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starcraft 2 blizzcon 2009 lore/voice actor panel

 
The BlizzCon 2009 StarCraft II Lore Panel took place on Saturday, August 22 at the Anaheim Convention Center. It was hosted by Chirs Metzen, Blizzard Entertainment's Vice President of Creative Development.
 
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StarCraft II Cast

Actor: Character:
Andrea Romano Casting Director
Robert Clotworthy Jim Raynor
Fred Tatasciore Zeratul
Neil Kaplan Tychus Findlay
Dave Fennoy Gabriel Tosh
James Harper Arcturus Mengsk
Tricia Helfer Sarah Kerrigan

 

blizzcon 2009 starcraft 2 lore panel

 

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Announcer: Welcome to the StarCraft II open question and answer panel with Chris Metzen, [Blizzard Entertainment's] Vice-President of Creative Development.

Chris Metzen: What up, BlizzCon! Well, I might as well stand. Guys, thank you for being here this afternoon. In past years we've done StarCraft II lore panels, we've done a number of things. Usually we talk about what's going on, we talk about the characters, we talked about some of the storyline going on, some of the ancillary products a few years ago. This year, we want to try something a little different. For the past - I can't tell time anymore, someone told me it was a year now - we've been working on the VO component for StarCraft. We've got our scripts together, we got the story together, we have cast the game, and we've been diligently recording all of the really wonderful actors that we found to portray these characters. So what we figured we'd do today is actually bring the cast of StarCraft 2 out to Blizzcon so that you guys can get to see who they are and vibe out, you know, with really hearing what they brought to the role. We'll have a Q and A towards the end of the panel, so you guys can ask whatever, right? One caveat being, not all the actors know the lore as well as you do. And you probably know it better than I do, but I will try to, you know, play goalie, you know, the tougher lore questions, but you'll take it easy on 'em, right? They're not necessarily experts. I think I'm frothing, do you see that spit come out? That was bitchin'. In HD. So guys, as we get started, we're gonna bring all the actors out, and the first character we want to bring out you guys will recognize. Old-school, been with us from the start. The one, honest man in the universe. The hard-hittin', hard-livin' Jim Raynor. We got a clip for ya. Play the clip.

*no audio on clip*

Chris Metzen: Audio helps. You know what, folks backstage? Let's play that again. 'Cause it rocks.

 

 

Chris Metzen: There's our boy. So ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pleasure that I introduce you to old-school Jim Raynor and hell of a guy, Mr. Robert Clotworthy.

*Robert Clotworthy walks in*

Chris Metzen: What's up, baby? Booyah. For our next character we want to introduce-- oh boy, I hope I have this right. Oh indeed. This is a wild one. The gentleman that played this character-- what's it been, 12 years ago, is actually no longer with us. We did have to find another actor that we felt had the same amount of soul, the same gravitas, the same power, right? So, in introducing this next character, you should know who this is. Let's roll the second clip please.

*clip of Zeratul*

Chris Metzen: Everybody's favourite alien assassin, Zeratul. Playing Zeratul, guys, give a warm welcome to Fred Tatasciore.

*Fred Tatasciore walks in*

Chris Metzen: Yeah, yeah. What's up baby? Guys, for the third character we're going to bring out. Is one of my personal favourites, a new StarCraft character that we made up a little after we began the story process for the game, but this character has quickly just taken over and just, just rocks. He's so funny. And the sound of his voice just lights us up. You'll recognize this character from the intro of the game. Can we roll clip number three please?

*clip of Tychus Findlay*

Chris Metzen: Ladies and gentlemen, as Tychus Findlay, Mr. Neil Kaplan.

*Neil Kaplan walks in taking pictures*

Chris Metzen: Ahaha. Hello, BlizzCon. Right on, baby. For the fourth person we're introducing, this person is not actually playing a character. This lady has become one of my favourite people on Earth. She is one of the best voice directors in Hollywood that we've had the great privilege of working with and learning from. She's directed all sorts of animations for Warner Brothers. You know, the Batman Animated Series, Superman, Justice League, Green Lantern: First Flight, Death of Superman, all the big Warner Brothers stuff. She's done, what, little tiny shows, like Spongebob Squarepants, Avatar, you know, she just absolutely rocks. Ladies and gentlemen, our voice director, Andrea Romano.

*Andrea Romano walks in*

Chris Metzen: Rolling right along guys, the next character we're going to bring out, again, is a new character who we've woven into some of our other existing lore. Not too much is known of this guy yet, but he's just a fun character to write. I think you guys are gonna get a kick out of him. Let's roll clip number... I guess it's number four, guys.

 

 

Chris Metzen: So guys, as Gabriel Tosh, Mr. Dave Fennoy.

*Dave Fennoy walks in*

Gabriel Tosh Voice Actor Dave Fennoy

Chris Metzen: Who, you really have to understand, looks so much cooler than Gabriel Tosh. So, guys, for the next character we're bringing out, it's another old-school character. The insane tyrant you kinda love to hate. Let's roll clip number five, guys.

 

 

Chris Metzen: Ladies and gentlemen, as--returning as Arcturus Mengsk, Mr. James Harper.

*James Harper walks in*


Arcturus Mengsk Voice Actor James Harper

Chris Metzen: Good sir. And greetings, fellow Terrans. This is where you sit sir--I said boy. So guys, for our last character, you might notice that someone is conspicuously missing from the panel. Let's roll the clip. You know who this is.

 

 

Chris Metzen: Who is she? Kerrigan. Indeed. Guys, there's been a lot of speculation, a lot of rumor on the internet about who our new Kerrigan was gonna be. We got pretty stoked. We hooked up with an actress that is just absolutely amazing, has taken this role and just owned it and brought out nuances I can only hope for. And it's been an actual pleasure to work with her. You may recognize her from a little show on Sci-Fi Network called Battlestar Galactica. Ladies and gentlemen, Ms. Tricia Helfer.

*Tricia Helfer walks in*

Chris Metzen and Kerrigan Voice Actor Tricia Helfer

tricia helfer starcraft

Chris Metzen: Ms. Helfer, hello. Thank you. Guys, actually, that was all I had planned, so, you know. What do you wanna talk about? You know, guys, we've never done a panel quite like this before, I think I said it up front. But we were gonna do just an informal discussion, and I'll attempt to moderate. I tend to talk a lot, as you know, so I'll try and knock that off. And we'll just talk to the actors, and when we're done with that we'll go to Q&A. Did I mention that before? The senility is setting in, so I guess we'll just start at the top-- I can't see anybody-- Mr. Clotworthy.

Robert Clotworthy: Yes Mr. Metzen?

Chris Metzen: Wax philosophically, if you would, good sir. What's it been like? To come back and play Jim Raynor?

Robert Clotworthy: First of all, I want to say that I am thrilled to see so many people here. I mean as a-- you know, as a voice-over person. We usually stay in the background. And I'm just thrilled to be a part of this experience, to have so many fans here. I want to thank you all for your support, and I'm absolutely thrilled to be back. And I'm telling you: this game rocks. Chris Metzen is a friggin' god.

Chris Metzen: Thank you. Guys, you know it's funny. By way of anecdote: you know, Raynor was one of those characters--it's hard to remember, what was it, twelve years ago? I can't tell time. I don't know when we started writing the original StarCraft, but we thought the idea of, you know, these epic alien civilizations crashing for supremacy, that in the midst of all that you got pretty much this one honest man, right? This kind of uncompromising dude, kind of caught in the midst of all that, and the idea or the theme that one man can make a difference in the midst of all these titans at war, and there was just something about Robert's voice, right? When he came in, you know, that first--many years ago, and he just started talking as this man. Sometimes as a writer you never quite know how the character's going to sound or feel. And Robert just owned it. And, again, we are just so glad to have him back. You know, Andrea, actually I'll ask you a question. Cuz, you know, you may serve as a goalie, interestingly enough, during the discussion. What do you hear? Like as Robert, you know, gets going, and you had a chance to kind of meet Raynor, and direct him over the course of this campaign, what has been your impression? What do you think sings about his take on the role?

Andrea Romano: What's so interesting about voice directing in general is you can never anticipate what voice is gonna come out of an actor. You can look at what an actor looks like and assume that's gonna be what their voice sounds like, and then they completely surprise you because they've got this enormous arsenal of a thousand different voices inside them. And I had worked with Rob many, many times over the years on everything from Batman, and Justice League, and Superman, and many different series, and some of the more cartoony ones - if you will - the Animaniacs, and Pinky and the Brain types of series. And when Chris contacted me forever ago through my good friend Russel Brower, who I have to thank publicly for bringing me into this Blizzard family, and told me that we were going to be working on this project, and I was listening to Rob's voice, and I said, "No no, you mean Rob Clotworthy?" And I heard his voice, and I--"No no, Rob Clotworthy." And then I hear this wonderful voice come out of Rob which I had never ever heard before. It's one of the joys of directing voice actors, is to hear these things that surprise you, after years and years of knowing an actor, to hear something new and different I had never heard before. And so, as we worked together, and we worked--now what, six, eight months on this together? And the voice even evolved during that time, as we worked through some of the scenes and we discovered some more levels to this character, we'd hear this depth and this range of emotion that would come out in the voice and it's been just an absolute joy to discover this actor that I've known for so long, to do these different things. Did I answer your question, in fact?

Chris Metzen: Handily.

Robert Clotworthy: I was gonna say that Raynor is a very unique character in that he is the reluctant hero (for those of you who've studied mythology). And he's something that a lot of us can identify with. Lot of us wish we were him, but he's a great role model as well. And I also understood that there's a great responsibility in performing this role, because it does mean so much to so many people. And also I want to tell Andrea: you may have six Emmys, but I've got--

 

Andrea Romano: Seven.

*laughter*

Chris Metzen: She's keeping it real.

Robert Clotworthy: Snap. Still, you may have seven [sic] Emmys, but I have a n00b.

Chris Metzen: Yes. Yes he does.

Robert Clotworthy: It's a doll. I have a doll. A Raynor doll.

Chris Metzen: It's pretty good.

Fred Tatasciore: He has an action figure.

Chris Metzen: You know, Fred, I guess we'll just kinda move down the line. Guys, you may not know: we had met Fred, and we were in need of a new Zeratul. Unfortunately, the gentleman that performed the role back in the day was a man named Jack Ritschel. And Jack was Zeratul and, actually, General Duke. Just a really cool guy, and he passed away a number of years ago. So as we were looking at Zeratul these days, and wanting to find someone to really round out that character, we found Fred, a man of a thousand voices, and it's funny, there's another character in StarCraft 2, we didn't put it up here, but Fred also does Rory Swann. You know, who's Raynor's mechanic, the guy down in the engine room. He's also just a terrific character. I hope. And, uh... So Fred, what was your impression, coming into this really zany universe, and--

Fred Tatasciore: [squeaky voice] Well, well doing the voice of Zeratul--and this is actually my normal voice. We start off that way and then it goes through processors. And we-- [normal voice] No, actually, seriously--I'm sorry. Really, it was Jack Ritschell who really captured the spirit of this 600 somewhat year old knight templar. Amazing character, one of the best characters I love playing. So I really just trying to voice-match, voice-print what he brought. And then anything after that, without giving away too much, was just filling in those spaces. I really, really enjoyed playing something like that was almost a--I heard him being called almost a good Darth Vader type, you know, something that really invests so much in the survival of things, and just an incredible character. So that's kind of what I did, then I just-- [Zeratul voice] Then I just went further. And now you have to talk without a mouth. [normal voice] So that's kind of interesting too. It's all psychic stuff. And then Swann was fun, 'cause that was just basically my New York family. [Rory Swann voice] You know, we were going to fix a few protoplasm things over there, don't worry about it. It's easy. Gonna be do that. Oh, no no you guys. [Zeratul voice] It's wonderful to be here. Thank you for being here. Many blessings upon you. Many blessings.

Chris Metzen: So, one of the funniest things with Fred is, we were joking with him about having to do lip-synching for Zeratul when he actually has no mouth. He's like, "What the hell are you guys talking about?" So, it worked out where we didn't actually have to, you know, go there... That was a terrible joke, guys, I apologize. I'll get better as we go. Is the bar open? So, Neil, you know we talked a lot about Tychus and how he came to be. I was remarking to the crowd a little earlier, I just, I love Tychus' voice. Like, once that voice came out of your body, which was so wild, you know, "How are you making that sound?" Suddenly, we wrote the character in a totally different way. The voice just took over, guys, and this whole different kind of personality started to come out, that became just the perfect foil for Raynor. You know, this good honest cop, and suddenly there's this guy--you know, give 'em some Tychus, man.

Neil Kaplan: I guess I should probably say the line which most everybody is familiar with. [Tychus voice] Hell. It's about damn time. [normal voice] 'Cause, you know, since I first did the scratch tracks for the character, I've been sitting on this news for a long time, not being able to say anything and seeing this face everywhere.

Chris Metzen: It sucks, don't it?

Neil Kaplan: But I'm gonna echo what was said previously: this is the coolest character I have ever played. Plain and simple. I've played characters that were made famous by other voice actors, and that was really a lot of fun, but this was the chance to create my own thing. And then, quite frankly, Chris, when you told me what you said, it was the greatest compliment that any actor could ever hope for in their career. You know, that I came in, and read lines that you wrote, and because of the performance I did you changed things? I mean, holy heck. That's--that was, I mean, I don't know if I touched the ground walking home that day when you said that to me. And the greatest thing, I've to say, about playing Tychus, is, you can stay up 'till five in the morning drinking scotch and not have to worry about how you sound the next day. [Tychus voice] 'Cause it's always--

Dave Fennoy: Actually, you have to stay up 'till five in the morning drinking scotch.

Neil Kaplan: Haha, exactly. Well, we actually did have one session where I had really bad food poisoning. And could barely make it out of bed, got into the car, drove to the session, spent about a half-hour in my car working up the energy to get in, did the session - everything went great - and then took about another half-hour in my car waiting to drive home. But it worked perfectly! 'Cause it's that kind of character. But I've never had a character I felt that devoted to. You know, it's basically there are 88 keys on the keyboard, and Tychus is one of those characters that gets up and plays 86 of them. And thank you, and to the rest of the StarCraft II team, to the artists, to, you know--and of course, working with the greatest voice director that's ever walked the planet. This has just been a surreal ride for me, and I hope it goes on for [Tychus voice] an awful long, long time.

Chris Metzen: Indeed. Indeed. Yeah, Dave, I was going to ask you, you know, about Tosh. He was one of those characters that we-- Sometimes, the story demands a certain character, but what's funny in video games, is that sometimes the artist will just conjure a character, and the visual design is so engaging, that, you know, we as writers, you know, go like, "Holy cow, we have to input that. I don't know where it fits, I don't know what he's gonna do." But there was just something so engaging about Tosh in the ide[sic]--oh, I can't tell you. Anyway, there's really good stuff with Tosh guys. You know, panels like this are a bitch when you actually haven't played the game yet? Just trust me. But, Tosh was one of those characters where the visual design, you know, a bunch of, I think cinematics artists were just kinda concepting out, and like, wow--he actually started as a mercenary--and as we got this kinda visual solution, there was just so much magnetism to it, that, you know, we sought out the voice actors, and the day you came in--I think we had tried a number of actors--and you just kinda had this very dark, you know, kinda, you know, raspy thing going on, and like, "Oh oh oh! That's it!" What was your impression of this guy? You know, this kind of very zany character, right?

Dave Fennoy: How many of you, first of all--you've never heard Tosh, right?

Chris Metzen: I don't think anyone's seen the video clips yet.

Dave Fennoy: It's a brand new character in the game. And Tosh, [Tosh voice] is kind of, got that accent like this, man. And everything is very, very -- bad. I like to kill people. Mmm. Let me cut him up. [normal voice] And yet, somewhere deep inside, he has a heart of gold.

Chris Metzen: Way deep inside.

Dave Fennoy: Waaaaay deep inside. Tosh is a -- I think he fits in with the game so well because he really is a product of the environment that he's in. This is a guy, that, like I said, someplace deep inside, I think he--there's something good about him, but he knows, that if he's gonna survive, it's gonna have to be about number one.

Chris Metzen: Yeah. It's a rough universe.

Dave Fennoy: He has this thing with Raynor. *pause* Not that kind of thing.

*laughter*

Chris Metzen: That's a different game. That's the expansion.

Robert Clotworthy: So, Tosh fantasizes a lot.

Chris Metzen: You know, the Kerrigan thing may or may not work out, so it's, you know, progressive... I don't know. But, uh, the uh... Oh hell, I lost my thought. We'll just sit. It's okay, we got time.

Dave Fennoy: Have a sip of that Mountain Dew, that'll handle that for you.

Chris Metzen: You know what, it's uh, been freebasing Mountain Dew for, like, twenty-four hours. The thing about Tosh, guys, you may not know, I know it's a little difficult not having played the game, it's hard to understand just what his role is, but when we included Tosh in the storyline, the trick is, in a lot of ways, Tosh counters a character named Matt Horner. The actor that plays Matt, I think was out of town this weekend. He couldn't be here with us. But if Matt did the kind of like the angel and the devil on either shoulder for Jim. We wanted to have characters that kind of contrasted whatever his inner struggle is, whatever his path is gonna be. You know, the universe wants to pull him in many directions. In a lot of ways the Matt Horner character kinda represents Jim's idealism. His willingness and need to fight the good fight, do the right thing, seek justice, almost to a fault, where Tosh, like Dave said, Tosh is much more the kind of "do as thou wilt", number one is everything, you know, Tosh, as you said, is a product of a very hard universe. The StarCraft setting, apart from ravenous insect swarms of aliens and giant golden demigods, it's a rough universe anyway. You have the Dominion, and you know, Arcturus Mengsk--thanks a lot, man. And you know, just these tyrannical overlords, and, you know, just all the compromise, you know, that you find in the Dominion, Tosh is very much an expression of that, you know, as he's graduated from his army experience. He's just a very nihilistic man and he creates a really fascinating counter to Raynor. And something just to geek out on: while Tosh was constructed, I don't know, over the past two years... I guess I won't tell you exactly what his unique storyline is, but we've woven it in such a way that he has a very interesting tie to another StarCraft character, Nova. So you guys might remember from the game Ghost many years ago, may it rest in peace. The character of Nova will also make a little cameo in the game, it's very cool, and it turns out that Tosh and Nova, again, not necessarily in that way, have a shared past, and it'll be very cool to see that unfold. Uh, whew. So. Arcturus. Emperor, what was it like, in the early years, as the Guild Wars ravaged the Confederacy, and you found yourself angry with the former government, and seeking to overthrow the--how was it man? How was it for 'ya?

James Harper: [Arcturus voice] It was rough. It was really, really rough. How did we come upon this voice anyway? That's what I wanna know. I don't remember. I absolutely do not remember. [normal voice] You know how--what I have discovered here today is why Jack Nicholson and those other people always keep their sunglasses on. Man, it's bright up here! But--I can't stand it when they keep their shades on, so here's my eyes. Now you can see me. I haven't had as much fun doing something in probably, twenty, thirty years. This has been a phenomenal experience cramped down into a very short period of time. I mean, this whole character in the sequel, what, is maybe about three and a half hours over a couple of days to do this. But just in brief, I'm getting older, and so my memory is going. So I don't remember a whole bunch about the 12 years ago, except that you weren't as big back then, and it was the first time, and your studio offices were in this little industrial complex I believe, hole in the wall, with no air conditioning, by the way; the air conditioning didn't work.

Chris Metzen: That's the continuity here.

James Harper: That's right. And I got hired for that and I drove down to Irvine to do it there. And I had kind of, you know, it was-- I still have, on my shelf, by the way, an unopened, unplayed, original StarCraft game. Because it was for Windows only then, and I'm a Mac user, so I never even--

*cheering*

Chris Metzen: Mac users in the house!

James Harper: Anyways, so I never opened it. So I don't really remember too much.

Chris Metzen: I was going to ask; guys, what do you think we can pull for an unopened StarCraft on eBay these days? 'Cause that might be-- That would be mega.

James Harper: Look for it on eBay soon. Along with some of my favourite cowboy shirts. From Wrangler, etcetera. Anyway, so I had actually forgotten what character I did. Sorry, I really did, no offense. But I had done more than one, this is why. And then I came back a few years later, anyway. So there's a website out there called imdb.com: International Movie Database [sic], which has every actor's history. Except that it can be wrong much of the time, in case you're not aware of that. But it can be very very wrong. And imdb has me, "StarCraft: Zeratul". So all these years I'm thinking, "I did Zeratul."

Chris Metzen: You did better than you thought!

James Harper: "I was Zeratul." So, breakdown services, they start casting this sequel. And I see it one day--my agent sends it to me--and they're looking for the character Zeratul. And it was, "Those sons of--" I was really good!

Chris Metzen: Haha! "I'm the emperor, dammit!"
James Harper: "What are they-- They're not even calling me to see if I'm available?"

Chris Metzen: Yeah, those Blizzard guys.

James Harper: So a couple of months later, my agent gets a call and he says, "Oh, I got a call from this thing, this Blizzard stuff. They're doing a sequel. They want you to recreate your character of Arcturus Mengsk." And I went to myself, "Self: never mind." And I'm really happy to be back doing this again, [Arcturus voice] 'cause it's so much fun.

Chris Metzen: Arcturus Mengsk, everybody.

James Harper: And it's all true.

Chris Metzen: So. So Tricia. You've been very patient, by the way. Thank you.

*cheering*

Chris Metzen: So, I have to wonder-- Oh hell, it just has to be done; we got any Galactica fans in the room?

*wild cheering*

Chris Metzen: Booyah. Very good. You know, it's funny. The character of Kerrigan is just so -- principle. She's the heart of all that is StarCraft. How was that? You know, stepping into this role? I know you read a little bit about it before we got going, and certainly I geeked out on you hugely as we were recording. What do you make of this character? How was this for you?

Tricia Helfer: Well, first off I have to say, it's intimidating to come into a game that, you know, and to do a job that you don't really know the history of it. I've said before, and this is the wrong room to say it, but I'm not gonna pretend: I'm kind of a video game virgin in terms of playing. I've played a robot, I uh-- Frogger was the last game I ever played, in the eighties, and I don't think I could make it past the first level. So, personally, I'm not very technologically savvy. So it was intimidating kind of coming in not knowing the backstory and the history and everything. It's an honor to be up here on this panel with everybody because you just hear all the voices and everything and I kind of just go out and do my thing, but I certainly don't have a bunch of different voices. So it's wonderful to be up here with you guys. Kerrigan, you know, from playing numerous characters on Battlestar, it wasn't threatening to come in and go "Oh my gosh I have to play two different characters in this." It's an evolution. And I think the first time I came in all I had really to go on was two pictures of Sarah and the Queen of Blades. And Sarah--

Chris Metzen: "Guys can you make up your mind?" You know?

Tricia Helfer: Yeah. And she looked so sweet and you know young and pretty and everything and I'm "I gotta have a little bit higher voice for this and everything. And I think it was Andrea you're like "No no. Do your voice." Which is not so high and pretty you know? And then the Queen of Blades it's really just finding the-- You know they stem from the same person--they are the same person--and just obviously something has happened. [pointing to James Harper] Because of you dammit! You know it's really fun because you don't get to work with each other with the other actors so you're kind of-- when you're a newbie you come in and you're just like "Okay I have a line on the paper." And thank gosh for these guys being the room you know Andrea and Chris and everything to answer my little silly questions or to say "No well that's not really what's happening this is what's happening." At the time I didn't know what Zerg and all these things were so it's really important to have everybody in the room to kind of direct you in the right way. And it's certainly fun to try and find the small differences; how do you bring in Sarah Kerrigan into Queen of Blades without you know completely changing it? Obviously Sarah doesn't know anything about the Queen of Blades so that's more kind of innocent but then when you go to Queen of Blades-- I mean she's fun. She's just fun to play because you just get to just be that evil side. And somehow--I think I'm a fairly nice person--but somehow I do a pretty good job of bringing out evilness.

Chris Metzen: Is it very therapeutic?

Tricia Helfer: It's therapeutic and I guess it saves on therapy bills.

Chris Metzen: Indeed.

Tricia Helfer: Get to go to work and be mean. So yeah for me it's a work in progress. I'm fairly light in the first you know part of this--

Chris Metzen: Installment.

Tricia Helfer: In the first installment I'm fairly light so I certainly don't have a lot of the story to go on yet but cut to next year here and I'll have a lot more to tell you about the character per se.

Chris Metzen: Guys you may not know: in this in the Wings of Liberty installment you know the first of the three chapters of StarCraft II obviously Kerrigan is the Queen of Blades. All the way through. And there are certain sequences certain cinematics we've created where we actually flash back to StarCraft 1. I think it was Mr. Harper's clip where you saw Arcturus. Actually it was a cinematic of the scene in StarCraft 1 where Kerrigan gets left behind. You know to get pulled away by the Zerg. And it's kind of one of Raynor's kind of recurring nightmares. You know that moment where everything in his life fell apart and this really great girl that he loved got taken away from him just as she was getting interesting. And boy did she get interesting. So a lot of the scenes Trish is talking about are kind of flashbacks of where we see Sarah as she was which was a lot of fun to write. And uh you know uh-- Oh once again I forgot what I was saying. Like I was really going somewhere and then POW! Hit the wall you know? All good. Andrea you know getting back to you. We haven't been avoiding you. Little? Little? Nah no no-- Little? Yeah. So what have your impressions been of just the arc of this thing? With all these characters right? And with this big high-falutin' storyline right? What has your experience been in terms of like I guess I want to say corralling all of these characters right? Or compensating for the different vocal textures and just the different personalities like what have you made of that? Like what do you make of the arc of the cast?

[...]

Andrea Romano: I came into this game about a year ago we started playing together. So I had to learn a lot about the history of what all had happened in the past and where we were going in the future. I just asked Chris backstage a little while ago did he know from the very beginning when he first started creating this game what the whole arc was going to be and where we were going to end because it's important for us to know as performers and as a director where the peak in the story is where the emotional arc is what's going to happen eventually and what do we need to foreshadow some point maybe in the first installment and it's going to pay off in the last. So I'm very lucky to have Chris sitting next to me every single session to keep me on course so that I know what to get from the actors. Chris is very articulate; he understands what he needs and then he can communicate that to me and then I can communicate it to the actors in specific acting terms that helps us all get together and get it done. We don't record the actors together those of you who know some of my work and know some of my backstory I like to record in what's called ensemble records which is I like all the actors in the room at the same time. I like to rehearse them together; I like to record them together. It gives us a really nice opportunity to have actors act and react and you guys reacting is as much a part of what we do as anything. You want to actually be able to have the actor respond to what the other actor before them has done. We don't always have that luxury and especially in recording for video games. So it's key that we remember what the actor before did and what the actor afterwards is going to do so that we actually have continuity. Now we do have the great luxury in video game recording that we have a very long production period. We actually have the chance [...] to record it once to edit it together with the other scenes with the other actors play it back and then go "You know what we can improve that." We can actually make that make a little bit more sense by playing it for the actor not only with the other actors' performances but then with picture so we can actually see what's physically happening. And there is lots of tweaks we can do which is again not to overuse the word but it's a luxury it's really nice to be able to go in and fix things afterwards.

Early on in my career I started doing video games and then I stopped for a long time because they got to be pretty much directing 75 different versions of "Urgh!" or "orghh and it really wasn't really very challenging for me because video games got to be a lot of slugfests. But these games created by Blizzard are cinematically and theatrically so interesting and so stimulating; they are like directing a movie. And so it's Blizzard that brought me back into directing video games and so when you see some of these scenes for this new game that's coming out StarCraft II you're going to be blown away! They're stunning! And so it made all of us bring our A-game - all of the actors myself as a director - to bring the best possible theatrical work to it and it's stimulating it's interesting it's wonderful. And again I don't know if I've answered your question at all I've just sort of gone off on a tangent. But in fact what we have here is a really interesting beginning because we have several more installations to go yet before we're done. We have years to go. I hope that you guys enjoy playing it watching it enjoying it as much as we do making it. I'll tell you the recording sessions are intense and a tremendous amount of fun. And before I forget I really have to thank Andrea Tores who does the casting and organizing of all the recording sessions and she's just an awesome awesome talent herself and so please a big shout-out to Andrea Tores.

Chris Metzen: Thank you Andrea! Ladies and Gentlemen Andrea Tores!

[...]

Q&A:

Q: Hi this question is actually for Andrea. You guys have an amazing cast for StarCraft II. I actually wanted to ask one quick question and then a main question. Quick question is are you also doing the stuff for Diablo III? And then the other question is for people like myself who actually want to get into voice acting what would you recommend? Do you do anything like that and for StarCraft II? And working with these actors what do you look for?

[...]

Andrea Romano: You've probably heard me answer this before but for people who are trying to get into voice acting the key number one most important thing to do is acting. You have to take acting classes if you're not just an instinctual wonderful actor from birth. Because it's wonderful if you can do lots of different voices but if you can't act you're probably a lot of fun at a party but whether or not you can actually get employed doing voices it's questionable. So it's all about the acting. And then after you take the acting classes and learn the acting terms so you understand what motivation is and what subtext is then you take voice-over classes to learn how to do different everything from microphone technique how not to "pop" into a microphone how not to get "whhind" in the microphone how to do different voices how to manipulate the voice so that you can use the entire range that you have. Now you may only be able to do one voice. That doesn't mean there isn't a place for you in the animation industry you just have to be able to do it better than anybody else. You have to be able to know how to use that voice to the absolute full extent we might need you to use it. And then the answer that I always give about how you actually get employed is you know pretty much large expensive gifts sent directly to my office. I'm kidding! Somebody actually sent me an enormous gift basket to my office and I had to send it back because I was just kidding when I said that. The truth is then you put together a demo; you send your demo to agents. You hopefully find yourself a really good agent who's going to get your demo out there to all the animation companies and all the game companies. They turn us on to it we listen to you we bring you in. The very most important thing you need to know guys there is always room for excellence. If you are really really good at this and you persevere and you follow your dream there is room for you in this industry.

Q: My question is directed to all the voice actors. Do you have all your own version of the character? Even though it's all illustrated already. Like when you act do you visualize yourself or do you see the other character?

[...]

Neil Kaplan: I'll start off. Yeah. Because I Neil Kaplan am a smaller guy not quite as energetic as Tychus so I kind of put myself in that place of having no fear and cajones the size of cantaloupes kind of thing. So yeah I kind of do visualize that situation and they are kind enough to bring whether it's pictures of the character or pictures of the set or of the characters that you're working with. 'Cause every little piece of that information helps at least me set myself in that place and get more attached to the character.

Dave Fennoy: Hitchhiking off of your answer I love to see the character I'm playing looks like because that gives me a lot of ideas about who he is. But more importantly I want to know what is the backstory on that character. Where did he come from? How does he feel? What are the things that he does? How does he feel about the other characters that he's working with. What's inside of him what's inside his heart and what's in his head? Those are the things to me that really start forming that character for me.

Fred Tatasciore: And also what does your character want? That's the biggie. What do you want? Are you trying to have the survival of the universe? That's a big one. It all depends on the yeah you do inhabit the character's soul. Basically it's like you join up with it. But it's a "who are you? what do you want? and where are you? and where have you been?" Those are the big ones for me anyway.

James Harper: And on top of that not only what do you want but what are your obstacles to achieving what you want? And how do you go about crossing those hurdles going around those obstacles? Basically the subtext of your character. It's everything that Andrea said it's not just doing the voice it's acting.

Robert Clotworthy: I also look at it as "How do I serve the story best?" I mean where is my character within the story? And also one of the first things I said to Andrea when we started working I said "Keep me honest." And as an actor that's critically important that you honestly share and convey those emotions and those feelings. That's what I think people appreciate about a performance.

Tricia Helfer: Exactly what Andrea said is you really do have to you know-- taking acting classes if you're interested in getting into it because that's where you sort of start to understand all these things you need to do yourself prep work as an actor coming into something. For me I'm newer at voice work and I find I actually have to almost visualize the character more so than I do in front of the camera because in front of the camera you're actually running around the scene-- you know if you're running around with a gun like what I was doing with Sarah the other day--I think last week--you know I'm running I'm shooting the gun everything like that. In front of the camera you're actually doing that. I mean mind you it's a prop gun but you're still actually running around doing that. So it's easier to become the character and feel like you are the character. But when you're sitting there with earphones on and you have to stay this close to the mic you can't be jumping around or they hear the sound. I mean your stomach gurgles and it's like the loudest thing possible. It's like I get so embarassed in the sound booth because it's like "Okay do I eat beforehand? Because then I'm going to be digesting and if I don't eat beforehand then I'm going to be hungry." Then I'm like "Your voice makes like--" You know. So you're right here so for me personally I have to even visualize more so than if I'm on camera because that's all you have to go on is your mind. Because you can't be bouncing around you can't be running around with a gun you aren't being cradled in Jim's arms or whatever--or Robert's. Or--

Robert Clotworthy: You can cradle yourself. My arms are ready for you.

Fred Tatasciore: And that being said you really do use your imagination quite a bit. That's the whole point.

Robert Clotworthy: I'd rather experience it! Create a little experience!

Fred Tatasciore: Oh okay acting is experience. But then you are teamed up. You got this great-- you know like in this case you have the wonderful writing-- writers right there in the right direction. So you really are teamed with the animators the writer and the director to create this one character. It's kind of extraordianary it does require all that.

Chris Metzen: Guys really quick that just reminded me. I just want to give a quick call out to Dustin Browder and Andy Chambers who are not up here but just cohorts in writing the game designing the game Nick Carpenter the cinematic director. A lot of people aren't up here right now but you know you guys know what's up. You've been here last couple years. The writing team is just exceptional and it's been just a blast to develop these characters with the boys. You know and do this thing as a team effort. Just wanted to say that boys if you're out there thank you.

[...]

Q: I have a lore question for Wings of Liberty.

Chris Metzen: Real loud brother.

Q: At the end of Broodwar the hidden map where you find out Duran's plot--

Chris Metzen: "Dark Origins".

Q: Yes. Will that have any pact on Wings of Liberty? Or will that come in later perhaps?

Chris Metzen: Uh-- It heralds everything. A little bit of that plays out in Wings of Liberty. In some really cool ways. We see Zeratul creeping around kind of going Dick Tracy trying to get to the bottom of that mystery. What is going on? What's happening under the surface of this great war? It plays out a little bit in Wings of Liberty but it really is if you can say that-- At some level the heart of StarCraft 2 and StarCraft in general as far as I'm concerned is Raynor and Kerrigan. Right? And that thing that might or might not happen with these crazy kids. Right? If that's the heart of the story the theme that Dark Origin kind of sets in our minds is essentially the spine of ultimately-- the great questions of the StarCraft universe will be unveiled overall. Like in it plays out every three chapters. And I probably could have answered that with a third of the words but you know. So. Did I answer that question satisfactorily? You guys gravy? All gravy? Thank you.

Q: My question was I was wondering is the core cast signed for all three chapters so the voice acting continuity is right there all the way to the end?

James Harper: Sure we are aren't we?

Andrea Romano: We certainly want that to happen. We certainly want that to happen.

Chris Metzen: Other than requests you know to have all the brown M&Ms out of the bowl and you know just crazy rock star requests I think we'll try and make everybody happy and make sure the continuity is maintained.

Robert Clotworthy: Well let me ask you: do you guys want us back?

*cheering*

Robert Clotworthy: Okay.

Q: My question pertains to the StarCraft lore. Do you have any intention to purge Kerrigan ever her Zerg infection and liberate her from her involuntary role as queen of the Zergs?

Chris Metzen: Well uh that's a hell of a question man uh--

Tricia Helfer: I know you don't I know you don't.

Chris Metzen: Ahaha. I'm going to leave it at that. And seriously dude like in a room with this many people I'm not comfortable telling you about my intentions you know what I mean? Like it's really personal you know? I don't know. *scoff*

Q: Hi. This one is for you Chris. Did you play any role in like World of Warcraft and StarCraft and maybe Diablo?

Chris Metzen: Did I play a role as an actor? As an actor?

Q: Yeah.

Chris Metzen: Well I hesitate to use the term "as an actor" but uh-- What did I do? In StarCraft I'm the Terran Battlecruiser. You know [Battlecruiser voice] "Battlecruiser operational." [normal voice] You know I'm the uh--

*wild cheering*

Chris Metzen: Wow. Well how about [Marine voice] "How do I get out of this chicken-shit outfit?" [normal voice] I'm the Terran Marine. The original Ghost you know [Ghost voice] "Ghost reporting." [normal voice] I'm the original Ghost. World of Warcraft I am Thrall. Actually I did Lo'gosh as well which is not very good but forgive me. [Thrall voice] "I am Thrall [normal voice] you know? So all that. I don't know guys. All sorts of stuff like Ragnaros I think I did a number of bosses. But I hesitate to use the word "actor". I have had the priveledge of serving with distinction in that geeky capacity.

Andrea Romano: It's a shame he has no skills huh? Slug. Slug.

[...]

Q: This is for Robert and James. In the original there's a lot of talking directly to the player who is a character. Is there a lot of difference in acting when you have to talk to someone who doesn't exactly exist as anyone you hear? And as a side question does the Magistrate still exist or in the lore is he going to be kind of pushed aside?

Robert Clotworthy: As an actor when you're acting you're alwyas talking to someone. And we use substitution. I mean at least that's what I do. So that I have somebody specifically in mind that I'm talking to whether that happens to be a character I'll personalize that. I'll use somebody from my own life so that I'm actually talking to somebody that I know somebody I have a relationship with. And I'll find a relationship-- I'll use somebody where that relationship makes sense for the person I'm talking to in the game. So that way where I'm coming from is a place of truth and reality as opposed to just you know talking to something that doesn't exist. 'Cause as an actor for me I can't connect to that. But if I want to communicate with somebody if I want to talk to like I'm talking to you now I'm talking to you specifically and you know that I'm talking to you. As far as the lore is concerned Chris?

Chris Metzen: As far as the Magistrate goes at the end of it guys in the original game the Magistrate was really a contrivance to help tell the story. Right? It was never intended to be a really fleshed-out character. But it's funny that it fees that way right? In some ways our tools for telling story in the original game were very crude. Right? You know you put in a map there wasn't a whole lot of story in the map like you saw with things like Warcraft III. But you bounce into these screens where you had these goofy windows and these little heads you know yelling at each other and you know the Magistrate-- It did feel like a fictional part of the universe but with this game we wanted to bring the characters a little more forward and not have that half-step in between the player and Raynor for instance. So we've kind of done away with it but it does pose an interesting question: is that character still out there in the lore somewhere? Perhaps.

James Harper: Also just to continue with the talking to someone-- One of the things that I mentioned about it seemed to go so quick this whole game and I'm only there for you know couple of days you know three and a half four hours something like that. One of the reasons why it went so quick is because of our director right here Andrea. She is so freaking good at getting what she needs from the actors and the characters and bless her as well she reads with you. So you're not just-- I'm not just blanketly saying words but you do sometimes in some voice-over situations. You don't get the benefit ever of the other line just what you're reacting to. And what she said I really want to stress: most acting is reacting. That's what acting is. So it was great to have her in the booth be able to read not only just your que line but read the other characters if there are five or six paragraph of lines ahead of that which you may need as an actor for the situation to be alive in and be reacting to until such time as your actual line comes up. So I was never speaking in a void. I was always actually speaking reacting to a very specific voice and a very specific word. Which really is a huge help.

Announcer: Looks like that's going to end our Q&A. Let's give it up again for our panelists.

[End]


starcraft 2

This is a StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/) BlizzCon 2009 event article.

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