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Michael Ironside's Splinter Cell paycheck, and how he found humanity in killing

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Michael Ironside is a popular character actor you may recognize from from Total Recall or Starship Troopers, but among video game enthusiasts he's likely best known as the voice of Sam Fisher from the Splinter Cell series. He's since left the role, and discussed the character in a recent question and answer session on Reddit.

"I have to confess I'm not a gamer. And when they sent me the contract for the very first game, it was quite lucrative, and I said absolutely, I will do this,'" he admitted. "I thought it was going to be like Pong, and I would just have to introduce it." His wife, he says, bought a brand new SUV with part of the paycheck.

The violence and stiffness of the script turned him off, however, and he tried to back out.

"And I didn't want to do it. And told them I was going to give them back their money. They asked me what would it take to keep me on the project, and I said we would have to change the character, and give him some type of humanity," Ironside said. "To their credit, they sat me down with the game creators, and we came up with the present Sam Fisher, who had an empathy and was not just a two-dimensional killing machine. And we got as much humanity, I think that that format will allow."

His wife also didn't want to give the car back, he said, so that had to enter into the calculations somewhere.

Ironside also pushed to record the voice actor with the other actors, instead of everyone creating a performance one at a time, to be edited together later. "On the first two games, we brought the cast in, and we all did it together, so we had a sense of humanity. That was one of my stipulations."

"I said 'Working is like making love, if I do it by myself, it's just masturbation. I'd rather have the other cast around." he continued. "And I think the proof is in the pudding, the game has had a pretty good set of legs on it."