'Splinter Cell: Blacklist' has a new voice for Sam Fisher; here's what happened to Michael Ironside

Eric Johnson takes on the role of everyone's favorite aging spy.

When Splinter Cell: Blacklist releases in 2013, it'll be the return of Sam Fisher, one of the most popular video game characters today. But there will be something very different about this super spy: his voice. Yes, the gravelly baritone of Michael Ironside will no longer be the voice of Sam Fisher.

Max Beland, the creative director of Blacklist, explained the change in an interview with Polygon.

They had a passing of the goggles, so to speak.

"It was probably the hardest decision of my career," he said, speaking of changing the voice from Michael Ironside to a younger actor, Eric Johnson. The decision was based on Ubisoft Toronto's decision to focus on advancements in performance capture technology. Modern day performance capture, like the kind seen in Avatar, requires that the actors physically act out their scenes as they're delivering their lines. In addition to making for more realistic animations, it also offers more believable line-reads, conveying real-world exhaustion or frustration. The Uncharted series has been using this technique since the beginning.

Unfortunately Michael Ironside is over 60 now and the demands of true performance capture were simply not in the cards for the veteran actor. The only decision was to move on, but apparently it was done amicably.

"Michael and Eric met once in the studio," said Beland. "They're both from Toronto, so they have that in common. They had a passing of the goggles, so to speak."

In case you're interested in checking out some more of Eric's work to get your ears used to how Sam will be sounding, you can check out his IMDB page. Flash Gordon as the new Sam Fisher? Sure, why not!

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