It’s 2005 and some of the best games of the generation are about to be unleashed upon the world.
Resident Evil 4, God of War, F.E.A.R., Shadow of the Colossus, and Psychonauts are just a few of those now legendary titles, but there’s one more.
Featuring ultra-stylized cel-shaded graphics, an obtuse amount of violence and sex, and an almost incomprehensible plot, Killer7 splashed onto the scene like a mature-rated Orca whale.
Then people actually played the game and discovered it was a bit more plodding than the trailer’s made it out to be (see GameTrailer‘s review).
The game was still amazing at least to me and showed us what you get when you put two of the industry’s greatest minds – Goichi Suda and Shinji Mikami – together with free reign to do whatever they want.
Killer7 existed in a time when things were different in the industry. Companies like Capcom still threw money at experimental projects like this and tinkered with new ideas instead of rehashing old ones.
It’s been over a decade since Suda 51’s masterpiece debuted and nothing has been said about creating a sequel or any future content, which is probably a good thing.
So here’s a interesting factoid to celebrate the game’s 10th birthday.
Facts about Killer7’s Voice Acting
Have you ever wondered what a ghost sounds like?
Well you might be surprised when you hear the ghosts in Killer7 as they sound like they’ve gone through a hefty post-processing through Adobe Audition rather than transcending into the afterlife.
However, there are some interesting differences between the Japanese and International versions of the game.
The voices we’re accustomed to hearing in the North American version of the game were changed from their somewhat understandable versions in the Japanese game. In the Japanese version of the game, all of the spirits speak in English; however, their speech is still heavily modulated.
Mixing up the voices and modulating them provided some added mystery to their characters, but it also did away with the poor translation of what they were saying that would have been scrutinized by reviewers at the time.
Interestingly, the voices that were featured in the game are actually pretty simple to produce. Using a Mac’s Text Editor of Text to Speech application, you can find voices that are quite similar to Iwazaru, Suzie, and Travis.
There’s also an interesting connection between the voice modulation and one of the game’s main voice actors.
Dwight Schultz plays Harman Smith, but he also plays Reginald Barclay in Star Trek.
Barclay is an oddball who seems completely out of place wherever he goes and you’d never expect his actor to have such a sonorous voice as he does while playing Harman Smith.
In the episode Pathfinder in Star Trek: Voyager, Barclay makes contact with the ship that’s been stranded in the Delta Quadrant.
What’s interesting is that the voice modulation used on his voice when the signal is received by Voyager is the exact same as Iwazaru’s from Killer7.
This is probably more of a coincidence than an actual connection, but who knows what localization staff were in the room?
Maybe someone who worked with Dwight Schultz on Star Trek: Voyager on the episode Pathfinder made the suggestion to garble the voices in Killer7 like they did when working on the episode.
If you listen to the voice clip it’s a pretty strange coincidence to hear the same voice in two different place. It makes you wonder if Star Trek and Killer7’s universes are somehow connected… nah just kidding. Of course they’re not, but when I heard his garbled voice years ago I immediately thought of the bondage-laden Iwazaru.
Another interesting fact comes from looking at the past of voice actor Greg Eagles who plays Garcian Smith in Killer7.
Eagles is best known for his roles as Donald Anderson (the DARPA Chief) from Metal Gear Solid, Grim from the Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, and recently as Jax from Mortal Kombat X. He’s also known for playing Taurus from PC game Interstate 76.
Many have cited the similarities in art style between the two games with their use of cell-shaded graphics and colour gradients. There’s very little to actually connect the two characters other than their shared voice actor, but the similarities in art are striking.
However! There is a direct connection between Taurus and Killer7 in Andrei Ulmeyda.
Andrei Ulmeyda in his judo outfit looks strikingly similar to Taurus from Interstate 76. And the similarities don’t stop there.
In Killer7, Garcian confronts Ulmeyda in Texas. Interstate 76 starts in Texas. Andrei Ulmeyda’s yellow shirt also has the words “Texas Bronco” on it. And what car does Taurus drive? A Ford Bronco… wait, no he doesn’t. Andrei Ulmeyda is the owner of a fake multinational corporation. Taurus is a poet who drives a car and talks to you soothingly over the radio…
Anyway, the connection between the two characters starts to fall apart when you look into the details, but Interstate 76 was undeniably an artistic inspiration for Killer7.
Another quick Greg Eagles-related Easter Egg is at the end of No More Heroes.
An assassin with the word “Pluto” on a gold chain barges in on Travis Touchdown as he’s sitting in the washroom, and threatens to strike him down on the toilet.
The assassin’s name: Ermen Palmer. The name is a play on the name Emir Parkreiner, which is Garcian Smith’s true name. Ermen was also played by Greg Eagles, but due to Garcian being owned by Capcom this was the only way to have the character appear in the game.
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Anyway, Killer7 has always been a favourite video game of mine. It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 10 years since the game was released and I have to say nothing since has quite captured my attention like it has.
The game’s story, characters, and design are all just so different from the norm we’re used to. It’s a game that makes you wonder what would happen if video game developers would start putting more money into experimental game design and risky projects rather than leaving indie developers to raise money on their own.
Here’s wishing Killer7 a happy belated 10th birthday.