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According to IGN Video Games (This article and its images were originally posted on IGN Video Games July 23, 2018 at 12:07PM.)
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Cissy Jones is no stranger to tough auditions. As a voice actor for games like Firewatch, Telltale’s The Walking Dead, and now Darksiders 3, she’s put in some heavy duty hours. Many times, she doesn’t even know what she’s necessarily auditioning for.
Darksiders 3 was no exception, but on the bright side, her recording was written to be only four words long. Jones sat down with IGN’s Ryan McCaffrey to discuss her Darksiders 3 audition on this month’s IGN Unfiltered.
Like many of Jones’ gigs, the developers behind the project kept her in the dark on what the specific project was, but did tell her that the character she was portraying was a “badass woman, one of the seven deadly sins personified.”
What were Jones’ instructions? Say four simple words: “Hello, brother” and “With pleasure” in as venomous a voice she could muster.
After the debut trailer received nearly three million views on IGN, Jones knew she had to audition for the full role. Jones and her managed hustled to get in contact with developer Gunfire Games, allowing her to land an audition for the full role.
Jones is no stranger to playing strong women in games, between Firewatch’s Delilah and Telltale’s The Walking Dead’s Katjaa. So she relished the opportunity to give her own spin on one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
“I wanted to take this badass and make her a little more human in certain ways,” Jones says. “She has an arc and she goes through stuff that I’m not going to talk about, but [I’m] finding ways to keep her edge, but still bring a level of change to her.”
Jones also spoke about the late 2017 vote on the SAG-AFTRA voice actors strike, in which union of video game voice actors went on strike to protest working conditions, pay, and other issues. By September 2017, the union and multiple major companies agreed to pay bonuses to actors for additional recording sessions, pay royalties at certain sales intervals, and put a restriction on how many harsh recordings (such as dialogue that involves screaming) an actor can do. The union also managed to force companies to disclose at least the codename for a project before an actor signs a contract, allowing for more transparency.
[Actors and developers], we’re not on opposite sides here,” Jones says. “The more you look at it, the more we all want the same things. It was really hard because the narrative driven from top down was us versus them and it was never us versus them. It was, ‘Let’s find a way to make this something that works for all of us.’ It was really shitty.”
Jones counts herself as satisfied overall with the progress the strike made, but says there are still conversations that need to happen.
Jones remembers a heavy amount of criticism from detractors, calling the job of voice actors lofty.
“It’s really freaking hard,” Jones says. “If you’ve not done it, you don’t know how to do it, and you don’t know that it will wreck your voice. I have friends who’ve literally blown out a vocal chord and cannot ever do voice over ever again.”
This inevitably ties back into what Jones says is the most common misconception about voice acting. For anyone who’s pursued it seriously, it’s never been a “side gig.”
“I get so many people saying ‘Gosh, I just want to do voice over for some extra cash.’ It’s not that easy,” Jones says. “You have to know how to act with your voice and to make it believable and interesting. Also, you have to have a presence. You can’t just walk in one day and decide, ‘I’m going to be a voice actor’ and start working in all the things. It doesn’t happen unless you’re a celebrity.”
You can find out more about how Jones broke through the struggles of voice acting to become one of its most recognizable personalities in this month’s IGN Unfiltered. Make sure to check out previous episodes of IGN Unfiltered to hear extensive interviews with some of gaming’s biggest and brightest, including Xbox creator Seamus Blackley, Pillars of Eternity II’s Josh Sawyer, and more.
Joseph Knoop is a contributor to IGN. Chat with him on Twitter at @JosephKnoop.
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