Arnold Schwarzenegger has had a long, fascinating life with success in a broad range of endeavors. He was the face of bodybuilding throughout the world in his youth, and then became Hollywood's leading man in action films and then comedy, and for a time was the highest paid actor before transitioning to politics and becoming a two-time Governor for the state of California. Despite owing much of his fame to films that are incredibly violent, Schwarzenegger has been outspoken about his believe that violent video games should be banned, or their sales restricted, and he no longer lends his voice to the medium.
In the past, Schwarzenegger has lent his voice only to a few video games, and all were related to his films. These include Terminator 2: Judgment Day in 1991, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, and Terminator 3: War of the Machines, both from 2003. Considering that Schwarzenegger has played numerous roles of the most stereotypical macho type man, with an on-screen kill count of 509 people as of 2013, which has since gone up, it is genuinely surprising to hear that he feels so strong about violence in the medium of video games.
In 2005, then California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill that sought to ban the sale or rental of video games deemed violent to minors under the age of 17 and required retailers to label violent video games. Following this, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the ban was unconstitutional and stated that there was no firm research to establish or suggest even the most casual of links between minors playing violent video games and actual psychological or neurological harm.
In the end, freedom of speech was the reason that the bill fell through permanently, since the constitution does not discriminate between speech and what some consider to be violent speech, such as what is seen in some video games.
The strange part of all this is not that Schwarzenegger signed the bill in the first place, as he may genuinely believe that violent video games are bad for youth, but that in 2011 he appeared to be in serious talks with Stan Lee to create a new transmedia property called The Governator, which would take his real-life political persona to a superhero level, complete with technologically advanced suits to fight crime and global issues. The plan was for comic books, an animated show, and then games and a movie. None of this ever materialized, and the stance on violent games was never addressed.
Still, Schwarzenegger does not seem keen to lend his voice to new projects. In a few weeks, the likeness of the Terminator T-800 will be joining the roster of Mortal Kombat 11, one of the most violent video games series of all time. While the character looks exactly like Schwarzenegger in his latest role in the Terminator franchise, a voice actor will instead be used for the lines of dialogue in the game, which should be quite a few, as fighters tend to banter before fights.
In the future, it would be great to hear Schwarzenegger discuss in greater detail why he backed the bill in 2005, so we can atleast here if his position on the subject has changed. As Governor, Schwarzenegger did wonders for the economy, with long-term debt reduction and plans to improve infrastructure, and he has since worked tirelessly for issues relating to climate change, renewable energy, and to terminate gerrymandering. For someone so educated, it seems out of character to try and ban video games for their violence.