Even after several years of annual releases in the Call of Duty franchise, Activision has still found ways to surprise its fans. Nobody could have anticipated that award-winning actor Kevin Spacey would join this year's cast as Jonathon Irons, the leader of a private military company named Atlas. We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg to ask him how Kevin Spacey became interested in doing Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
Hirshberg began by setting some background for what inspired the game's plot, which is a bit of a departure from previous entries in the series. Call of Duty has always been inspired by actual events, and the idea of soldiers being employees of a company, rather than part of any government's military, was a major inspiration when drafting the game's story. He elaborated that the development team ran with the idea and decided to imagine what a powerful private military force might look like in the year 2054. In trying to find the perfect actor to portray the leader of such an organization, Hirshberg realized that they needed to get an iconic actor involved.
There have been great actors involved with games before, but [Kevin Spacey's] a two-time Academy Award winner, and it's more than just him standing in front of a microphone and giving the voice, this is full performance capture...I think he is bringing another level of emotional impact to a game, than we've ever seen before.
Hirshberg went on to cite Spacey's role in House of Cards, a Netflix original series, as an example of how the actor has been willing to experiment with new forms of media. He told us that Activision had considered several actors and actresses for the role, but that Spacey had always been their number one choice. As for Spacey's involvement, Hirshberg believes that the actor's interest in technology, and the amount of gamers his performance would reach, are what initially peaked his interest.
We sat down with him and described the character to him, described the narrative, and first and foremost, I think he responded to that, but also when you sit down with him and say 'this is how many people you're going to reach, here's the kind of engagement we get with this content,' it's pretty compelling.
We look forward to seeing Kevin Spacey in his Call of Duty debut when Advanced Warfare launches for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC on November 4th. Stick with us throughout this week for more of our exclusive with Eric Hirshberg.