06 JanRaphael Sbarge: Kimberly Brooks Q&A Part 2

Raphael Sbarge (Kaidan, Mass Effect) chats with Kimberly D. Brooks (Ashley, Mass Effect) about how they were cast for the series and the evolution of videogames, in the second part of a three-part interview. (Catch up with part one.)

Raphael: Someone wanted to know how – you know, we both were hired, or brought on. Did you read for Ashley, what did you know about the character? How did you find your way there, I guess.

Kimberly: Right, well, I – like I do every day – I’m a hustler for the job, and I auditioned, just like everybody else. Actually, it’s pretty interesting, I think: I was brought in a little bit later, and the game had already been cast. I believe I was actually replacing an actress – I don’t really know what happened.

Raphael: Oh, no kidding.

Kimberly: Yeah, I don’t know what happened with that whole situation, but I was brought in a little bit later; the game was already kind of going, so I didn’t … You know, we had the drawings, there were some drawings of her, and I thought, “Oh my gosh, she’s so hot. I gotta play her well.”

Raphael: [laugh] You’re hot.

Kimberly: [laugh] Thanks. It’s just been really fun. I love it, because she’s tough; she’s a military chick; she’s, you know, all the weapons; she’s an officer; and she just grows, and you see her whole life story. But, then there’s the other side of her: She’s vulnerable, and she’s a woman. It’s just, it’s really cool to get to play that kind of duplicity in a character.

Raphael: That’s neat. That’s really neat. That’s wonderful.

Kimberly: Yeah, it’s great.

Raphael: I auditioned for it, just like you, and just like you said, you know, we walk into these rooms. It’s funny, you know, I have a son, who, I dropped him off at his preschool – he’s now in second grade – but I remember dropping him off one day, and his teacher apparently said to my son: “You know, your dad looks familiar. What does he do?” And my son thought for a second, and he went: “Um. He auditions.”

Kimberly: [laugh] Oh my gosh, he told the truth! That’s what we do! Oh, that’s brilliant.

Raphael: So, for all intents and purposes, that’s what we do, right?

Kimberly: That’s so true. So do you remember your audition, your actual, specific audition for Mass Effect?

Raphael: I sort of … I don’t remember the specific audition. I remember when I got the call: “Oh, you’ve got this game, called Mass Effect.” And I remember thinking, “Oh, this seems kind of interesting.” And then I remember when we first went into the first sessions, and the very specific notes were: “We don’t want to create a game like any other game. There’s not a lot of screaming; we want it to be more like an episode of 24.”

Kimberly: Exactly. Oh, I remember that, definitely.

Raphael: Right, “And we want to keep it really conversational, and real. We want actors; not voices. We want your personality to come through, but we want to really create a style for the military. There was a lot of … Ginny, the director at the time, was really, really on me anyway, about trying to sort of create, kind of a style, sort of the vibe of the game, and I thought was wildly successful in kind of holding the line for me, which I appreciated.

Kimberly: Oh, definitely. I mean, gosh, games have evolved so much. You think back to some of the first videogames I worked on, where it wasn’t really actor-driven, as they are now. Now, it’s just all about the characters, and the characters’ relationships, and making it very real, like you said: Like an episode of 24. And that’s really exciting, I love that, I love that part, being involved in that.

Come back tomorrow for part 3!

13 Responses so far.

  1. CptData says:

    First one?
    I love that second part of this interview. Never saw “Mass Effect” as some kind of “24”, but now that they’re saying it, I can see some similarities.

    Also nice to know Kimberly wasn’t the first choice. Dunno who didn’t make it, I’d say it’s her loss and Kimberly’s (and her fans) gain …

    Just one more thing: I kinda dislike the fact we have not the same VA in Germany. Ashley’s first VA sounded at least a bit like Kimberly, but the one for ME2 … uhhh nah. I should go for the English version one day. Kimberly’s voice fits perfectly to Ash.

  2. Kevin says:

    Really love what you guys are doing. It’s both interesting and fun even though it might not be the longest of a Q&A voice interview. But I’m definitely excited for the last part.

    Great job guys, and lots of love from your fans!

  3. Natalie says:

    Thanks for the second installment! Cute story about RS’s son.

  4. Saberchic says:

    Really enjoying these interviews! Keep ‘em coming!

  5. Bekkael says:

    “He auditions.” LOL, classic. Our kids will always tell it like it is! This is really fun to listen to. Looking forward to the last segment. :)

  6. Meri says:

    Really, just thank you very much ! :D

  7. John says:

    You are really the best voice actors I´ve ever heard. Kimberly, your voice is amazing! Hope we will hear more of you. Thank you so much.

  8. Lyriel says:

    Really loving these peeks into the people behind the voices, and your experiences! Thank you, it brings depth and “realness” to the marvelous entertainment you are so key in providing us :).

  9. mm says:

    I remember the old Ash’s voice from a trailer. I don’t want to be mean so lets just say I’m glad Kimberly replaced her. She has such a friendly, warm voice it’s impossible to not love Ash.

  10. Melody says:

    It’s strange hearing the two voices come together. Haven’t heard that since Virmire…whoa…

    And I think it’s wonderful hearing about the audition process. Raphael’s voice acting is actually the reason I ended up finding and playing Mass Effect. I fell for Carth Onasi on KOTOR…and moved right on to Kaidan Alenko. That has to be some sort of testimony to the voice acting skills!

  11. Charity says:

    This is so amazing and so awesome that you two are just doing this for the fans. I stumbled across the letter while doing my weekly search for Mass Effect 3 news. A lot of people have been giving kudos to Kimberly’s letter, but I have Kaidan in my playthrough, and I just want to say, Raphael, wow, and thank you. Even in written form, that letter was a game changer for me. I was so mad after the Horizon reunion – and then “Commander, you have messages waiting for you”. Bioware sure knows how to play on emotion in their games. Realistically in the far future, a letter probably would be a voice message, and being able to hear it the way Kaidan would say it is a really special gift to the fans. Thank you.

    Also, these interviews are really helping the wait for ME3 go by faster. :) It’s so interesting to hear how you were cast, to hear the way voice acting in video games has changed and continues to evolve (all for the good), and to hear about your personal experiences with the franchise. Thank you again to both of you for taking the time to do all of this.

  12. Jonathan says:

    Hey thank you for the interview, though I almost wish I could have AK and AW together in Mass Effect 3, but some things aren’t meant to be.

  13. Alexandra says:

    Aw, man. You guys just totally broke my heart.

    … in the good way.

    … … …on my birthday, no less! :)

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