Game: Death end re;Quest™ 2
Platform: PlayStation®4 and Steam®
August 25, 2020 (NA)
August 28, 2020 (EU)
August 18, 2020
ESRB: M for Mature
First things first: If you haven’t finished Death end re;Quest 2, please STOP READING NOW! This post contains spoilers, so proceed at your own risk.
Death end re;Quest 2 is a game that deals not only with horrific manifestations of childhood trauma, but also with how friendship can ease the burden of hopelessness. While Kei Nanameda’s haunting art style and Makoto Kedouin's twisted writing set the tone for the game's deeply emotional subject manner, the voice actors behind each character play a special role in bringing their dark struggles to life, culminating in a moving story that illuminates the power of the human spirit.
So how do we breathe life into the characters of Le Choara? For each title we publish, the English recording studio will select voice actors that best match a character’s description and their Japanese voice lines. Once the actors are confirmed, they record in two types of sessions. First, the main scenario, and then battle/dungeon callouts. Below we’ll look at some scenes from the game and break down how they were recorded in the studio.
In this clip, Rottie and Mai discover Arata’s old laptop. The ever-eager Rottie tries her best to impress Mai by guessing what it is, but it’s clear from her situation that she would have no idea what this technology is.
At the studio, Deneen Melody, who plays Rottie, initially voices the line by leaning into the character’s bubbly confidence, but we can see that confidence stripped away with each take. It becomes a balancing act between Rottie’s optimism and desire to impress Mai, and the uncertainty of wanting to know what this object is.
Sometimes conveying the proper emotion of a scene takes a much subtler shift.
A pivotal moment in the game for Chitsuba and Victorie, where Chitsuba finally confesses her love to Victorie. In the character notes that were given to the studio, she’s described as:
One of the girls
at the dorm. A very quiet and withdrawn girl, she is in love with her
best friend Victorie, as she was the only one to pay her mind. Is prone
to get worried and jealous if Victorie shows interest in others.
Eventually her jealousy causes her to murder Victorie and become a Shadow Matter.
For Chitsuba, the moment is a breaking dam of pent-up emotion. But what if Victorie, whom she sees as her only friend, rejects her? By expressing her true feelings, she risks driving away the only person she really cares for.
To convey the gravity of the moment for Chitsuba, Cherami Leigh makes two attempts at the line “Oh no. I've finally confessed...that I love you, Victorie."
The second take comes across more timid and fearful of what Victorie's response might be. The take that ends up in the game has some of that hesitation but is focused on the strength of the confession itself. Both takes suit the character, but the first take shows how powerful Chitsuba's love for Victorie really is, which is really the force that propels Chitsuba's ill-fated arc.
Getting the right character tone is important to get players invested in the storyline, but there's lots of dialogue outside the story that keeps players invested in the world itself.
In the game, the characters can enter super-powered states during battle, causing a slight shift in their personalities. Below, you'll see a compilation of Rottie in her Glitch Form, and how the actor, director (Chris Faiella), and editor (Rain Gregorio), discuss what the Glitch Mode is in order to keep Rottie's personality intact.
It's also fun to see Deneen perform so many yelling voice lines in a row. Hopefully she had some tea after all that shouting.
Character personalities are showcased even at the end of battle, as you may have noticed in the victory screen interactions.
Here are a couple of victory screen interactions between Mai and Rottie. You could say these are a perfect distillation of their relationships.
In the studio clip, you can see Ryan Bartley (Mai Toyama's voice actor) and Deneen both performing their roles separately, while also getting feedback on some of the context of the other character's lines by our translator, Noba Nakayama. Often, they only have the script text to go off of, so context is important for the actors to give the right readings.
Finally, as an added bonus, you can see how the Teaser Trailer was made!
Here, you can see how Ryan takes a couple of directions and truly inhabits the role of Mai. You also get to hear what she got tied up dealing with, though if you've played the game, you know what's been keeping her back.
This was the very first English trailer for the game. As such, it really set the tone for what to expect from the game and was and meant to convey Mai's isolation and the foreboding of Le Choara. Not an easy feat to achieve with audio and a still image, but Ryan did an excellent job.
There you have it! We hope you enjoyed these behind the scenes clips to see how these amazing voice actors brought the characters of Death end re;Quest 2 to life. Collaborating with the director and our own localization staff, they were able to help set the tone for the entire game - from story lines to battle lines, and even trailers.
If you've read through all these spoilers and somehow still don't have the game, you can get it from IFI's Online Store!
Thanks for reading!