Stephen Russell is an American theatre, television and film actor and writer from Massachusetts. However, to many, he is best known for his prolific voice acting career, which he started in The '90s. He mostly voice acts in various video games. He is best known for voicing Garrett in Thief, and voicing every Mr. Handy in Fallout 3.A member of the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre (WHAT) since 1987, Russell has been a mainstay on the stage of WHAT for over 20 years and has also acted with the Huntington Theatre Company, New Repertory Theatre, Stoneham Theatre and the Lyric Theatre. He lives and works in Wellfleet, Massachusetts and is a member of Actors' Equity and the Screen Actors Guild.
Tropes concerning this voice actor:
- Badass Baritone: But a distinctly huskier, "calm and friendly badass" version of this trope.
- Breakout Character: Garrett the master thief from Thief was what brought him more deeply into voice acting for games, particularly long-term collaboration with Looking Glass Studios and one of their successors, Irrational Games. Garrett also remains Russell's most popular and fondly remembered voice acting credit to date.
- Man of a Thousand Voices: So much so, that you probably wouldn't even recognise that he often voices wildly different characters.
- Production Posse:
- A rather slight example of this. He was a well regarded voice actor at Looking Glass Studios, and after that developer went under, Russell appeared in several works of Irrational Games, one of Looking Glass' collaborators and direct successors.
- Also, in more recent years, he's become a go-to voice actor for Bethesda Softworks, having appeared in Fallout 3 and 4, as well as in Skyrim.
- Talking to Himself: Related to his Man of a Thousand Voices entry. Occurs in a few games where he played several of the main characters. Possibly the greatest examples are Thief II: The Metal Age, where he voices both the protagonist and the antagonist; and Fallout 4, where he voices the stuffy British butler bot Codsworth and hard-nosed detective Nick Valentine. Their voices sound nothing alike.
- What Could Have Been: Stephen was approached initially for the role of Booker in Bioshock Infinite, but was later replaced by Troy Baker.
Stephen Russell's voice acting roles:
- Thief: The Dark Project - Gave a highly iconic voice to the protagonist Garrett. Besides that, he also voiced various guards (particularly the "Dumb Guard" persona) and some of the NPCs of older Hammerites.
- Thief Gold (1999) - The same characters as in the previous game, with the addition of a few new side characters, particularly Raoul.
- System Shock 2 (1999) - Voices captain William Bedford Diego, the UNN Rickenbacker's on-board AI XERXES, the ship's announcer and even some of the voices used for The Many.
- Thief II: The Metal Age (2000) - Returns as the voice of Garrett and of several established and new Bit Characters, as well as certain enemy types. But, to the surprise of many, he also voiced the game's main villain (with a notably different voice that most people didn't recognize before seeing the credits). This leads to an interesting occurence of Talking to Himself in the later phases of the game.
- Arx Fatalis (2002) - Voices Fallan Orbiplanax, goblins, undead creatures, and so on. (In a bit of an interesting connection, this RPG was the debut game of Arkane Studios, which has some developers who originally worked for Looking Glass Studios too. Arx Fatalis is reminescent of LGS's own Ultima Underworld games, and Arkane also eventually developed their own Thief-like stealth game (Dishonored) during the 2010s.
- Freedom Force (2002) - Voices Man O' War, Iron Ox, Pan, Pinstripe, Timemaster, Judge and various male civilians.
- Neverwinter Nights (2002) - Voice acted for the expansion pack Shadows of Undrentide.
- Thief: Deadly Shadows (2004) - Returns one last time to voice master thief Garrett, and also various guards, older Hammerites and some of the townspeople.
- Freedom Force Vs The Third Reich (2005) - In this Freedom Force sequel, he voices a surprising number of characters in the game, including Iron Ox, Man 'O' War, Blitzkrieg, Charles Wilson, Pan, Pinstripe, Time Master, Pierre. Probably his biggest voice acting credit for Irrational Games to date.
- Fallout 3 (2008) - Lends his voice to the characters of Andy, Mister Buckingham, The Great One (Harold), Wadsworth, Sergeant RL-3, Cerberus, various Enclave scientists and all Mr. Handy and Mr. Gutsy robots.
- BioShock Infinite gameplay preview (2010) - Prior to Troy Baker being cast for the final version of the game, Russell voiced Booker DeWitt in the ten minute preview video.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) - Voices a range of characters, including Barbas the talking dog, Mallus Maccius, Belethor, Madanach, the Daedric Prince Clavicus Vile, the leader of the Thieves Guild Mercer Frey, and his associate Cynric Endell. The latter two characters are a Shout-Out to Russell's previous role as Garrett (to the point that it gets slyly lampshaded).
- The Magic Circle (2015) - Voices The Old Pro, a mysterious entity who is trapped in the titular game, and actively encourages you to break the game as much as possible.
- Fallout 4 (2015) - Voices two of the companions, Codsworth (which is yet another Mister Handy) and Nick Valentine.
- Dishonored 2 (2016) - He voices Corvo Attano, the Heroic Mime of the first game who has become Suddenly Voiced. Fitting since the game is a Spiritual Successor of the original Thief game.