Hello, everyone! This is the second part to the Q&A between Stephen Russell and us fans. He is extremely busy, but he still found the time to answer our questions. So if you’d like to leave a small “thank you” for him, either here or in my ask box, I’ll be sure to send it his way. I’m sure he’d appreciate it. ^_^
Personal Questions: 1. You’re a very talented voice actor and you can throw
your voice so well. Have you ever used
this to pull any awesome pranks? Do you
have any funny stories in regards to any antics caused by your voices?
I used to enjoy talking to telemarketers in the character of
a very elderly, hard of hearing and slightly confused person for whom English
was not their native language. Or even
one they used very often. This
character had a lot of questions and seemed particularly puzzled by the concept
of credit card promotions. I figured if
the telemarketers were going to waste my time, the least I could do was return
the favor. My wife tried to convince me
this behavior, which I just saw as an opportunity to practice my craft, was
cruel; but then she wasn’t the person trying to work from home. When she retired last year and was, herself,
subject to the endless barrage of telemarketing calls, she mostly solved the
problem by canceling our landline.
2. What is the weirdest/most fun interaction you’ve had
with a fan?
That time when someone asked me, “What is the weirdest/most
fun interaction you’ve had with a fan.“
3. The last time you answered our questions, you said you
used to sing in a choir. Is there any
chance we might get to hear you sing in an upcoming game?
I got to sing a little bit as Raoul in one of the
"Thief” games, and I’m always hoping for more opportunities.
4. Have you ever read the fan fictions for the games
you’ve voiced in?
I confess I haven’t.
I wasn’t even aware such things existed. I’ll have to look for them.
I have to read quite a lot for my other work, so the opportunities to
read just for pleasure are few and far between.
5. When did you start acting and what sparked your
Third grade? Fourth
grade? Somewhere in there? As to what sparked my interest, I think it
all boils down to my love of stories and storytelling in all its varied forms.
6. Did you always want to be an actor?
Yes and no. I always
wanted to be a performer and to be involved in the business of telling stories,
and for many years I really thought that music and writing would be my avenue
for that. Music is still really my
first and most enduring love, but I’ve learned I’m a far better actor than I am
7. It says on your bio that you’re a writer, too. Have you published any novels or other
I’m primarily a playwright, as well as a songwriter, and
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing somewhere around 18 of my plays for family
audiences produced. None of them have
been published. Not for want of trying,
8. In the previous Q&A you did for us, you seemed
very passionate about the writing surrounding the characters you voice. What do you think is the importance of
storytelling and developing a meaningful narrative?
Story is the foundation for everything. If you don’t have that, you don’t have a
play, a movie, a song, a game, etc. It
doesn’t have to be that complicated, either.
It just has to be something that makes us care about the situation and
the characters in that situation. The
stakes have to be high, but that doesn’t always mean Armageddon. In Jane Austen’s world, the right marriage
proposal really was life and death.
9. What is your favourite part of voice acting?
The feeling that I get when I’ve really nailed a line. I also really like all the people I get to
work with - the audio directors, the writers, the engineers, the sound
designers - all of whom are smart, funny, and totally dedicated to getting the job
done right. My other favorite part is
when I see that red, white and blue truck pull up to my mailbox, put something
in it, close the little door and then pull away, and I walk down my driveway
and discover that the check has arrived.
10. What is your favourite band/genre of music?
Too numerous to mention.
I’m a sucker for a good melody, no matter what the genre, and I like
exploring unfamiliar territory. In
fact, I don’t even really like classifying music by genre. I tend to think of music as either formal or
informal, which roughly translates to classical and everything else, but even
there the lines get blurred very quickly.
I’ve mentioned somewhere else that I’m a huge Bellowhead fan, and one of
the reasons why I like them so much is that their arrangements of traditional
English songs draw from so many different influences. I think “Stardust” is the most beautiful song ever written and
Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is the crowning achievement in all of Western music. As you might guess, I can get very
passionate about voices, both the ones I like and the ones I can’t stand.
11. When is your birthday? We want to shower you with birthday wishes!!
I think last year it was on a Wednesday. It probably will be again in about six or
Game-related Questions: 1. What’s it is like to voice Corvo in the upcoming
Dishonored 2? Is it challenging to
voice him fully this time around?
Nothing but fun. I
was thrilled to get to work with the wonderful director Wes Gleason on this
project, and we were also very fortunate to have in the studio with us Arkane’s
Harvey Smith, who probably knows this character better than anyone. When he heard the initial takes and said,
“That’s Corvo, that’s our guy.” I knew we
were on the right track.
2. What has been your favourite game to work on? Are there any that are particularly dear to
you? I’d imagine “Thief” has
a special place in your heart.
“Thief” was pretty special because that’s where it
all began, but, otherwise, I don’t really think in those terms. I love to work and I love a challenge, so my
favourite is usually the one I’m working on at the moment.
3. Do you improvise often, or do you have to read
everything word for word with no exceptions? 4. Were all of Codsworth’s jokes scripted, or did you
throw any of your own in there?
It’s kind of the same answer for both questions. 99% of what you hear in the game is what was
in the script. The voice recording
happens pretty late in the development of a game, so there’s not a lot of room
for improvisation. On occasion, a line
will feel a bit stilted or awkward in performance and then will need to be
adjusted, and every now and again there will be an ellipsis at the end of a
line that allows me an opportunity to continue a character’s thought beyond
what has been written. This happened most
often with Codsworth, and I certainly enjoyed cracking wise when the
opportunity arose, but, again, 99% of those jokes came from Emil Pagliarulo and
the other writers at Bethesda. They’re
very funny people.
5. Do you ever get to work with the other voice
actors? For example, did you work
alongside Courtenay Taylor and Brian T. Delaney, or was everything recorded
Everything was recorded separately. It’s a lonely business, voice acting. Just you in a room with a microphone, a
glass of water and #2 pencil. And, on
the other side of a wall of glass, half a dozen people judging every word that
comes out of your mouth.
6. What’s your favourite silly name from Codsworth?
7. What was it like recording all the different names that
Codsworth can say?
8. Was it difficult voicing Nick and DiMA back and forth?
Those characters were recorded in separate sessions so, not
9. Do you think that if Nick had the chance to become a
third generation synth, he would take it?
Hard to say. But I
do happen to know that if Nick had the chance to play third base for the Red
Sox, he’d jump at the opportunity. Why
do you think he has his office in Diamond City?
10. How would you describe the relationship between Nick
and his secretary, Ellie Perkins? I
always felt like there was a great friendship there, even though we didn’t
really get to see that played out.
It’s kind of the classic noir detective/secretary
relationship, like Sam Spade and Effie Perrine. One of the things I really like about J.K. Rowling’s “Robert
Galbraith” novels is how she riffs on that relationship with her
characters, Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott.
11. Are you surprised with the reactions and fandoms
surrounding Fallout and all the other games you’ve voiced in (Skyrim, Thief,
Dishonored, etc.)? Part of that is
definitely because of your hard work and dedication to the characters you
Surprised, delighted and very grateful.
12. Nick Valentine is by far one of my favourite companions
and characters in the entire Fallout series.
As someone with particular insight into his character, what would you
say his reasons are for not being romancable?
Too busy thinking about playing third base for the Red
Sox? But, really, I think his work is
his life and he’s just not that interested in anything that distracts from the
case at hand. It’s just the way he’s
13. What ending of Fallout 4 would you choose?
Myself, I love a happy ending, don’t you?
14. Would you say that robots like Codsworth are
15. What were the hardest/most emotional lines to record
I think some of the exchanges with DiMA, but they were also
some of the most fun to record.
16. How do you feel about Nick becoming such an influential
character, along the lines of: “What would Nick Valentine have to say
Nick seems to have a pretty good moral compass, so I’m
thinking there are worse individuals to look to for guidance.
I hope this answered all of the questions people submitted. Thank you all so much for your patience and for participating! Please remember to follow Stephen Russell on Twitter and continue to support him. ^_^
The following are my translations of tweets by Ikumi Nakamura (character designer/concept artist of The Evil Within).
Another interesting anecdote about Joseph’s design is that at one point it was determined that in the middle of the story he would die. When I found out, I muttered to the director who was smoking on the balcony, “If you kill Joseph, I will resent you for the rest of my life…” and glared at him like I was going to cut him in half. Did any of that have an effect on the director? I don’t know either. [x]
This is an interview Hidetaka Miyazaki did in Taiwan, translated by u/r1ceagain. In addition to other stuff, it confirms three upcoming DLCs, similar to Dark Souls 2:
Q: How many DLCs will there be?
A: We will make three large DLCs as planned. First one will be out in Fall 2016, Second one in Early 2017, Third one doesn’t have a date yet.
Also, here’s a response I find really really cute:
Q: Souls series is over for now. What kind of experience has this journey been for you?
A: Looking back now, I think it’s a fortunate and blessed journey. I was given an opportunity, I walked this path with BANDAI NAMCO, FROM Software team and the players together. There are many touching memories along the way. A game like Souls, where there’s no map, you die in a few steps and nobody knows what’s going on, for this game to become such a beloved franchise via word of mouth, I feel like I’m such a lucky man. These past six, seven years is a treasured time period for me. I couldn’t even imagine where I am today ten years ago. For this journey to not go to waste, I’m going on another fortunate journey and make better games to repay people’s support.
Q: It was announced in December that you wouldn’t be providing any DLC content - what prompted the decision to start developing more content for Dark Souls 2?
A: He mentioned that after finishing the main game and releasing it, the team had a very strong will to create more content for the game.
Q: So I heard you talking to GameTrailers about different ways to tackle the DLC - apparently there will be a challenging route in addition to the main route. What can you tell us about that?
A: The challenging route exists because there’s definitely a demand for such a thing in the community. Atsuo put an emphasis on the co-op here, indicating that this “Challenging route” may even challenge players using co-op, where typically co-op makes areas much easier. Of course, many players will decide to tackle the challenging route on their own, which should offer a great experience for adept players who want something more.
I also got the impression that the stage will be very developed and complex, compared to some of the stages we saw in Dark Souls 2. There seems to be more emphasis on altering and interacting with the stage, unlocking shortcuts and different routes. I found Dark Souls 2’s stages much more linear than Dark Souls 1’s, and I feel like these DLC stages might be a bit denser and complex.
Q: There are rumors floating around that it’s possible to be summoned into the DLC as a white phantom - even if you haven’t purchased that package. This sounds like a great way for players to demo the content before buying - is this true?
A: Atsuo confirmed this, mentioning that it will add to the DLC Purchaser’s ability to tackle the “challenging route” of the DLC with help from more players. On the flip side, it will also allow players who haven’t purchased the DLC to trial the new areas and demo the experience in someone elses world. A content patch will add the content to everyone’s game so that you can get summoned into it. This is pretty great for those who are on the fence about buying.
Q: So the DLC is being delivered in three packages. Will we have to play them in any particular order?
A: This is up to the player! You can attempt them in any particular order you want, but playing all three is encouraged because of a “surprise” that will occur once you have conqured every area (and obtained every crown?). I asked whether we would have to find this “surprise” or whether the “surprise” would come to us, and Atsuo hinted that it should be fairly apparent what the surprise is - not too hidden.
Q: In the Artorias of the Abyss DLC it was pretty difficult to access the extra content. Can you give us any details on how we’ll access the DLC this time around?
A: Players will have to meet certain conditions before they can access the DLC - obtaining the Ashen Mist Heart after visiting the Undead Crypt seems to be the point at which you can access, implying that these DLC packages will be explored in the past - in memory. They want players to be at a certain level of proficiency before they tackle the DLC, because the challenges will be built around this skill level.
Atsuo indicated that he can’t give any specific details on how to access, but the location at which we access will likely be fairly hidden just like in AOTA. It will be in a place relevant to the past areas we’re exploring! I’m sure we’ll see an entrance in the Iron Keep, for example.
Q: Is there any information you can give about the design of the three areas?
A: He detailed the first package of the DLC the most strongly, mentioning that FROM were inspired by very “mayan, south american” designs in regards to the Sunken Ruins. The place will have a very “temple-like” feel, which is something we can already see from the trailers. FROM seems to have a focused design philosophy for each of the areas we’ll be exploring, just like the areas in the current game.
Q: Is the content an addition to the lore and story, or will FROM be focusing on tying up loose ends?
A: here will be both an addition to the current lore, and nsight into the existing story. For example, I think he mentioned that the crowns were once in posession of King Vendrick, and i’m sure we’ll learn a lot about the backstory of each of the crown-wearers in relation to Vendrick’s rule.
Q: Are there any more planned balance patches in the works between now and the DLC release?
A: They have the binoculars fix and the sky-walking glitch currently scheduled for a fix, but around the time of the DLC there will be a patch that adds all of the DLC content for everyone (so you can access with a white phantom) and this would be a good time to add some balance changes to the game as well.