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Thief fan petition for return of original Garrett voice actor hits 1,800 signatures

Stephen Russell: original Garrett material.

When the Thief reboot was nothing but the collective musings of five Eidos Montreal employees locked in a room littered with energy drinks, it was already about Garrett. But at some point between then and now, it stopped being about Stephen Russell, Garrett’s longtime voice actor - now replaced with Assassin’s Creed 2 mo-cap veteran Romano Orzari. And not everybody’s happy about that.

“We were promised that we will play as Garrett,” reads the petition to bring back Stephen Russell. “The voice we've been given is not him.”

At last count, 1,800 fans had signed the petition. Petitioner Cloud Unknown argues that Russell’s voice defined the preceding three games in the series and that, in lieu of a distinctive face, it is Garrett’s voice that makes him who he is: “Change that, and he becomes another character entirely.”

“We've all gotten attached to that voice over the course of many robberies, adventures, and heists,” continues the petition. “Without it, Garrett is simply an impostor of his own self. A plastic Garrett lookalike. And so we urge the developers... Please bring Stephen back?

“It might seem like a small thing to some, but it is not. Don't let Thief go the same way Splinter Cell went, which had its main character replaced by a new actor after five games. It is like a slap to the face. We've gotten attached to this character. Don't take it away. Stephen is a core part of the Thief series.”

In response to a related poll at perennial home of all things immersive sim, TTLG, a poster claiming to be Stephen Russell expressed his gratitude for the fan fervour and noted that his time working with original series developers Looking Glass was “one of the highlights of my life”:

“I wanted to finally come out from the shadows and express to you how truly overwhelmed and astonished I am by the appreciation so many people have shown,” he said. “Creating Garrett's voice (and Benny and Karras) and working closely with the incredibly talented and encouraging audio team at Looking Glass, particularly those geniuses Eric Brosius and Kemal Amarasingham, was one of the highlights of my life and I'm extremely grateful to them for the opportunity. 

“Anyone who's been involved in the performing arts for any length of time knows full well the vagaries of the business, that there will be good times and there will be not so good times and one always hopes that the former will outweigh the latter. I consider myself very fortunate that I'm still working and enjoying what I'm doing even if the winds have (sic) change have once again brought new directions.”

Eidos Montreal have previously explained that, while Russell was “heavily considered” for reprisal of the role, their need for full body mo-cap meant they eventually plumped for Orzari.

What’s your take on the master thief’s vocal chords? Does it matter who plays them? And would it be considered churlish to point out that, actually, Garrett's character arc was tied off rather nicely with an emerald green bow at the close of Deadly Shadows?

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