Quest for Vocal Glory

A new two-page article on Slate takes us through the challenges that Quest For Infamy designer Steven Alexander had to overcome to make the Kickstarted adventure/RPG title a reality and how the author managed to score a gig voicing one of the game's characters. An inspirational story, to be sure:
Game designer Steven Alexander (known as (Blackthorne) in developer land) started planning Quest for Infamy back in 2003. It was an extremely ambitious project, more than he and his team could handle at that point. To hone their skills, they remade King's Quest III and Space Quest II old adventure games from now-defunct Sierra On-Line, which they released freely in 2006 and 2011, respectively. Alexander had a lot of time to work on these: In 2002, he was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease. Following a rejected kidney transplant in 2003, he was bound to dialysis for many years. He was fully prepared not to survive his condition, leaving his wife the instructions and resources necessary to complete Space Quest II.

But in 2011, Alexander got a lucky break: A kidney became available for transplant. With his (extra life,) he also got the opportunity to make his dream come true. He started planning for the commercial production and release of Quest for Infamy, prepared a demo, and launched his project on Kickstarter, where it earned 253 percent of its $25,000 goal. It's a good story the return from the jaws of death to glory. Not so different from my cold, really.

After all this, I submitted a demo and was cast as Jerrod, an overly enthusiastic apothecary in Quest for Infamy. I wanted to make sure I gave the Infamous Quests team something special, so in addition to recording several (straight) interpretations of the character, I did a joke take as an excitable German just for funsies. I was pretty surprised when my joke character ended up as the voice for Jerrod, but this is how character acting can be: Sometimes, the character has to create itself.

As little as 20 years ago, the only indicator of a video game character was the digital image and some text. Technology limited how convincing characters could look, and text, well let's just say that game studios did not often employ professional writers. I won't cite specific examples, as I will no doubt deliver countless terrible lines myself one day, but (Oh, great hero, who hath saved the realm and to whom we owe all: Wilt thou go gather me some carrots/guitars/chicken nuggets?) is still a common video game trope. But we also have characters who look real enough to fool the casual observer, accomplished writers who bring them to life, and voices to make them engaging and relatable and relay emotions in a cinematic way.