If any of your friends disappear for the next few weeks, go ahead and blame Skyrim. Created by Bethesda Softworks and released today (11/11/11!), Skyrim is the latest installment in The Elder Scrolls, a series of beloved role-playing video games dating back to 1994. This new game already has earned rave reviews– including a few perfect scores— for its lavish landscapes, sprawling story, and tense action sequences. For the next 30 to 300 hours of game time, you can probably find your vanished friend questing in Tamriel, a magical and medieval continent populated with monsters, dragons, …and Capitals P.A. Announcer, Wes Johnson.
In addition to calling goals, Johnson is a veteran of stage, screen, and radio– lending his talents to works like John Water’s delightfully twisted A Dirty Shame, the cartoon Phineas & Ferb, and that classic Ovechtrick commercial. He’s appeared at a bazillion Capitals promotions, performed stand-up comedy, and worked radio with the legendary Wolfman Jack.
Since 2002’s Morrowind, Wes has been lending his voice to the Elder Scrolls series. He’s been an assassin, a master thief, an announcer at a gladiatorial arena, a mad god, and the freaking guards who bust you if you pick someone’s pocket in-game.
I tagged along with Wes to the midnight release of Skyrim at a GameStop in Vienna. Wes brought a platter of cheese (you had to be there) for the throng occupying the store. He answered questions, signed games, posed for photos, and generally held court with nearly one hundred enthusiastic fans. We discussed Skyrim, the overlap between calling goals and voice acting, and fighting his sons for the right to play the game.
I’ve been playing Skyrim since I uploaded this video, and it’s already sucking away my will to do anything else. The world of the game has a vibe a bit like Game of Thrones (sweet.), and the character customizations available are immense. It weaves a compelling story from the very first minute …and then it’s only a handful more before the first dragon shows up. I recommend it.