A few days ago, we told you we'd be talking to actress Wendy Braun , who has lent her voice to the popular and acclaimed Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises.

Her work goes well beyond Gianna Parasini in ME; she has also been involved with Rainn Wilson's hit web series, "The Flipside" and has over 50 film and TV credits, including guest starring roles on "Bones," "Criminal Minds," "The Mentalist," and others. All told, she has racked up over 1,000 total voiceover credits and you know, when someone really loves their job, it shows.

Here is our interview, in which Wendy answers our questions along with a few submitted reader queries. We always involve ya.

PSXE: How did you get into voice acting for games? Was the Mass Effect gig your first?

< b < wendy: Wendy: "I think Dragon Age was the first one. I had been doing acting for years; TV and film and commercials, just doing all sorts of voiceover stuff. You have auditions for all kinds of roles and I had an audition for Dragon Age. One job begets another job, and this was great because you get to go to a place you couldn’t go to in the physical world. So Dragon Age and Dragon II were lots of fun."</b<wendy:<>

PSXE: What kind of background information do you get on the game before such voice over parts? And do you have anything visual to help guide you?

Wendy: "They’re just so amazing, they give you so much. They’ve drawn such a rich character so you get a great description of what’s happening and what’s going on. They give you an idea of the scene, and it’s really fun because you get to play the scene in different ways. In TV or film, you can’t really do that but in the game world, you can take the scene in different directions. You get a sense of it at first, and then you bring in your take as well. It’s sort of a co-collaboration. And I’m always amazed to see the finished project. It’s just so wild to see what they do and how they put it all together."

[For the visual aid part of the question]

"It’s not like you get to watch something and record the voice to an animation; there is no live animation. You’re alone in a booth so you have to create all the fundamentals you’d normally get on a film set. It’s kind of a solo activity. But it’s still a full-body experience; it isn’t just your voice, you really have to physically go there as an actor."

Tangent- As our interviews are more discussion-based than direct-fire Q&A, this got us talking about motion capture, and I asked Wendy what she thought about doing mo-cap for games.

Wendy: "I think part of the reason they’re starting to do that [motion capture] is because they’ve realized the voice actor can do so much with their physicality. If you were to film me recording Gianna for Mass Effect you’d see that she’s doing just about everything I would do. I’m really feeling myself in the moment and if I’m not able to do that, the audience knows I’m not. So yes, it would be more fun to do that kind of thing; physically shooting it."

PSXE: Do you see more of your peers – TV and movie actors/actresses – opting to work more with the gaming industry as it becomes more mainstream?

Wendy: "I’d say definitely. I think nowadays you have to do it all as an actor; it’s all acting, it’s not like there’s a hierarchy. It’s all the same work. It all requires the same intense focus and commitment and it’s really no easier than doing a film. So I see that a lot of my peers are absolutely happy to fill all their plates. The roles are equally exciting and challenging and fulfilling. I also think that the finished product is unlike seeing yourself on film."

PSXE: If you could pick any game series to do a voice for, which would it be?

Wendy: "Well, I’m not much of a gamer but doing something like Uncharted on a huge set where you get to be in it would be great, and the next logical step. Sometimes I feel like I’m a master at Ms. Pac-Man—"

I had to remind her at this point that retro is just so IN these days, and anybody who even mentions the name Pac-Man is cooler than they think they are.

"—and I feel like that more when I’m running around after my two kids. However, I can say that I was an arcade kid. At the time, when I was 13, my life goal was to have my very own tabletop Ms. Pac-Man game. Like, that’s all I wanted. ‘laughs’ So I’m not much of a gamer now, but my husband is a Mass Effect fan and a gamer, though, so I’ve witnessed the joy and entertainment video games can bring."

PSXE: Can you see yourself doing more voices in games? And if so, why?

Wendy: "Absolutely, yes. I think it’s just because as an actor, you get to go to these amazing places in the gaming world. So physically, mentally, emotionally, you get to play and stretch as an actor, and play all different kinds of characters. The one thing I always do; I literally step into the shoes of the character. So when I was playing Gianna, I wore these three-inch black boots, because it took me to a certain place; it let me click in and really feel the physicality. You can’t just phone in your voice; you can’t do that role in flip-flops. Literally step into the character’s shoes and you will fit the character more literally and more organically than you would otherwise.

It has just been a wild ride and a lot of fun."

End Interview

It's always enjoyable to speak to someone who not only takes their work seriously, but also loves every bit of it. It's more than a little likely that you'll hear Wendy's voice a great deal in the future, and that should include video games. If you'd like to learn more about Wendy and what she's up to, visit her official website . We'd like to thank Ms. Braun for her time, and we will reiterate a point we've made before:

As of now, voice acting is one of the the most important elements of the interactive entertainment experience. We require that talent for our experiences to be realistic and believable, and that's the usual goal, yes?

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WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
7 years ago

Great interview, she seems like a splendid woman as well. People who enjoy what they do are easy to pick out and very refreshing.

I wonder if the people who still think of gaming as illegitimate ever think about how it can enrich the lives of people such as she.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
7 years ago

I was listening to a lot of different commercial voice work that she has on her site & she really does add a nice range of emotion to them.

Plus, I find her attractive as an older woman, especially with being a redhead too.

Shame she's married, otherwise she could've hopped on the back of my Harley anytime, LOL.


Last edited by BikerSaint on 12/1/2012 12:00:38 AM

Killa Tequilla
Killa Tequilla
7 years ago

What is the story behind your avatar?

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
7 years ago

Killa,
Before all of the election fraud helped to blow the vote wide open, I had hoped that it would've soon been moving day for the O-bomination clan.

Now I'm just trying to find another replacement that suits my feelings on 4 more years of their extravagant freeloading in the White House.


Last edited by BikerSaint on 12/1/2012 7:26:27 AM

Beamboom
Beamboom
7 years ago

"Older woman"? She's not that old?

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
7 years ago

For shame, the only fraud found was by 'publicans and not all black men are freeloaders.

Underdog15
Underdog15
7 years ago

Plus, the entire world outside the bible belt breathed a sigh of relief. We can continue trucking on to positivity.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
7 years ago

World,
Sorry but I see that as nothing more than another liberal race-baiting insinuating comment.

And now that you've just said that in plain print for all the world to see, then to show myself, along with everyone else who ever reads PSXE, where & when have I ever say anything negative what-so-ever about any person's skin color ever, let alone his.

Race has never factored into any of the thing's I've biatched about O-bobblehead, and never will.

I had thought better of you than to stoop even that low a level.


Last edited by BikerSaint on 12/2/2012 3:14:05 AM

Beamboom
Beamboom
7 years ago

… The morale is; never discuss politics and religion. Just stay off those topics. It can't lead to any good.

Beamboom
Beamboom
7 years ago

Nice article, great read.

Underdog15
Underdog15
7 years ago

Where are the legions of women claiming Ben is a shallow ash? Oh wait… the only difference is she's not a playboy model… I guess that fact automatically makes this interview more legit than past ones…

/sarc

Beamboom
Beamboom
7 years ago

Well, those women doesn't really have much more to do with the gaming business than you and me, so it is eligible to ask why they are interviewed, and not just you (or me).

Here we got someone working in the business, who can give us some real insight. Surely that difference is pretty obvious? I found this interview to be substantially more interesting.


Last edited by Beamboom on 12/2/2012 1:25:19 AM

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
7 years ago

Beamboom: Surely you can understand that gaming is entertainment. Entertainment has personalities. Personalities get interviewed.

I will also put this out there one more time- ALL the recent interviews have come to me as opportunities. And ALL the Playboy/pornstar interviews (3 in total) also came to me. Those were not sought out.

I have also never turned down anyone for an interview, provided it fit our gaming structure.

Beamboom
Beamboom
7 years ago

Oh, I understand a lot of things, Ben.
But when Underdog claim that "the only difference is she's not a Playboy model", well then I have to point out how fundamentally wrong that is. In fact, in Brauns case her gender is completely irrelevant, while in the bunnies cases it was the whole point.

But I'd love to see more stuff like this! It would be incredibly interesting to read opinions of a coder or designer and their experience working with the ps3 platform, for example. Not a marketing/PR representative, but someone who's doing the actual work.

Have you tried to reach out to them? Cause they will never mail you and ask for an interview. However I don't see why you can't get a few words with some of them, if you ask. Just check out the credit rolls at the end of a game and start googling. 🙂


Last edited by Beamboom on 12/2/2012 2:09:06 AM

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
7 years ago

Oh, there's no doubt that industry professionals provide far more interesting reviews. And of course, I have spoken to such people like David Jaffe for Twisted Metal, Jenova Chen (Thatgamecompany) for Journey, Vigil Games' Jay Fitzloff for Darksiders II, mo-cap Kratos actor Joseph Gatt, psychologist Nikita Duncan on the state of gaming and the "Demise of Guys," composers Jason Graves and Kevin Riepl for their work in Resistance, etc, etc, etc.

You should go to Special Features and just do a Control-F search for "interview" to see everything we've done in the past.

And I sought most of them out. The personalities (Amanda Mackay, Pamela Horton, etc.) come to me. I'm just saying I don't turn anyone down if it fits our format. 🙂


Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 12/2/2012 11:09:58 AM

Douchebaguette
Douchebaguette
7 years ago

She's quite hot.

Also, she should play Guild Wars 2, honestly the best MMO I'ved played to date – and I don't like MMOs.