MI6 chatted to Gideon Emery, who supplied the
voice of Number One (aka Blofeld) in EA's "Goldeneye:
Rogue Agent" videogame...
Gideon Emery Interview
How were you approached by Electronic Arts to provide the voices
of Blofeld in "Goldeneye Rogue Agent"? How excited were
you to be the voice of one the world's most famous villians?
26th July 2005
I auditioned at my voice agent. It was a thrill to even get the
opportunity to read for such a role. I loved the character when
I first saw him years ago, so to actually land the job was incredible.
When and where the voice-overs recorded?
Was the recording process any different to those of other
projects you've work on?
We recorded in Hollywood in July of 2004. The experience
was fun because everyone involved seemed to get a kick out
of doing the project.
Describe to us the process of recording a Blofeld sounding
voice for the game. How difficult did you find it to replicate
Blofeld had been in my "bag of tricks" since childhood.
So I was already familiar with him. I rehearsed with the
movie, until I had the stock phrases down - then "did"
Blofeld around the house, much to my own amusement and others'
irritation. Then it was off to the studio and hoping the
producers didn't think I sucked!
Above: Nintendo DS Cover Art
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What do you think makes the James Bond series so popular?
Do you feel that the Bond games are now becoming interactive movies
of their own?
The Bond franchise transcends age in a way, as it has generations
of fans. It's the ultimate boy's movie, as all guys want to be
as confident, skilled, suave and lucky as James Bond. As for me,
I've always looked forward to the next Bond. Game designers have
learned they need to go beyond the scope of the movies to keep
gamers happy. Bringing old characters together in new plots is
appealing to that built-in audience. They are, as you say, interactive
movies. It's an even greater challenge than a regular movie which
only lasts around 2hrs. Games have to deliver new challenges and
entertainment for hours on end.
How do you feel modern technology benefits a voice actor when
trying to create believable voices?
Above: Number One aka Blofled.
Do you prefer voice recording for a
game or that of acting in a movie?
While I've voiced for years, I'm pretty new to gaming and
have to say it's a different challenge. Unlike on screen,
where you read opposite someone, most of your lines in-studio
are in a vaccuum. You're on your own, delivering comments
and replies to dialogue that's just words on a page. Both
mediums are enjoyable, though a voice session tends to be
more intense. I recently did a 5hr standing-up session with
one toilet break. It's tiring, especially if you have lots
of in-action lines, which have to be shouted. That said,
it's obviously a great gig. I come in for a session or two,
and leave. I could be slaving away behind a desk, or animating
the game for a year!
Were you provided with any art or in-game footage of
the scenes you were creating voice-overs for? Does having
the ability to see the role you're providing a voice for
improve the quality?
I didn't see anything beyond a sketch of the character,
but since it was based on something already in existence,
I didn't need it. For creating new character voices, the
more visual reference the better. Hopefully I'll come up
with something that feels organic to it's appearance. Usually
there's at least a description, which provides something
to go on.
Well, my favourite toy is my digital recorder. It's an Olympus and
it's brilliant. Often I'm called on to match a voice, so I'll record
samples which I can rehearse with beforehand. I'll also play it
en route to the studio and immediately before, to get me in the
zone. The Net is also a 24hr resource for reference information,
whether it's researching an actor's movies or finding soundbytes
Because there has been much low quality
voice work in the game industry, do you think the expected
standard of voice over in games today is lowered?
From the player forums I've visited, I'd say there's a demand
for quality voices that isn't always met. Games are an investment,
and if the standard drops significantly, sales will drop
and the creators will have to respond appropriately.
Do you feel it is an advantage to have on-screen acting
talent when providing voice-overs for scenes in a game?
I don't know if it helps. If an actor is reprising his/her
role from the movie, then it makes sense. But other than
that, I doubt if it translates into sales or a better product.
I doubt there's any name value in a gamer's decision whether
or not to buy a game. Also, very few actors have any voice-over
Above: Gideon Emery
Above: Gideon Emery in Diamond Cut Diamond
How do you train to become a voice actor?
I'm an only child, which meant I kept myself amused by imitating
voices from film and TV. I trained at Drama School, which
honed my character work, and then did a couple of thousand
commercial voice-overs before I did my first game. Of course,
if you have an affinity for accents and characters, you've
got the goods, too. All you need is the ability to work
a mic and to interpret copy.
Is it a profession that anyone can get started in?
With a good demo, sure. But, as with acting, it's not just
about talent. It comes down to your voice realising the
creative's vision. You don't know what that is and oftentimes,
neither do they. They just know it when they hear it. Add
to that a talent pool of thousands and you realise that
booking a gig is a massive achievement.
How were you involved in the Bond series?
I auditioned for the game "Goldeneye: Rogue Agent"
What was your first ever Bond experience?
Moonraker. I remember being blown away by the Jaws character.
What did you think of the last film, "Die Another
It was a bit "celeb heavy", but Brosnan's solid
and Rick Yune was a great baddy sidekick
What is your favourite Bond film?
A View to a Kill.
Who is your favourite Bond?
Which Bond girl should come back?
Someone exotic like Natalya Simonova
What is your favourite Bond moment from the series?
Zorin's (Christopher Walken) death scene in A View To A
Many thanks to Gideon Emery. Images copyright