At ComicCon ’08 GameTrailers had the opportunity to catch up with the voice behind Niko Bellic, Michael Hollick. Geoff Keighly prefaced one of his questions by stating that Rockstar has been very tight-lipped about the upcoming DLC, adding that no one knows what to expect. Michael responded by saying “neither do I.”
In the interview, Hollick gave the impression that he had yet to be approached by either Rockstar or Take-Two for involvement in what has been speculated to be some sort of continuation to the overarching story of GTA IV.
Pressing for information, GT TV asked “If Niko was going to be in it, you haven’t done his voice for it yet — would it be fair to say that?” Hollick confirmed that he had yet to do any voicework for the DLC, stating “it’s fair to say that.” You can see the segment in the video below at the 9:30 mark.
The GTA IV DLC has been shrouded in ambiguity since its very announcement. It’s been 4 months since the release of the game, and we haven’t heard so much as a snippet of news regarding downloadable content. The trend continues, this time courtesy of Leipzig Games Convention where Microsoft said, “In autumn there will be news from Liberty City,” followed by a mouthful of marketing mumbo jumbo.
In essence, we continue to wait.
We can also take what Hollick said and extrapolate it into a conspiracy theory of sorts. In an interview with The New York Times, the voice actor stated that he was happy with the opportunity to have worked on the Rockstar title, but went on to discuss the amount paid to him and the lack of royalties stating:
“…it’s tough, when you see Grand Theft Auto IV out there as the biggest thing going right now, when they’re making hundreds of millions of dollars, and we don’t see any of it. I don’t blame Rockstar. I blame our union for not having the agreements in place to protect the creative people who drive the sales of these games.”
Could it be that his candid response upset the Rockstar Gods? If this had been virtually any other medium, be it acting or singing, Hollick would have found himself swimming in a pool of money. Instead, he was paid $100,000 for 15 months of work. Another possibility, is that the actor was approached by Rockstar to do additional voice work, asked for a higher rate of compensation or a cut of the action on the DLC, and was told to go pound sand.
Of course, Hollick’s response to GameTrailers could have just been “Niko speak” for “no comment”. It wouldn’t be the first time that a figure has fibbed a little to maintain the cover of a top secret project.