Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mass Effect 3 Featuring Jessica Chobot

BioWare released a new trailer for Mass Effect 3 this morning highlighting the new and returning voice actors of the game. Jennifer Hale returns as female Commander Shepard, Martin Sheen as the Illusive Man, Keith David as Admiral Anderson, Seth Green as Joker, Tricia Helfer as EDI, and newcomer Freddie Prinze Jr. as James Vega.

Another new addition to the cast is Jessica Chobot as, ironically, reporter Diana Allers. This wouldn’t be big deal, except that two weeks ago there was this preview of playing Mass Effect 3 with Kinect.

It doesn’t take a genius to see the conflict of interest. Chobot, who is a correspondent for G4TV, previewed a game featuring her. It sadly questions the journalistic integrity of both Chobot and G4TV. Before you start breaking out your dictionaries and citing the definition of journalism, I know Chobot isn’t a games journalist, a term that seems so antiquated that anyone who actually is one rarely calls themselves as such. She isn’t a journalist, but she is on-camera talent, and that position should hold some of the same values that editors do. It’s the same reason that Giant Bomb didn’t review Bastion. They recognized that they were too close to development of that game, and rather than use their position to help their friends, they chose simply to not review the game.

It also calls into question how that preview for Mass Effect 3 with Kinect came about. As far as I know, and I will be the first to admit I don’t know anything otherwise, Adam Sessler is still pretty high up at G4TV, despite what looks like the station and site paving the road for his retirement. There one of two things that happened; either Chobot didn’t disclose the fact that she’s appearing in Mass Effect 3 before she did the preview, or Sessler knew and ok’d it anyways. Sessler has been around for a while. He’s a smart man and I would hope that this wasn’t something he gave the go-ahead on.

Even still, I’m not questioning whether Chobot does a good or bad job of voice acting her character. I met Jessica at Comic-Con last year and she’s a terrific person. I have no quarrel about the quality of her work in Mass Effect 3. However, I have a feeling I’ll have the same problem with Diana Allers as I did with Felicia Day as Talis in Dragon Age 2. When I saw the character model of Tallis in game, I didn’t think, oh look, there’s Tallis. Instead I thought, oh look Felicia Day is in my Dragon Age. The same thing will happen with Chobot as Diana in Mass Effect 3. I can see how fans of the show Chuck and Yvonne Strahovski had the same problem with Miranda in Mass Effect 2, but at least they changed her hair color.

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