Character Voiceover

Early in the development of Super Hero Squad Online, Creative Director Jay Minn suggested that we add some voices to the game to give the characters more personality. This was exciting to me personally, as the opportunity to write officially sanctioned dialogue for Marvel heroes and villains doesn't come along very often.

When we pitched the idea to Marvel, they raised the stakes: the characters of Super Hero Squad already had some pretty well-established voices on their eponymous TV show, so Marvel requested that if we were going to have voiceover in our game, it should come from the same actors.

However, The Amazing Society is not the largest studio in the industry, and we don't have unlimited money -- we couldn't make every character have a unique voice.

My solution was to take the major characters of the show and make sure we got their actors into the studio. This ended up being eleven people: Alimi Ballard (Falcon), Antony Del Rio (Reptil), Charlie Adler (Dr. Doom), Dave Boat (Thor), Grey Delisle (Ms. Marvel), Mikey Kelley (Silver Surfer), Steve Blum (Wolverine), Tara Strong (Scarlet Witch), Tom Kenny (Iron Man), and Travis Willingham (Hulk). Lena Headey (Black Widow) was on the original list, but she was filming the second season of Game of Thrones and was therefore unavailable.

To make a long story short, we got the voices for over 100 characters out of 13 actors -- preserving unique voices for the characters that needed them, and using more general voices (with unique dialogue) for the others. Once those 100 went live (all at once!), we were free to have unique voices for all the characters to come after.

Here are some samples. Making these videos takes longer than I'd like, so I don't have one for each character. But if you'd like to see and hear more, let me know. It's some pretty great stuff.

They say not to start the show with a showstopper, but Deadpool has the most lines in the game by a wide margin.

There's no "official" Deadpool voice actor like Steve Blum's Wolverine. The closest thing is the amazing Nolan North, who we didn't have the budget for. So we figured we'd give Tom Kenny the chance while he was in the studio for Iron Man, Captain America, and MODOK.

Tom and I created a voice for Deadpool on the spot there in Burbank. After a few iterations, we ended up with a sarcastic, fourth wall-breaking Jack Nicholson.

It was one of the cooler things I've been involved with in my career.

Laura Bailey might not be as big of a VO superstar as some of her colleagues like Tara Strong or Jennifer Hale. But she will be. You may know her as Chun-Li, Serah, or Catherine, but in Super Hero Squad Online, she's Mystique, Psylocke, and Black Widow.

Her British accent for Psylocke was dead-on, but her Russian accent as Black Widow was something else entirely. By the time she was done with her three voices in half the time we'd scheduled, I was left wishing I'd written a hundred more lines for her. Oh well - maybe next time.