Finding the Voice of Astrid
When we started the concept work for what became our Blood Bond — Into the Shroud game, one of the big decisions we made was that Astrid, our main heroine, was going to be fully voiced.
This posed two major issues for us:
- We had a limited budget for our first game
- Because there was only one voiced character, we had to nail the right voice
As we began development of the game, the search for Astrid’s voice took forever. First, we looked at talent agencies and voice samples from professionals. They were either not right, or not in the budget.
Then we took a look at online services that pooled amateurs breaking into voice acting and looked at samples from there (turns out there were a lot of these) but none were really a good fit.
By this point, we were nearing Early Access release of the game and we had still not found the voice of the main character. We began to seriously discuss not having voice acting at all when suddenly — out of the blue — the voice we needed found us.
Having seen our activity on social media and marketing, Alma Spahr, a recent graduate from Sweden with drama studies as an extra credit — sent me an email. Alma was the right age and being Scandinavian as well, was the perfect accent and voice for the character of Astrid.
It’s been a fun, new experience that also opened my eyes for a part of voiceacting that is rarely talked about- Alma
As we started working with Alma, the more she recorded for us the more not only her voice but the personality of that voice and tone became the character of Astrid of Guillon.
Alma had the right tone for a young girl in her late teenage years, embarking with purpose and courage into adult life. In many ways, the fictional and dramatized passage the character of Astrid was doing was not far away from the real-life journey Alma was doing as she entered the workforce and embarked on independence and discovery.
I had had the opportunity to talk directly with Alma several times on Skype and through emails and a preliminary view of her personality as a young Scandinavian was starting to build in my mind. More and more that also seeped into the design of the character of Astrid in the game and while I was designing levels and dialogue I often found myself wondering “how would Alma respond in this situation?”
It was a good way for me to learn and grow as an actor, doing something that I hadn’t really done before — Alma
In the end by way of a happy fluke, our search for the voice of the lead character became an inspiration for not only the voice of Astrid but also the personality of Astrid in the game.