When you think of racing video games, it’s hard to imagine a game investing in great actors and talent in voice acting, but Codemasters is willing to challenge the standards in its new release. Dirt 5. And who better than the legendary Nolan North and Troy Baker to show us that racing games can include engaging narratives?
The duo, who already shone in established roles, will now give life to rival pilots Alex “AJ Janicek” (Troy Baker, Joel de The Last of Us) and Bruno Durand (Nolan North, Nathan Drake of Uncharted). At the invitation of the producer, we participated in a press conference with the actors and had the opportunity to ask some questions directly to both. Check out the best moments of the chat below!
Raising the narrative in racing games
Troy, how was your process to find AJ’s voice? How much has the developer already delivered you with the character, and how much was your authorism?
“The reality is that it was a partnership, because they worked very well telling me who AJ was, and not only that, who they needed AJ to become as well. And all the information they gave me was not just an extensive biography, it was more in the style ‘so it happened to him, and it motivated him to be that way, that’s what put him behind the wheel’. Everything in AJ’s life was driven by passion. Even obstacles prove to be opportunities for him. ”
And how is AJ’s personality? How does your dynamics work with Bruno?
“It is easy to expect a stereotyped and exaggerated hero, but AJ is more of a thinker before speaking. And if that is your protagonist, by table, he also dictates how the antagonist should be. The opposing force to AJ could never be a cartoon villain, like a Dick Swindler laughing by the side of the road making Machiavellian plans. The dynamics here are more like the Beatles against Rolling Stones, about how Bruno can motivate AJ to become a better driver and person.
In this context, rivalry is not so much a problem, it is more of a teacher and motivator. Philosophically, it may seem that I’m exaggerating a little, but that’s really what attracted me in the narrative (laughs). So I love that this game is coming out now: usually racing games are about overcoming obstacles in your path, and I think we need that today more than ever. Here’s the story we want to tell you. What are you going to do with it? How are you going to show what you’ve learned? How will the world around you change? ”
Nolan, more and more actors and voice actors become public figures recognized by the general public of video games. Do you think that someone who is a layman in the genre and series can be attracted to the game just by seeing you in it?
“It’s very kind of you to say that, but I don’t think… I mean, I like to think that someone can even see my name in a game and assume that it’s something of a quality, because I wouldn’t play a game just for doing it, since today I happily can say ‘I’m not interested in this project’. I know that there is a notoriety, so when I like a game, I try to help sell it, because I only take projects that I really like.
And with actors and voice actors gaining more and more fame, it’s cool to be part of the marketing strategy. Will someone buy the game just because I’m in it? I don’t know, I don’t think someone who doesn’t like running would buy it, but … maybe they will? And it would be very interesting to see what they would find! Maybe someone will buy this game and start to like the genre, since it is very different from what has been done until today. I want to see what the reception will be like. ”
And how do you feel about the responsibility of being one of the main pieces of the game’s campaign?
“I feel responsible for any project that I put my name on! Because it’s not about me, it’s about the players, it’s about giving the best experience. So I try to help by giving my best possible performance, which is the part that fits me. Video games are about the player, and Codemasters has managed to get its hard-earned money back with this new way of telling a story.
So yes, it is nice to be recognized as an important part of the game, but my responsibility is to do my best, whether I am in a motion capture suit, in front of the cameras or the microphone. I try to do the best I can ever! ”
Dirt 5 will be released on November 6, 2020 for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, on November 10 on Xbox Series X / S, and November 12 for PlayStation 5. Until then, you can check out our first impressions here. What are your expectations for the game? Comment below!