Who ever thought there would be work for blockbuster videogame voice acting in Edmonton, Alberta Canada?
Far from the bustling beehive of talent in Los Angeles, voice actors from Edmonton are given Hollywood opportunities to star in videogames, courtesy of BioWare Corp.
One of the year’s biggest busters of blocks in any medium, Mass Effect, was produced in little old Edmonton, AB. Look out, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal!
Selling over a million copies in the three weeks since its late-November release, Mass Effect, developed in Edmonton by BioWare Corp, puts players in the role of interstellar agent Commander Shepard and takes them on a galaxy-spanning Sci-Fi adventure. The game features tens of thousands of lines’ worth of recorded dialogue.
Needless to say, that’s a lot of work for a lot of voice actors.
These VAs don’t have a rehearsal… they have to read their lines cold in the studio, a feat proving that they are right up there with their LaLaLand contemporaries, thereby keeping the work in Edmonton for Canadian talent.
“There’s no rehearsal,” voiceover director Caroline Livingstone, says. “These people are super-talented cold readers. That’s one of the most important qualities we look for, because it’s sometimes the scripts are finalized the night before, then we go into the studio and give them to the actor and they have to be able to get that done within that four-hour session.”
Unique to Mass Effect is the use of voice over for the protagonist. Generally, the protagonist is silent or has very few lines so that the gamer can develop their “own voice” while playing, but the team at BioWare decided to try something different and spice the experience up a bit.
According to Livingstone, directing all of the dialogue, especially the recording of randomly appointed dialogue depending on a given player’s actions to flow properly was a major challenge.
“So, here we are, breaking the mold,” Livingstone says. “And suddenly we’re dealing with the protagonist talking. It’s pretty revolutionary, but you have to make that sound OK. How do we make it not repetitive, and how do we make each tree of dialogue flow?”
Local cast members for Mass Effect include Mark Meer, Jeff Haslam, Belinda Cornish, Jeff Page, Marianne Copithorne, George Szilagyi, April Banigan, Josh Dean, John Kirkpatrick, John Wright and others.
Source: Vue Weekly