#23: Chloe battles the robot dinosaurs

When you hear a familiar voice in a game, it jars you — particularly when it’s one you associate with a disco-dancing unicorn.

Apologies for the lack of Hit Points yesterday. The youngest was home sick for the second time in a fortnight (honestly I’m fine. I said I’m fine) so I spent the day on the sofa watching terrible children’s television. Did you know that Nolan North voices the lead character in Nickelodeon’s Blaze & The Monster Machines? If not, good for you. I’m afraid I can no longer take him seriously, which makes playing Destiny 2 rather difficult. I keep expecting my Ghost to launch into a pop-punk song about resurrection every time it brings me back after a wipe, or tell me to shout ‘Hive god!’ whenever one appears on screen. (Apologies to the non-parents, who have no idea what any of this is about. You lucky, lucky souls.)

I had a similar problem with Death Stranding, whose Die-Hardman was played by the voice of Ubercorn in the CBeebies series Go Jetters; of all the jarring cameos in Kojima’s game, this one took the (disco) biscuit. This is an awkward phenomenon in games. We have no problem when an actor from, say, a certain TV series pops up in a movie or two. But when you hear a familiar voice in a game, it jars you — particularly when it’s one you associate with a disco-dancing unicorn.

There was that time in the 360 era when North seemed to be in every other new release. These days it’s Troy Baker who’s everywhere, though unlike North, he doesn’t play every role as himself, and so isn’t quite so noticeable. Part of the reason I never really got into Horizon Zero Dawn was because I can no longer hear Ashly Burch’s voice without hearing Chloe from Life Is Strange. Burch is everywhere these days — rightly so; she’s terrific — but it has resulted in a weird sub-genre of games I can’t take seriously, an impromptu expanded universe my brain thinks of as Chloe’s Deeply Weird Gap Year. My point, such as I have one, is that games probably need a larger pool of voice talent, and that I really can’t stand Blaze & The Monster Machines. Sorry, Nolan. We’re through.

Still, yesterday wasn’t all bad. Kids are at their most pleasant when they’re poorly, all floppy and lazy and sweetly needy. They sit still, mostly, and may even fall asleep voluntarily. You can actually have a conversation without it needlessly ballooning into an argument over, like, socks or whatever. And we could all do with a day on the sofa sometimes, even if we’re not that impressed with the entertainment. I’ve had worse Mondays, certainly.

Besides, we didn’t miss an awful lot, did we, as the industry continues moving down through the gears in the post-not-E3 lull. Let’s catch up!


  • Sony has acquired Housemarque, developers of the excellent Returnal and, before that, a host of equally excellent love letters to the arcade — the likes of which I doubt Sony will ever let them make again. Still, this feels like the best possible result for a studio that seemed to be in real trouble just a few years ago.
  • Thanks to a PlayStation Japan social oopsie — increasingly the game-industry equivalent of a sozzled civil servant leaving classified documents on a bus — it seems a Bluepoint acquisition may be next. This makes a lot more sense: Sony has a rich back catalogue, and PS5 does not do enough to support it. Microsoft lets you play all your old games on new hardware for free; Sony will get Bluepoint to tart up a classic to a ludicrous shine every three years or so, and charge you £70 for it. I will pay, admittedly.
  • Microsoft has formally rolled out Xbox Cloud Gaming to iOS devices, among others. My early experience of it is broadly the same as all the game-streaming services that have come and gone over the years. I didn’t even get off the character select screen in Destiny 2 on the iPad, because the cursor was miles off the pace of my inputs. I shall persist.
  • The director of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla has jumped ship to EA Motive, the Toronto studio reportedly working on a Dead Space reboot, among other things. This, I hear, is only the tip of the iceberg. These are difficult times over at Ubisoft.
  • A lovely Twitter thread — yes, such a thing exists! — from Joel Burgess, these days studio director at Capy but formerly of Bethesda, about the passing of his dog River, the inspiration for Fallout 4’s Dogmeat. After reading it I ran off to tearily cuddle the pup, but she was eating one of my shoes, so that was the end of that.
  • While I cannot pretend to understand its inner workings, this financial modelling tool for small studios, from game-finance guru Stephane Rappeneau, seems very cool indeed.
  • It used to be that when a project completed, you rolled off to the next one. But the more than 600 people who worked on Cyberpunk 2077 in the run-up to launch are still working on it now, as CD Projekt struggles to repair both its game and its reputation.
  • Crystal Dynamics is updating Marvel’s Avengers so that multiple players can use the same character in multiplayer sessions. This is essential for this style of game, but cleaves the fiction on which it is based clean in two, which rather proves what a weird idea an Avengers co-op live-service game was in the first place. Ho hum.
  • While thinking about other things, I remembered that Eric Hirshberg left Activision in 2018 and we’ve heard hide nor hair of him since. Turns out he’s reinvented himself as a singer/songwriter, and has recently put out an album. This is just exquisite fired-rich-guy-midlife-crisis behaviour, and I give it my full support.

There we go. I’m sending this a little early today, because a football match is happening and I need to ensure I’m appropriately well-lubricated for the pain of England crashing out on penalties after a wrongly disallowed goal and at least one contentious red card. As ever, if you’ve enjoyed this, do share it around. And if you like Hit Points enough to support it for just 14p per day, a paid subscription would be rapturously received. See you tomorrow!