Ex-James Sunderland voice actor addresses fans and Konami

Guy Cihi, the original voice and mocap actor for Silent Hill 2′s James Sunderland has released a statement to fans and Konami. The whole ordeal surrounds Guy Cihi, and Konami for the re-release of Silent Hill 2 in the Silent Hill: HD Collection, and the change of voiceovers.

Guy claims that he never received a contract stating his performance will be used again. He also states that it was all verbal, and a future attempt to get him to sign a contract was done. He goes on to say that California law states that videogame voice actors must consent to their performances being reused, something he feels did not get respected.

Later in his letter, Guy waives any rights he has to his performance to Konami for the sake of the fans so that they may enjoy both voiceovers – if the company sees fit to include them.

How Guy’s issue affected the entire recasting of Silent Hill 2 and 3 is not clearly seen. In a statement by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, the voice director of the Silent Hill: HD Collection, she says the recasting was indeed due to Guy Cihi’s legal matter between he and the company. In my interview with Troy Baker, the new voice actor for James, Troy discusses the matter as well.

This is a big, confusing mess, and let’s hope that this is the end of it. Hopefully fans will be treated with an option to switch between both the old and new voice tracks. If Konami even needed Guy’s permission to do so is something we probably won’t find out. There are too many factors, and no real way for fans to know exactly what has been happening behind the scenes.

[Source]

  • Petrol

    ooooooooooooo drama oooooooooooooooo

  • Jami

    Let us let old matters rest peacefully…it seems as thought the debacle is over. We can move on with the future of the series.

  • Andy H.

    Man I sure hope Konami takes action and gives us the option to switch between the old and new voices. This has seriously got my hopes up, so I hope it isn’t false hope.

  • http://silenthaven.tumblr.com Silent Haven

    Thanks for the plug CJ much appreciated.

  • Smiley

    The original performances should have been implemented from the get go. Despite Guy’s noble intentions I do not believe Konami will act upon them. They already took the time to recast the new actors so for better or worse we’re stuck with them in this HD package.

    For the old school fans who are looking for a proper way to play Silent Hill 2 and 3 the way Team Silent intended the best I can suggest for the time being is to pick up the PC versions of the games as well as Silent Hill 4 which was not included with this collection. Not only will you have the original performances, but you will have the best quality and resolution the games have to offer.

    Sadly I know there’s a lot of you who are not PC gamers so if you’re looking forward to playing those games on your PS3 or Xbox 360 then I leave it for you to decide if this dubbed collection is worth the price or not, and if it is (as Tomm Hulett claims) the ideal way to play Silent Hill 2 and 3.

  • StuntmanSnake

    You know, what I’ve never understood about this whole argument is that why does it seem like Guy Cihi is the lone victim? Why aren’t the other voice actors from Silent Hill 2 asking for money as well? If one can argue the possibility that they just don’t know, then what about Akira Yamaoaka and Mary Elizabeth? Surely they know their work has been rereleased multiple times. Why aren’t they complaining? Does this whole California law that Cihi is speaking of only apply to voice actors?

    Something about this just doesn’t sit right with me.

  • StuntmanSnake

    @Smiley

    Before you you criticize the HD collection as not being up to snuff as the originals, I suggest you wait for the final product. I have a lot of faith in Mary Elizabeth and Troy Baker and I know they are working hard for the fans. Besides, Team Silent may even see this new voiceover as an improvement to the atmosphere and actual prefer the new voice actors. You never know.

    Also, while you may be an avid PC gamer, I am not. I just don’t feel immersed in a game on a PC monitor using a mouse and keyboard. I will definately be picking this HD collection up.

  • Smiley

    StuntmanSnake I have very good reasons for what I had to say on the matter. Do I believe the HD Collection will not match up to the original? Very much so. Troy Baker and Mary Elizabeth have been clear that their performances are in fact a dub. There’s no changes to the games to accommodate how they’ll perform, and they had to sync properly to the original talent. It’s a bare bones performance to cover up another actor’s work.

    If I were to compare that with the original cast guided by Jeremy Blaustein in both voice acting and motion capture I believe it’s safe to say that the constraints from the new cast will be reflected upon. Guy, Heather and the rest of the cast had more to work with in their performances. It’s not the same team handling the re-recorded work either.

    Now sure Mary Elizabeth McGlynn has been involved with the series. Not Silent Hill 2, but she did work alongside Akira Yamaoka to create wonderful music in Silent Hill 3 and following. She has a wonderful singing voice, and I’m familiar with a lot of the projects she’s acted and voice directed. They are good at what they do, and I’m sure they’ll work past the restrictions to the best of their abilities. Same goes for the other unknown actors.

    Now why would I offer fans an alternative? It’s because the games Team Silent made are the ones already available to us. A lot of us already have them on a home console. These were the versions Team Silent intended us to have.

    That’s why I bring up the PC versions. I’m not an avid PC gamer. If I had a choice I would prefer to buy on my Playstation 3. I was really looking forward to this HD set. But as it stands if I want to play the classic Silent Hill games properly in the best format and resolution I’ll have to consider getting them for PC. That’s a fact I’ve been considering even before the announcement of PS3 versions. You’re not going to get “true HD” from these games on a PS3 or 360. The idea of being remastered in HD for home consoles is a misguided outlook anyway, yet Tomm Hulett believes this and the new voices make for an ideal way to play those games. But on PC the aspect ratio and graphics are at their fullest and can be modified to enhance your experience. Technology has also advanced so you need not worry yourself with playing a Silent Hill game using a mouse and monitor. I can play a lot of PC games using a controller based on the 360 design and it fares just as well. Microsoft sells such products. This was only an option I made for those who wanted to play them as they were meant to be played. Simple as that.

    The new dub is part of a separate group utilizing the success of those classic games to re-release for a new generation of platforms and make more money. That’s not a bad thing. Konami is a business, but the HD collection is more about that business and less about the artistic merits behind it. The recast was a business decision and not an artistic direction. The exclusion of Silent Hill 4 was a business decision and not an artistic direction.

    And that’s why I leave it up to you guys to decide if this sort of product is worth your money. I’m sure you’re as excited as the next fan to re-live Silent Hill 2 again on your HD TV, but then there are those of us who feel Konami has made some bad calls in dealing with this HD set. But by all means buy it if you want. We’re all going to have to vote with our wallets on this to determine if Konami should be making their games like this.

  • StuntmanSnake

    Smiley, all I’m saying is that you can’t condemn the game until you’ve tried it. Too many people do this and those that do are often proven to be wrong. And about dubbing, look at Shadows of the Damned, the mouth work wasn’t even changed in the US release and it still worked out great. Play it before you hate it.

  • rawshack

    hey smiley why is it you got to write ten page comments ?is it that you like the sound of your own voice ? going on and on ?

  • Smiley

    rawshack I write as precise as I can be to get my points across. I find that simple sentences never get through to anyone. I can’t very well close off with “Silent Hill HD sucks lol” and expect anyone to understand where I’m coming from. If you read what I have to say you can have a stronger view of where I stand, but most of all why. That’s your choice.

    StuntmanSnake I can condemn something based on how they’ve promoted it. Not every gamer turns out wrong. RE5 was promoted as a horror game, but people saw through it for what it was. An action title. The game came out and sure enough the criticism was in regards to the lack of horror. Now Capcom is claiming that Revelations is a step back into that direction.

    The whole point of trailers, previews, interviews etc. is to invest your interest into buying the game. Turns out I’m just part of a group that was not satisfied with what they’ve shown so far. Some of the pictures they released look unfinished compared to the original yet this was their preview photos. And I’ve already talked about the other problems.

    You can tell me to go out and try it, and chances are I might down the road. But as of now I don’t see the point in investing for the game new. Once they have my money I submit any opinions I’ve had about the game. I can’t truly expect them to change for the better if I were to keep supporting the games by buying a copy every launch. That’s why if I ever play this version it would likely be from a used purchase or possibly a price drop. It’s not that I’m unwillingly to try it. It’s that I’m unwilling to pay them for poor business decisions.

  • lol

    I havent a facebook account, how can ı reach the statement?

  • Hans

    good luck getting Silent Hill 2 running properly on a modern pc though.

  • LabGnome

    I was really on board with pre-ordering this until I got wind of the voice acting not being up to par. I feel I haven’t done my homework yet, and it could turn out to be just a bunch of internet anger-fluff. So, I will have to wait and hear what the final product acting will be like (if the new guys do as well or better that is fine by me!)

    Sketchy on details but it sounds pretty big of Guy to waive his rights for the fans too.

    I am hoping for the best.

  • Smiley

    It’s not just Guy from the sound of things. Monica Taylor Horgan (Mary/Maria) recently did an interview herself and she had this to say:

    http://silenthaven.tumblr.com/post/9690325410/discussion-with-monica-taylor-horgan-voice-actor-for

    Silent Haven: I want to ask you your thoughts on this whole Guy Cihi situation. Is he alone in this whole not wanting to sign over mocap and voice rights or were you and David and Donna not willing to sign any documents either? Also what is this business about no contracts?

    Monica Taylor Horgan: Well… yes they contacted me within the last year asking for a waiver release for any and all future releases of the game. No there were no contracts at the time. I don’t think anyone realized what was going to come of the game…the genre was relatively new (horror) and Japan does things differently than the US with on camera and voice talent. Konami was *very* shady about the work we did. It was ONLY to be released in the US and ONLY for one game… it has gone on to be released in a dozen countries, and several re-release versions including one that contains a “making of” which actually contains our likenesses… This is a BIG no-no… We have little or no recourse since the game was created in Japan…out of jurisdiction here…which is why they wanted releases from us—because the new HD version is from Konami USA. MUCH stricter laws protecting talent of course here. So they just recast it…I don’t think they realized what a hailstorm they were creating. It’s a shame really—because it’s the fans who miss out most. I never did sign the waiver and I think it’s great that Guy is standing up and shouting. I hope he (and fans) are successful protecting the original at least. And if Konami can clean up their act in the process and treat those who make them their fortunes better, then it’s a great thing.

  • Chris

    Wow, that last comment kind of changed the way I see it. She corroborated Cihi’s ‘no contract’ claims. Konami does really sound like the bad guy here. It was clearly never in order to improve the game or anything like that…hmm.

  • Smiley

    The voice of Eddie also confirms it in his own interview.

    http://she.townofsilenthill.com/silent-havens-interview-with-sh2s-original-eddie-voice-david-schaufele/

    Thankfully though the fans have spoken and Konami has made contact with these actors to sign over their rights.

    I’m very happy to hear that, and if in fact the original voices return for both SH2 and SH3 then I’ll be sure to purchase a new copy at launch to support a game that the fans wanted.