New McKidd on the virtual block

SCOTTISH actor Kevin McKidd has taken the lead role in a video game that is expected to sell 11 million copies by the end of the year.

In little over a fortnight's time, fans will enjoy the latest chapter in the story of a grizzled Scottish captain in the SAS.

John "Soap" MacTavish may not be a name familiar to movie audiences, but to a worldwide fan base he is the protagonist in one of the most popular video game series in history.

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Next month he returns in the sequel Modern Warfare 2, which is expected to be the biggest-selling game of all time, voiced by McKidd, of Trainspotting fame.

The Elgin-born actor, who has recently starred as Dr Owen Hunt in Grey's Anatomy, and Lucius Vorenus in Rome, tops a voice cast that also includes the rapper 50 Cent. McKidd is the latest in a long line of film and television actors to lend their voices to video game characters.

Others include Kiefer Sutherland in Call of Duty; Ray Liotta in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City; Dennis Hopper in Black Dahlia; Robert Downey Jr in Iron Man and Laurence Fishburne and Mickey Rourke in True Crime: NYC.

The score for the game has been created by Hans Zimmer, the Oscar and Grammy Award-winning composer behind major Hollywood films such as The Dark Knight, Gladiator and The Lion King.

Analysts expect the game, which is to be released on 10 November, to sell 11 million copies by the end of the year, making its publisher Activision around 490m.

In the US alone, more than 2.3 million gamers have already pre-ordered copies.

The previous game in the series, which charts US and British military efforts to defeat a Russian ultra-nationalist group, has sold more than 13 million copies since going on sale in 2007.

It will not be the first time McKidd has lent his gravelly tones to a game. He provided the voice of Jezz Torrent, the singer in fictional Scottish hard rock band Love Fist, in the Grand Theft Auto series.