Worth more than the music and movie industries combined, the various forms of digital interactive entertainment reach billions of people, and the industry is only getting bigger. With such reach, it’s only natural that celebrities would also get on board, on every side of the aisle. Some of these relationships are stranger than you might think, giving us questions about what could come next for this combination of fame and technology. So, how do celebrities get involved with gaming, and how does gaming help celebrities extend their fame?
Despite fame and fortune, celebrities are still just people like us. This means many of them enjoy the same hobbies, including playing games. Arguably the most famous of these names in the movie sphere is Henry Cavill. A huge man and a huge gamer, it was Cavill’s love for The Witcher games and books that drove him to seek the lead role in The Witcher series. He’s also told a story where he almost missed the call telling him he won the part of Superman because he was too busy playing World of Warcraft.
Next up on the list is Matthew Perry, a longtime player and fan of a huge range of video games. From platformer Klonoa to RPG Skyrim, Perry’s enthusiasm for gaming has stood strong for years, remaining to this day. He even credits a marathon session of Fallout 3 with injuring his hand, which is an impressive feat given the title’s slower-paced nature.
Outside of video games, some celebs have also noted their passion for online casino titles. Sports stars like Mike Tyson and Christiano Ronaldo have long stated their love of online games like poker, though it can be tricky to track down exactly which versions of the games are their favourites. With so many new online casinos popping up constantly, it’s possible these celebrity players like to browse around for different bonuses, tournaments, and themes. After all, it’s what everyone else does too!
Becoming Part of the World
Since video game characters are entirely digital, they don’t have to be based on the appearance of any real people. As graphics become more advanced, however, using a real person as a basis has become increasingly popular. This is obviously the case in sports titles, but it’s been happening a lot more in other genres too.
One of the biggest recent examples of this direction was found in Keanu Reeve’s surprise inclusion as Johnny Silverhand in Cyberpunk 2077. As an AI anarchist looking to avenge his own murder and burn the company responsible to the ground, Keanu’s work in this title was one of the game’s best features. Sure, the title had a rocky launch, but it’s seen a lot of improvements since then, so if you’re an RPG and Keanu fan who let Cyberpunk go by, it might be worth another look.
Noted geek culture enthusiast Rosario Dawson has long stated her love of Nintendo and Pokemon, but she’s also getting in on the character side of the equation as Lawan in Dying Light 2. This first-person zombie parkour game places Lawan as one of your major guides part-way through. As a badass slayer, this was a cool celebrity integration where we know Dawson appreciated what she was in for.
Not just content to play and act in games, some celebrities have gone a step further and included themselves as a more fundamental part of the development process. The most common examples of this come from mobile games which are built are celebrities like Nicki Minaj: The Empire. This game has players building up their fame and rap career, with the title even including exclusive music to keep fans playing.
The most famous example of celebrities developing games has to be Vin Diesel. Founding Tigon Studio in 2002, Diesel’s company is responsible for a couple of fantastically well-received Chronicles of Riddick games in Escape from Butcher Bay and Assault on Dark Athena. These games weren’t just token efforts, they essentially set a standard for first-person brawling and world-building that few others have matched.
It’s not always celebrities who turn to video games, sometimes celebrities are born from streamers who focus on video games. Imane “Pokimane” Anys is one such example, as a Twitch and YouTube streamer who got her start playing League of Legends and Fortnite. Now opening a media empire social entertainment company OfflineTV, Pokimane has grown to a level of popularity where even non-gamers are becoming aware of her success and influence.
For an example of a resurgence of fame, fans have been turning to Scottish comedian Brian “Limmy” Limond. Now retired from the comedy circuit and television, Limmy streams a variety of games on Twitch where he continues to be a fan favourite. Known for his offbeat personality, many new fans have found Limmy this way, going back to YouTube to check out his world-famous skits and memes.
Whether playing games, lending their talents, investing in development, or even coming from the gaming landscape in the first place, the relationship between celebrities and gaming is on the rise. The future is one where gaming could be a natural part of celebrity life, and if you’re a fan of interactive entertainment and celebs like we are, this could be a fun development to watch. Who knows, next time you head out onto the digital battlefield, you might be facing your favourite celeb and not even know it.