The voices of C2E2 2017

 

For me, C2E2 was largely about meeting voice actors. Well, that and showing off my Team Skull costume. Several prominent videogame and TV voice actors attended the convention, most notably Troy Baker (star of The Last of Us and Bioshock Infinite among many others). Other voice actors present included David Hayter (Snake in Metal Gear Solid), Jennifer Hale (Shepard in Mass Effect), Dave Fennoy (Lee Everett in The Walking Dead), Jim Cummings (Pete and Winnie the Pooh in Kingdom Hearts and everything else), Steve Blum (Sub-Zero and Reptile in Mortal Kombat X), Veronica Taylor (the original voice of Ash from Pokémon) and last but certainly not least, Richard Horvitz (Kaos in a little series called Skylanders).

The first panel I attended for the weekend was a spotlight panel for Troy Baker. He gave an excellent presentation, touching on the role of videogames in media and the process required to perform as different characters. He also discussed issues of confidence and acceptance, and how games can help with them. In particular, he went into great depth about the recording of a particular scene in The Last of Us. I was one of the three people in the room who hadn’t played that game, so I don’t know what this scene was, but from the reactions in the room I’m guessing you guys know. I was really struck by the emotional impact that scene clearly had on him, and just how in depth the acting process for that game was. He was right when he said that games are the future of storytelling, because they can tell stories that don’t work in other media.

After that panel was a Q&A panel with every single one of the voice actors listed above. With that much talent in the room, we got some really interesting insights, along with a few funny moments, like David Hayter and Troy Baker mocking the use of a different voice actor for Snake in Metal Gear Solid 5. Baker had another great story in this panel, this time about one of my favorite games ever, Persona 4. He explained that when he was recording for Shadow Kanji, his director made sure he knew that it should be taken seriously. And serious it was; Baker noted that he has heard from fans about how Kanji’s story helped them. And of course, I couldn’t waste the opportunity to ask Richard Horvitz about his time on Skylanders. He didn’t have too much to say, but he did note that he was disappointed with how the character of Kaos was changed for the Skylanders Academy show, especially since they were asking him to play a character differently that he originated. He also lamented most of the game’s voice actors being replaced by celebrities. For what it’s worth, I agree with him on both counts.

Finally, the last voice actor based panel had all of the voice actors reading part of the script of Back to the Future, rotating roles with character voices and celebrity impressions. It’s even funnier than it sounds. The voices of Shepard and Snake can make even boring scene descriptions sound good, but I think Steve Blum’s foul mouthed Elmo and Troy Baker’s spot on Jeff Goldblum stole the show. Other highlights include Richard Horvitz doing an impression of Katherine Hepburn and the voices of Tigger and Winnie the Pooh in adult situations.

I went to a number of other panels, of course, but none of them were videogame related. In fact, I found there was less videogame-related content than previous years. There was a little bit of open gaming on the show floor, but that’s about it.

Still, even without much in the way of videogames, I had a lot of fun at the convention. I met some awesome actors, found a bunch of my Team Skull allies, and did a little too much shopping. It was also nice to talk to Cody and Joel in person. So despite a little bit of disappointment, I definitely plan to come back next year.

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