Picture it: you’re in a neon-lit bar in Cyberpunk 2077, ordering a retro-future drink, when the barman says something that fires your memory. It’s not the words, it’s the voice, those gravelly tones, that deadpan way of speaking. It’s so familiar. Where have you heard it before? Then it lands: Geralt of Rivia! The barman has the same voice as Geralt in the The Witcher video games. And – no, it can’t be a coincidence – he’s called Gerry?!
It seemed like a cameo opportunity too good to miss. Even Doug Cockle, the English voice of Geralt in The Witcher games, was up for it. “Absolutely!” he told me when we met a few years ago, and I wrote a piece about him.
Doug Cockle when I met him in December 2016.
“I have joked with [CD Projekt Red] about bringing me in as an Easter egg. I’ve jokingly said, ‘You’ve gotta bring me in as a bartender the player has to interact with for at least one quest. A bartender named Gerry who has some waiting staff, Trisha or Jenny or something like that.'”
Alas, as I found out today, it never panned out. I checked in with Cockle, ahead of Cyberpunk’s 10th December release, and he told me he never got the call from CD Projekt Red.
“Sadly, I haven’t had any involvement with Cyberpunk thus far,” he said. “It was mentioned long ago but [CDPR] hasn’t brought me in for anything. I’m kinda sad about it actually!
“Oh well,” he added. “Maybe in the future…”
Presumably CDPR, which has delayed Cyberpunk twice this year, and been under scrutiny for making staff work mandatory six-day weeks, has had more pressing concerns.
Cockle voiced all three Witcher games and their expansions, a body of work that spanned more than a decade. His portrayal of Geralt of Rivia is synonymous with who millions of people believe the character to be. Even Henry Cavill, the actor who plays Geralt in Netflix’s adaptation of The Witcher books, has openly talked about being inspired by Cockle’s performance. Cavill told GQ he played through The Witcher 3 two-and-a-half times.
Yet despite his apparent fame, Cockle was relatively hidden away when I met him in December 2016, working as course leader for acting at the Arts University Bournemouth on the south coast of the UK. He subsequently left the role for full-time acting but has returned to the university, enrolled in its MBA Programme.
After The Witcher 3, Cockle lent his voice to Horizon: Zero Dawn. More recently, he voiced The Blair Witch Video Game and the hilariously bad (but not because of him) Terminator: Resistance. He’s also been busy producing and writing a kids’ TV show about dogs, called Dog Years, which has just been released on Kidoodle.