Over the years, Canada has become a household name for everything video game related. Whether it was manufacturing with Coleco in Montreal, QC, or design with Distinctive Software in Burnaby, BC, in the early 80s, the Great White North slowly but surely made its way on the podium of the gaming industry. However, there is another area that has seen Canadians shine over the years: voice acting. In our Voices of the North series, we highlight the Canadian voice talent behind your favourite video game characters.
Canada holds a special place in video game history. One of the first attempt to create a computer game was made by a Canadian engineer, Josef Kates, and presented in the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto in 1950. Fast forward several decades and video games are now multi-million dollars productions with state-of-the-art graphics, complex mechanics, rigorous programming and, for many of them, with voice acting all around.
Mark Meer is no stranger to this discipline, and has lent his voice to various roles in video games for the past two decades. Staying true to his Canadian roots, his first voice acting role was in BioWare’s Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn in which he voiced a Bhaal Cleric. He continued working with the Edmonton-based video game studio on many other projects, such as Neverwinter Nights and Jade Empire, until he was offered a major role in BioWare’s now-iconic space opera Mass Effect.
Mark Meer is indeed the voice behind the male version of Commander Shepard. Over two sequels, respectively released in 2010 and 2012, he got to bring the character to life following the choices of the players. Like his female counterpart in Mass Effect, Jennifer Hale, Meer is a household name in Canadian voice-acting.
But Meer is not only known as the super soldier who saved the galaxy from alien threats three times. Closer to home, he also voiced the main character from Hinterland’s survival game, The Long Dark. Taking place in the Northern Canadian wilderness, this game invites players to embody airplane pilot William Mackenzie after he crashed in the middle of nowhere. Who better than a Canadian voice-actor to bring this Canadian character to life.
Besides video games, Mark Meer is also an accomplished actor and comedian specializing in improvisation. He is a core company member of the Canadian Comedy Award-winning live improvised soap opera Die-Nasty. He was also the first performer to complete the annual 53-hour long Die-Nasty Soap-A-Thon without sleeping. Meer is a multifaceted artist whose career is just beginning.