'Hitman' Voice Actor David Bateson Reveals His Real-Life Hitman Past

Hitman's David Bateson was once a real-life hitman (for charity)
Hitman's David Bateson was once a real-life hitman (for charity) David Bateson

In the voice acting community, David Bateson is a bit of an anomaly. While Bateson is really only known for one role in the video game industry, he has managed to play that same role for 17 years and counting. And if you’ve ever played a Hitman game, you’ve definitely heard his voice before.

Bateson talked to iDigitalTimes about playing Agent 47 for so many years, what it’s like to hear his own voice while playing, and his past as a real-life assassin (for charity).

“This is my 17th year doing a voice for the [Hitman] games, and it only just dawned on me the other day that I’ve been a hitman before,” Bateson told iDigi. “I was in my second year at university, right around the same time I was just getting into voiceovers. We would do activities through the student Rag committee, and I came up with one idea one day. I thought, why not have a Rag Hitman. I’ll do anyone, anywhere, anytime, for money.”

Of course, Bateson wasn’t actually sneaking around his college and killing people like his digital alter ego. “I’d get a paper plate, cover it with shaving cream, dress all in black clothes. For three months, I’d terrify the crap out of the whole campus by taking money and doing some very, very complex hits,” he said. “In lectures, on the toilets, in residential halls in the evening, it was just a fun thing. So, I’ve been ‘killing’ people since I was 19.”

While Bateson had the professional voice acting experience, he actually accidentally fell into the role of Agent 47. “I was in a studio doing a voiceover. The technician said ‘hey, do you have some time afterwards? There’s something we’ve been asked to record for voice acting if you’re interested,’” he said.

Bateson wasn’t told what the project was, so asked to see what game he was agreeing to voice for. “I was just blown away right from the get go with the graphics and mood of Hitman,” he said. “It’s dark and sort of noir, which is my favorite genre. It was a no-brainer for me.”

Over the course of recording for the Hitman games, Bateson has grown fond of all the time spent recording with the team at IO Interactive. “Every time we record, it’s just getting more and more fun,” he said. “The writers and I, we’ve really gotten to know each other. We’re all in the same room together for the past three games at least. It’s just four or five guys in the studio, very focused and concentrated on the dialogue – and the next minute we are having some fun between takes. I think it helps to have both – especially during the longer sessions.”

Bateson not only voices the main character of Hitman, he’s also a fan of the games themselves. “17 years ago, I had a lot more time on my hands. To all out there, get all your gaming in before you get married and have children,” he said. “I used to play other games as well, but Hitman was my main one. So I’m going to go book some ‘Studio time’ in my own recording studio, if you know what I’m saying, and get some serious gaming done!”

Despite all the time he’s spent playing the Hitman games, it doesn’t bother the voice actor to hear himself talking so much. “I’m used to it from making a living with my voice. This could sound strange, but I just hear Agent 47,” Bateson said. “To me, it sounds like a guy I know really well.”

If you’re interested in hearing Bateson outside of Agent 47, he has provided voices for such projects as Digital Romance, an award-winning animated short, film and game trailers , various commercials (from Somersby Cider to almost every LEGO product range for the last 10 years !) and even NASA’s GeneLab. Bateson will also be voicing Deckard in an upcoming concert of the Blade Runner score with the Danish Symphony Orchestra.

So what do you think? Have you played any of the Hitman games before? Would you like to hear Bateson voice a different video game character in the future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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