Stunned to hear that a video game version of the iconic Australian movie Mad Max would be voiced by an American actor, an Australian blogger has started an online petition asking game studio Avalanche Studios to find an Aussie instead. Stephen Farrelly, a writer and editor for AusGamers.com, created the petition after seeing a preview of the game at last week’s E3 expo in California.
“Everything else about the game is true to the origins of the Mad Max films – except for Max's awful American accent,” Farrelly explained to CNET, “All the Australians at E3 were appalled.”
The 1979 cult classic, starring Mel Gibson (ironically, he’s American-born), was written and directed by Aussies and filmed entirely in Australia. Gibson’s thick, slang-laced Australian accent must have worried American film distributors – so much so that the original U.S. release of Mad Max was dubbed into American English. Many also credit the film with ushering in Australian New Wave cinema.
“Everyone hates that version till this day,” wrote Shem Herman, a petition commenter. “Do not make the same mistake with this game. Max is Australian, the movie takes place in Australia, keep it that way."
Another commenter, Daniel Chalmers, took it even further. “Carn mate, you just gotta get a true-blue Aussie bloke to do the yapping in this game,” Chalmers posted.
But will the petition, which has surpassed 2,100 signatures on Change.org, have any effect? “As for whether or not I expect it to work: That’s a tough question, but I’d answer by saying that I always expected it to garner national and international interest,” Farrelly told The Diplomat via email. He continued:
“Mad Max is not a fresh IP, it’s a beloved franchise the world over. It broke Australian cinema into the mainstream and arguably put Mel Gibson on the main stage. It was also the original vision for what is now the popularised aesthetic visual for the post-apocalypse tale.”
“Honestly, I hope we make enough noise and enough of an impact that we might see an optimistic response from Avalanche Studios, but until then, we’re going to continue to push the petition and our position on why this is so important, not just for Australians, but for a globally beloved franchise.”
Initially, the video game was to be handled by Mad Max director George Miller’s own gaming studio, Kennedy Miller Mitchel Interactive. That studio, along with Miller’s Dr. D animation studio, has apparently been shuttered.
The game’s current developer, Avalanche Studios, is based in Stockholm, Sweden. They also operate a sister studio in New York. When asked by IGN why the namesake anti-hero was stripped of his trademark Aussie vernacular, Avalanche founder and Chief Creative Officer Christofer Sungberg said:
“We treated this as a completely new property. And that was really the only way for us to take on a licensed game. It’s the first licensed game we’ve ever taken on. And we wanted to treat it like an original IP. The setting – where it is in the world – has really nothing to do with the Mad Max video game. It’s really a game to do with the relationships between different people in this world.”
The Mad Max game is slated for a 2014 release on PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. It will feature at least 50 customizable vehicles in an open-world “sandbox” setting.
Farrelly indicated that Avalanche Studios has yet to engage with him directly in regard to the petition.