One of the biggest reasons I moved to LA this year was because, unlike the other areas of voice acting such as commercial and promo, you need to be local to get into the animation and gaming scene. Being a storyteller, I wanted access to the opportunity to be part of story-focused platforms. That made for an exciting moment when I was contacted by a friend of mine – Theophany (Jason Gallaty) – who was working on some sound design for a game called Oxenfree. He knew I was a voice actor and wanted to see if the producers liked me.
Well, long story short, they did, and I got cast as the “radio” voice as well as the tour guide for the entire game. Sean and Adam, the heads of Nightschool Studio, came over to my home studio and talked about the project, we laid down some tracks, and a new character was born. The radio/tour guide is a really interesting character, as it is the medium through which the protagonists speak with the spirit world. It made for a very non-standard dialog that reminded me of a sedated Wreck-Gar from the Transformers movie, in that I used catchphrases and advertisement pieces, as well as radio drama dialog, to communicate.
It was fun. And I thought, well, that’s that. Job done.
I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to it. I’ve done maybe a dozen video games in my career, most of which are available on Steam or iOS/Android, but they were all fire-and-forget projects that I never heard about again. I sort of thought this was just another one those
Yeaaaah I was wrong. I found out that the cast I was acting alongside was from titles like Borderlands and Wolf Among Us. Britanni Johnson, Gavin Hammon, Erin Yvette, Aaron Kuban are all fantastic actors to be alongside. The studio’s team had worked for Disney, Telltale Games, and had a huge amount of industry experience they were bringing to bear on this project. In short, I had no idea who I was dealing with.
And then, as the game was about to release, stuff started popping up in my news feed that I didn’t expect at all. Apparently, people were paying attention to Oxenfree.
For example, opening up my latest issue of GameInformer and seeing a title I worked on staring me in the face from the reviews section. I about jumped out of my seat when I read “fantastic voice acting drives the experience” in the summary. The LA Times did an article on it, calling it “the first must play game of 2016.” Kotaku has a whole bunch of paragraphs on the radio and how it was employed in the story.
Oh. and a movie.
I have no idea where this is going to go from here, nor do I have any idea whether I’ll actually be involved. But it was an absolute pleasure to be a part of this really unique gaming experience, and it sits right on the edge of what the medium is capable of and transforming into. Video games can tell stories in ways that other forms cannot, and Oxenfree is exactly the kind of title I’ve had my eye on for years. Adam, Sean, and the Nightschool team are the kinds of people that are bringing gaming to a completely new, terrifically exciting level.
For now, you should check out the game, available on XBox and PC. A PS4 release has been announced.