It’s always fun to get to see my voice in action, and even more fun to get to hear myself kicking zombie butt! 🙂 I just found out that a game I voiced a character in, Contagion, has recently been released. It’s available on Steam for the PC. I play Nicole, one of the only two female characters.
I thought I’d check it out for myself and downloaded the game to play. One thing I quickly learned? If I was really in a zombie apocalypse, I’d probably end up eating my friends and family in about 5 minutes. A good zombie hunter I am not. It was incredibly trippy trying to fight off attacking zombies and hearing my own voice scream in pain, haha! Makes it all the more realistic.
Voicing characters for video games are a really fun experience, but there’s a few things that are important to know before you try it. Before this game, I have done voices for a few computer-based games like Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride and that are a little more character focused…they were more adventure/seek and find types, so the parts I voiced were usually cutscenes or small vignettes that helped the story along…more like short movies. But in this case, I was providing the voice for a playable character. This means that I had to also record plenty of background sounds. If you’ve played a first person shooter game recently, you probably notice that the characters make all sorts of noises when they’re fighting or are hurt. I knew that would be involved, but what I didn’t realize is how hard it is to make DIFFERENT sounding noises with plenty of variation! I recorded sounds for jumping, running, swimming, turning into a zombie, you name it. And not only that, but three or four different types of each of those categories.
It really requires you to put yourself in the moment. No one wants a lackluster, bored-sounding scream. Luckily, my client provided some great sound clips and scary background music to help me get in the right mindset. Very helpful! Another thing to keep in mind when doing video game voices is that it will probably get LOUD. I’m used to doing commercials and character voices at a natural speaking level. But I found that when I got to recording the more frantic sounds for this game, I had to dial back my microphone volume a lot so that I wouldn’t “clip” or distort the audio too much by being too loud. I kept a big bottle of water nearby and was careful to not record for too long. Screaming can definitely grate on your vocal chords! I was glad that I’ve had training in singing that taught me how to produce sound from my diaphragm and not use my throat too much. Screaming can hurt them, so it’s important to have good breath support. I found that even when I was using air correctly, my throat would get tired after a few takes, so I tried to space out my recordings and not do all the loudest sounds in the same session.
I had a blast recording for this, and hope I’ll get the chance to play more cool characters in the future. If you like zombie shooter games, go check out Contagion and let me know what you think! But please don’t let me get eaten by zombies TOO much…