Chris didn't think much of Mad Max. I, on the other hand, am having some fun with it, though it might help that being an Australian who already lives in an interior wasteland I'm a little closer to the source material than he is.
There are two little touches in particular I'm appreciating, both of them related to my country of birth: the fact that the cars in the game are right-hand drive, and the fact there's an actual real Australian doing Max's voice.
The car thing sounds dumb, but I can assure you, it's a thing! The longer you've owned and driven a car in a place like Australia (or the UK, or Japan), the more it becomes instinctive to approach a car from the right-hand side. And since we've only ever driven on the left side of the road, that's why you so often see Aussies and Brits fucking everything up in the US when they try to get in a cab or cross the street.
So the same instinctiveness applies to video games! Even after all these years, I still find myself approaching GTA cars from the wrong side, and you'll find a cult appreciation of Sleeping Dogs for the fact it had right-hand drive.
So thanks, Mad Max, for giving post-apocalyptic Australia actual Australian cars. We, as small a market as we are, appreciate it.
Thanks also for making Max...well, Australian.
Australians and Hollywood have a long and weird relationship when it comes to accents, and the Mad Max franchise is a perfect example. It's a quintessentially Australian story, made by an Australian (George Miller) and starring a very Australian man, only Mel Gibson isn't and wasn't Australian, he just lived here long enough in his teens to have an accent by the time the first Mad Max came around. The latest film, despite being made by the same Australian and set once again in the country, stars a whole bunch of Aussies in supporting roles but has its two main parts played by a South African/American and Englishman respectively.
When this game was first revealed a few years back, and featured an American playing Max with an American accent, people were outraged! Never mind that an Australian has never actually played the role before, he's seen as a very Australian kind of hero, so fans figured his accent needed to match. They protested, and developers Avalanche made a change.
Enter the very Australian Bren Foster (above). An actor who you probably haven't seen playing roles in shows like The Last Ship and Days of Our Lives, he was brought in as a replacement to the original actor, and voices Max to perfection in this game, with his thoroughly deep and "blokey" Aussie accent.
So what, you might be thinking, a voice actor has done his job, is that worth praising? When it comes to Australian accents, yes! Like Scottish, or Irish, it's very easy to whip up a quick and funny caricature of Australian, but to actually settle in and produce a convincing impersonation of it seems to be incredibly difficult for someone from, say, the US or Canada, going by the number of times games, TV shows and movies have got it horribly wrong (see below).
Notice that I've yet to mention Tom Hardy's pretty terrible effort in Fury Road! Instead, here's something more familiar/enjoyable.
Australians are used to hearing foreigners butcher our accent, whether for laughs or not, but what usually makes it so weird for us is that there's no shortage of Australian actors in Los Angeles, New York and London to sit down and do the real thing! Like, maybe stop hiring us to pretend to be Americans (sometimes terribly) and we can pretend to be better Australians when the need arises? We're good at it when given the chance!
So well played Avalanche for making the switch and actually getting an Aussie to do the voice, and congratulations to Bren Foster, who not only did a good job, but gets to say he was the first Max Rockatansky to actually be Australian.