The inclusion of voice acting in The Legend of Zelda series has been a point of contention amongst fans for years now; in the past, some players have criticised Nintendo for favouring the series’ traditional grunts and mumbles over fully realised voice acting, while others would suggest that giving the main characters spoken dialogue would take away some of the series’ charm.
But with 2017’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the series finally introduced voice acting on a scale that had never been seen before. While a large chunk of the game retained the series’ usual on-screen text dialogue, cinematic cutscenes finally gave characters like Zelda a true voice, with a variety of talented actors and actresses taking on roles across a number of different languages.
Nintendo’s decision was always going to spark mixed responses from fans who had grown up with these previously silent characters, and while the voice acting in Breath of the Wild has gone down extremely well on the whole, it’s impossible to please everybody and some have taken the opportunity to let their feelings be heard.
In an interview with Zelda Dungeon, Zelda’s English-language voice actress Patricia Summersett has spoken about what it’s like dealing with the more negative reactions to her work, talking about the ‘more vocal’ negative people online and how she feels this role in particular has required her to build a thicker skin than ever before:
“That was tougher to deal with at first, because I was very sensitive to it, and just wanted everybody to be as happy as possible for such a big game [Breath of the Wild]. You really have to keep that kind of stuff in perspective, or one does…
“You really got to be positive about that stuff. I’d say the negative people tend to be more vocal online, just by default – that’s the nature of the algorithms of the net, and it does take some getting used to. One has to build a thick skin, I think, with something like this. I’d definitely say my skin has gotten a lot thicker over the last years, since taking on this particular role, just because it’s required more thick skin than some of the other kinds of failures or critiques I’ve had in the past.
As fans of gaming ourselves, we can all likely relate to these thoughts – it’s a fantastic hobby that can build wonderful relationships, but some online spaces do tend to suffer from people spreading harmful levels of negativity. It’s sad to hear that this job has seemingly caused more issues for her than any before it, but Summersett also reveals that there’s a silver lining in it all – being able to channel these feelings when reprising her role:
“There’s something in that to channel as well, because that’s how Zelda feels, and she’s doing great, but she feels that way eternally, and that’s her plate. It’s very relatable in that way, I think. Anybody who’s taking risks and trying to work very hard at anything, you come across that. I do love that about her character in general, the fact that they dig into that part of the storyline for her: what it means for her to feel like a failure, but keep pushing forward and striving for something bigger, and for the benefit of all. One can use that as inspiration as one uses heroes as inspiration.”
Have you enjoyed the voice acting present in Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity? Do you hope that the series will carry on down this path going forward, or did you prefer things how they used to be? Let us know in the comments.