t wait to find out what cool thing you are working on.
    Speaking of cool things – have you heard anything about repraising your role on Leverage? I know they’ve started shooting Season 3, and I’m really hoping they bring you back because you were AWESOME last season.

  15. Heh, I remember Bruce Campbell telling a story about voicing Pitfall Harry in one of the later iterations of the game.
    Whenever his son got *really* pissed at Bruce he would lock himself in his room and boot up the game. Then Bruce would hear himself screaming as his son would run him off a cliff in the game over and over. He said it was mildly disturbing… :D

  16. hehe, hearing yourself in a video game is pretty strange. I would have expected you would be used to hearing your own voice in things though. Either way, I can’t wait to play RDR, the world looks huge and the graphics look fantastic too.

  17. Had no idea you were in RDR. Awesome. I have it sitting in my messenger bag, taunting me.
    3 more hours of work to go…

  18. I’m not really a gamer (save for Rock Band), but I love our gaming system (we have a PS3) because of PlayOn, Netflix access, Blu-Ray capability, etc. So, if you have the cash, go for the system!

  19. That must be surreal to hear yourself in a game. I imagine it’s not like a scripted TV show, where the reruns are always the sames lines in the same order.
    It’s also nice to know I’m not the only person who finishes TMBG lyrics when I hear them, before moving on with my original thought.

  20. Could you direct me to that line between then and now where the funny is? or at least give me an ETA to the funny since I am still on the then side of a couple of situations?
    thanks

  21. Interesting post. I can only imagine how…odd…that would be. But cool, too. I guess it would be weird, but also good.
    (Sorry, couldn’t help it.)
    Also, thanks for this:
    “I was young and foolish then (I feel old and foolish now).”
    TMBG always makes for a brighter day.

  22. She texted back “Oh, I didn’t feed them before I left.” I replied, “Awwww DAMMIT!”
    I just spent a couple of weeks in the UK, flying out while my dog was in foster care for a few days. When he got home, my wife sent me a text to say he was confused, looking around for me. A few minutes later she texted again “never mind, it was just that his water bowl was empty” Awwww DAMMIT!

  23. Heh, my voice is in two German games (from quite a few years ago) the translation company I work for localised. Sometimes audio recording is done in-house and there were a few tiny roles that weren’t worth hiring voice-actors for so a few employees got the opportunity. It was a lot of fun.
    I played both games afterwards but never managed to hit my bits. :/

  24. Very cool. 20 years ago I worked for nine years in IT at a police department and we spent many a noon hour playing Rainbow Six. We routinely played hardest level, light armor, silenced pistols and kicked butt.
    I occasionally got to use the Firearms Training Simulator at the Academy. Our video unit produced a training laser disc for it, so everyone was in our uniforms in areas that were familiar, if not recognizable. One day I was hanging out at the armory and this biker-type with really long hair came in, he was an undercover detective, and the sergeant in charge of the armory said “Hey, Fred! I got to shoot you today!” Fred was in one of the scenarios.
    It was full of all kinds of awesome.

  25. Interestingly enough you can get the GR series on Valve (a great place since they’ve rereleased a lot of old classics like XCOM!). As a Mac Fan, have you checked out Valve’s Steam for Mac? Friends say it is a little glitchy still, but Portal and TF2 work well… Seems like the lament that Mac Users don’t get enough game support may come to an end.

  26. I’m curious what it’s like to record the voice of a video game. How does it differ than voicing an animated show or movie? Wil, have you written about the experience on your blog or in one if your books? I’d like to read about it.

  27. “Confidentially, she never called me baby-doll”….
    (nuts, beaten to the punch earlier – damn you “not checking the interwebs earlier curse!)

  28. I’m a bad TMBG fan. I knew young and foolish/ old and foolish was a quote from something, but I couldn’t even remember if it was a movie or a video game or what.
    Very. Bad. Fan.

  29. OT
    Wil,
    sorry for coming so late to the party. I’ve been reading your blog, intermittently, for years but I’ve only recently subscribed to its RSS feed on livejournal. taking that step I decided to catch up on your past posts that I’d missed. in the process I ran across your post “How one redditor found happiness. This is just wonderful.” on alukima’s excellent post to reddit.
    if I might be so bold, I thought I might direct you to my 50th birthday post on LJ ( http://users.livejournal.com/_perihelion_/32889.html ) of several years ago. if you found alukima’s post interesting you might find mine as well. I hope you can find a couple of minutes to read it over.
    -richard

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