I didn't really like Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands. It felt a bit drab, formalistic, and ultimately lacked a wow factor. I don't think it's a bad game, not in the slightest, it's just forgettable. That said, its sequel, Ghost Recon Breakpoint, is one of my most anticipated 2019 games, and that's largely due to Jon Bernthal's inclusion.
I'm a pretty big fan of Jon Bernthal. He's a terrific actor, and seems like an even better guy. And so when Ubisoft revealed that he was going to star as antagonist Colonel Cole D. Walker, I was pretty excited. On paper, Walker sounds a bit uninspired. He's a tough yet charismatic leader of a deadly military group called The Wolves, who are former Ghosts, and who have taken control of Aurora, partially thanks to the powerful drone technology they stole. Reading the character's synopsis, he sounds like every other military villain in every other military game ever. Yet, everything Ubisoft has shown of the character conveys the exact opposite of this, and again, this is due to Jon Bernthal.
The role of Walker obviously plays to the strengths of Bernthal as an actor, who has done a great job making the villain not only intimidating, but captivating. Granted we haven't seen much of Walker, but I already want to know more about his motivations and goals. Ubisoft hasn't shown much, but what it has trickled out hasn't suggested the character will even be that well written. Yet, Bernthal compensates for this.
It's too early to be too excited, but it's great to be excited in the first place. Before the game's reveal, the idea of playing another Ghost Recon game was not exactly an appealing one. Now, I can't wait.
The more story-driven and narrative heavy games get, the more important the actors and actresses become. Traditionally, video game acting hasn't been great. Sure, there's been a few actors and actresses over the years who have made a name for themselves with stand out performances, but compared to the type of acting you get from movies and even television, it usually doesn't compare. But that's changing, and the bigger games yet the more we're going to see traditional Hollywood actors playing the heroes and villains of our favorite games. And that's exciting, because it's only going to elevate the stories video games tell.
Video games don't need Hollywood actors and actresses to be great. They've proven that over and over and over again. However, this is the perfect example of the type of impact a great actor can have, especially now with how advanced motion capture is and how damn good facial animation can be if you spend the resources on it. I would not care in the slightest about Ghost Recon Breakpoint if Jon Bernthal weren't in it, but he is, and it has me excited to dive into the game when it releases on PS4, Xbox One, and PC on October 4.