Many voice actors have hands-on expertise with the video games they work on in a roundabout way. Genshin Impression’s Zach Aguilar often hosts streams associated to the sport with fellow voice actors. Brianna White, who voices Aerith in Closing Fantasy VII Remake, has streamed informal walkthroughs of herself enjoying the sport. Nevertheless, in relation to preventing video games, it’s harder to search out actors who can actually play, not to mention compete in an precise event.
Alex Gross is among the few.
Gross voices Axl Low, British time traveler and resident Responsible Gear zoner. He talked about his expertise as a aggressive Responsible Gear participant at Anime NYC, which is why I reached out to him to speak extra about how his data of the sport affected the most recent iteration of Axl in Responsible Gear Try. Apart from Axl, Gross has additionally voiced Eric from Boyfriend Dungeon, Toru Iwashimizu from Free!, and extra voices in fashionable video games like Persona 5: Strikers. He’s additionally a full-time streamer and Twitch associate who goes by Octopimp.
Gross gave me some perception into his historical past with the preventing recreation group and the way he discovered his voice for Axl. He additionally supplied some useful ideas for newcomers trying to get into aggressive preventing video games like Responsible Gear Try.
What did you’re taking from previous video games and what impressed your tackle Axl?
I’ve been enjoying Responsible Gear since Sharp Reload, so I’ve been enjoying for an extended, very long time. The primary recreation the place any Responsible Gear characters had English voices was Responsible Gear 2: Overture, however Axl wasn’t in that recreation. The primary recreation the place he had an English voice was Xrd Signal, and he was performed by Liam O’Brien.
So I’d heard him doing the English accent. However, after I acquired the audition, I didn’t wish to copy him. I didn’t wish to simply do an impression of him, proper? As a result of within the specs, it mentioned “we’re moving into a unique course,” which I believe form of meant “we’re simply recasting simply because we wish to strive one thing totally different.” So I used to be identical to, “Properly, I’m simply gonna do my finest English accent.”
Keiichi Nanba, who performs him in Japanese, goes a little bit larger. His voice is up a little bit bit. So I simply placed on the accent, made it a little bit larger, and you bought Axl proper there.
What sort of really feel had been you going for? Like, form of lighthearted or goofy?
Axl is a really goofy character. They describe him within the specs as “an optimist on a regular basis, except he’s dropping,” which was actually humorous. That’s the type of the function that I get booked for essentially the most — the lighthearted, roguish goofball, and in order that’s how I attempted to play him. There are characters in that recreation which are extraordinarily severe, and there are characters which are performed for comedy, and he’s undoubtedly one of many extra comedic characters.
How did Responsible Gear turn into your favourite sequence?
I really like that the character design is so off the wall and the story is wild. I really initially performed extra BlazBlue than I did Responsible Gear as a result of, on the time, BlazBlue was extra accessible on-line than Responsible Gear was, and in order that was actually simply the place extra folks had been enjoying. However, I just like the music in Responsible Gear barely extra. It has that more durable edge to it, and every little thing’s all rock and roll-inspired, which is cool. I’m all about that.
It’s extra comedic. I believe there’s much more comedy in it than there may be in BlazBlue. So, I simply vibe with the entire aesthetic and the entire really feel of Responsible Gear, and I at all times have. I actually, I actually find it irresistible.
So how did it go once you acquired the audition? Did any person inform you, “Hey, we’re auditioning for Responsible Gear, and we expect you’d do a great job at it?”
It was completely simply by likelihood. Properly, form of by likelihood. I knew that the studio PCB had performed the earlier dubs. They did Signal they usually did Overture. I’d labored with them earlier than on Persona 5: Strikers and I’d taken their class.
So I reached out to one of many casting administrators, Val, who’s simply the perfect, and I used to be like, “Hey, I don’t know in case you guys are doing the dub for this, however in case you are, I’d like to audition.” I reached out as a result of, one, we had a working skilled relationship. Two, I’d taken their class, in order that they knew who I used to be. And, you already know, what’s the worst they’re gonna say? “Ah, sorry, we’re not doing it right here.” What’s the worst that might occur? They’ll say no, proper? Or they’ll say “It’s already forged, sorry. “
She was like, “Oh my gosh, sure. Right here, learn for these two elements. Learn for Axl and for Completely happy Chaos.” And so I mentioned, okay, yeah, positive. So I auditioned for each these elements. Two days later, they emailed me and had been like, you booked Axl. In order that was loopy. That was insane.
How did your recreation data come in useful within the studio?
I knew as quickly as I noticed sure traces that I used to be studying that they didn’t have to elucidate the context of them in any respect. Principally, the one ones they needed to clarify had been for the story after we had been recording the story mode. I needed to say a line that was simply written as “Yahoo,” however I knew what that was as a result of I’d heard [Axl] say it 1,000,000 instances in Japanese.
I used to be like, “Oh, is that this 6H?” They usually’re like, “how are you aware that?” (laughs) Initially, Axl was speculated to say “Sickle Strike,” however I requested them, as a result of Arc System was on the cellphone, “Can I say Rensengeki as an alternative?” As a result of that’s what it’s. That’s the title of the transfer in Japanese. They usually’re like, “Yeah, positive report it.” So there’s a recording of me on the market someplace saying [Sickle Strike], however they simply saved me saying Rensengeki within the recreation recordsdata.
“It’s rock and roll the preventing recreation, child. Let’s go!”
So, after I was recording, I knew not solely concerning the character’s character but in addition concerning the mechanics of the sport, the place the traces had been in relation, and the context of the sport itself. I knew what all of the animations regarded like. I’ve seen all of them, so I knew what they had been and I knew them by title. It’s not like they needed to be like, “This can be a factor the place he runs up and does a clothesline.” They might simply say, “That is Winter Mantis.”
Had been you at all times a preventing recreation individual?
I’ve performed preventing video games since I used to be very, little or no. My cousin had me play the Ranma 1/2 fighting game for the SNES. I bear in mind enjoying a whole lot of that at his home. And, you already know, Avenue Fighter II for the SNES, Mortal Kombat, all that stuff. So I’ve at all times been concerned about them, however I didn’t actually begin taking them significantly till Avenue Fighter IV. Avenue Fighter IV was the primary time I used to be actually like, oh, I wish to learn to play these video games. That’s after I began actually practising, going to tournaments, enjoying on-line quite a bit, and competing with different folks.
What was it about Avenue Fighter IV that was particular?
An in depth good friend of mine introduced it over, and he simply wiped the ground with me. I didn’t even know what was occurring. It lit a fireplace underneath my ass, so to talk, and I used to be like, I wish to really learn to play-play, not simply mash buttons.
It was actually motivating to simply attempt to be higher. You get to these steps and also you see your progress, and it actually does make you be ok with studying this ability. So it was simply desirous to compete and beat my good friend, who actually made me wish to strive extra.
You additionally participated in Evo and Arc Revo earlier than, proper?
Yeah. I certified for ArcRevo the World Tour in 2019.
How did your expertise go together with these competitions?
This previous 12 months at EVO was the perfect I’ve ever performed. I believe I acquired forty eighth or one thing like that. Beforehand, in 2017, I made it at Swimming pools, however instantly acquired bopped out of Swimming pools. However that was for Rev. I did fairly effectively and I misplaced to 2 actually good gamers, so I don’t really feel too dangerous about it. Within the Winners Closing of my pool, I needed to battle Lord Knight, who made Prime 8 at EVO, and he’s only a actually good participant basically. So I didn’t really feel dangerous about dropping to him, and it was very shut.
“That is good recommendation for any preventing recreation, however don’t focus a lot on studying combos instantly.”
I’ve made Prime 8 in some regionals. I acquired like third at SCR Saga in 2018. I made Prime 8 at NCR again in 2017. I play a whole lot of tournaments. I imply, I’ve made Prime 8 fairly constantly at Wednesday Night time Fights. It’s been a minute simply because I’m enjoying different stuff, and I’m actually busy proper now, so my gameplay isn’t fairly as sharp because it was when the sport was newer. However yeah, I really like competing. I really like being in tournaments.
What sort of recommendation would you give to individuals who wish to compete in Responsible Gear?
Study motion and spacing first — don’t study combos. That is good recommendation for any preventing recreation, however don’t focus a lot on studying combos instantly. That’s such an enormous pitfall that lots of people coming into preventing video games fall into. They instantly begin studying combos, however then don’t study the sensible functions of the place their normals are going to hit so you can begin these combos. So after they encounter these conditions, they’re not doing the combos that they discovered as a result of they’re simply swinging randomly, or they don’t know spacing or impartial very effectively.
So it’s actually essential to study: How does your character transfer? What’s what are their leaping normals? What’s the spacing on these leaping normals? Some characters have totally different stroll and run speeds, in order that form of factor is simply excellent to know first. Then, as soon as you work that out, study the system mechanics, study what you are able to do with RCs, and Drift RCs, and all that form of stuff. It’ll all begin coming from there, after which you can begin studying combos.
While you had been studying your self, had been you the form of one who simply saved enjoying till you bought it proper, or did you search for explicit tutorials or one thing?
I did it absolutely the mistaken means and simply began enjoying, after which picked up a bunch of dangerous habits, after which had to enter the lab and do away with these habits. I principally labbed a little bit bit, after which went on-line and began enjoying randos, after which began profitable and was like, “I’m good,” then performed somebody who’s really good and acquired my ass beat. And I used to be like, “Oops, by no means thoughts, I’m dangerous.” (laughs) Then I had to enter the lab and unlearn all of the dumb stuff that I used to be doing.
Don’t be like me, children. Don’t be like me.
So principally, lab? (laughs)
Sure, sure. Study a whole lot of issues in a managed atmosphere first, after which play folks at your ability degree and progressively enhance from there. Play folks higher than you, too! Enjoying folks worse than you doesn’t get you something. However, in case you play folks higher than you, you’re gonna enhance actually quick.
I get that. If it’s not any person you possibly can study from, then it’s not gonna actually do you a lot.
Plus, they’re gonna fall for issues that good gamers gained’t. They’ll fall for very simple setups and that doesn’t actually trigger you to suppose very exhausting. A few of the most fun matches I discovered essentially the most from are those that had been actually shut. Those that had been identical to, I gained by a pixel. I had like one hit left, and I gained. It actually compelled me to play the perfect that I may, or to the perfect of my capacity, quite than simply completely wiping the ground with any person. It appears to be like cool, however it doesn’t actually make me really feel higher or train me quite a bit as a participant.
In case you needed to get folks into Responsible Gear, how would you promote it to them?
It’s rock and roll the preventing recreation, child. Let’s go!
In case you’re concerned about following Alex, you’ll find him on Twitter, Twitch, or YouTube. Perhaps even watch him at Responsible Gear-centered event Frost Faustings, which takes place by way of January 28 to 30, or soar right into a group event.
Responsible Gear Try is offered for PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5. It additionally gained Preventing Recreation of the 12 months on the 2021 The Recreation Awards, which rocks.
This interview has been edited for size and readability.