The video game industry dwarfs that of film, so it's really no surprise that actors the calibre of Kevin Spacey are being drawn to big budget franchises like Call of Duty.

Sure, it's more likely to be a lovely fat pay cheque luring them there, but that hasn't stopped Hollywood's elite from turning in some great performances in the virtual realm.

Spacey stars as Jonathan Irons, a powerful, megalomaniacal CEO of a Private Military Corporation and the villain of Activision and Sledgehammer Games' certain chart-topper Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

On the evidence of trailers, Spacey is in delightful scenery-chewing form as a character every bit as despicable as his House of Cards role Frank Underwood.

But how will he match up to the other big name actors to tread pixelated boards?


Peter Dinklage - Destiny

Not the greatest start if we're talking quality of performance, but certainly the highest-profile actor to appear in a video game this year prior to Spacey.

Dinklage plays robot companion Ghost, a fountain of knowledge who would rather tell you to shoot this or scan that than give you any answers. Sure the script is poor, but even that isn't reason enough for the actor's dour and uninterested performance.

If apathy had a smell, Destiny would reek of Dinklage's. Still, at least Ghost has been given the cute nickname Dinklebot.

Officer Tenpenny
Rockstar Games

Samuel L Jackson - Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Jackson isn't someone to think long and hard about taking a role. In fact you can probably count on one hand the number of part's he's turned down for reasons other than scheduling.

He may not be a picky actor, but he always gives his all, and in Rockstar's crime epic Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas he provides a fantastic villain as the corrupt and reprehensible Officer Frank Tenpenny.

Making a hero out of a criminal is something the Grand Theft Auto series always contends with, and one way of making it work is pitting them against a complete scumbag like Tenpenny.

Ellen Page Beyond Two Souls

Ellen Page - Beyond: Two Souls

The assumption is that acting in games is predominantly voice acting, but as is increasingly becoming the case, what you see in games are complete physical performances, thanks to the same motion capture techniques popularised and pioneered by Gollum himself, Andy Serkis.

Page, much like Spacey in Call of Duty, donned the ping-pong ball adorned spandex for her leading performance in Quantic Dreams' PlayStation 3 exclusive Beyond: Two Souls. The supernatural thriller was a divisive game, but a true testament to motion capture techniques.

Call of Duty

Gary Oldman – Call of Duty: World At War / Black Ops

Gary Oldman wasn't bad in his Call of Duty appearances, he just shouted a lot. An awful lot. As explained in this video...


Michael Fassbender – Fable 3

Fassbender is a big box office star now, but between his big break in 2009's Inglourious Basterds and 2011's X-Men: First Class he starred as the villain in Xbox 360 role playing game Fable 3.

Logan is your standard RPG villain really, a petulant and paranoid tyrant who rules over the game's kingdom of Albion. Fassbender is part of an all-star cast that includes basically every British actor imaginable: Ben Kingsley, Simon Pegg, Stephen Fry, and John Cleese to name just a few.

His X-Men co-star Nicholas Hoult also appears.

Steve Scott GTA Vice City
Rockstar Games

Dennis Hopper – Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Rockstar have always been able to attract big names to the Grand Theft Auto series thanks to their brilliant scripts and enormous popularity. Arguably the best ensemble they ever gathered was for Vice City, the 80s-set follow-up to GTA 3 that pays tribute to the decade and iconic films like Scarface.

Ray Liotta stars as the series' first talking lead, with support coming from the likes of Burt Reynolds, William Fichtner, Debbie Harry, Danny Trejo, Gary Busey, Danny Dyer, and porn star Jenna Jameson.

We've singled out Dennis Hopper as eccentric director Steve Scott however, because he's Dennis Hopper. We don't need another reason.

Fallout 3 Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson - Fallout 3

Liam Neeson's voice treads a fine line between gravelly awesomeness and the near indecipherable gruntings of a partially-comatose ox. Fallout 3 lands closer to the latter, but the manner of his introduction makes his appearance a memorable one.

Neeson is the first voice your character hears... literally... the opening of the game starts with your character being born and your father (Neeson) eagerly welcoming you into the post-apocalypse. Skip ahead a few months and you're then learning the game's controls as a toddler crawling and walking around.

Illusive Man

Martin Sheen – Mass Effect 2

After the Reapers – essentially enormous, universe-ending sentient robot cockroaches – developers Bioware wanted a more familiar, human villain for its sequel and they got it in the shape of Martin Sheen's Illusive Man.

Leader of the Cerberus group, the Illusive Man has long since forgotten his real name, and his humanity, having decide to pursue his dream of helping humanity ascend to a greater role in the galactic community, i.e. rule it.

Sheen wasn't the most memorable of video game villains, but he did have one hell of a view from his office. Beats the Thames Barrier at least.