Interviews from Steve Malpass, Estelle Ellis, and John Silke in Star Fox Discussion!
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StarFox Elite was lucky enough to score an interview with one of the many voice actors for Fox McCloud, Steve Malpass. Steve has done the voice acting for Fox McCloud in Starfox Adventures and a short bit in Super Smash Bros. Melee. We had gathered questions from the general fan base and even extended our doors to include questions from other fansites such as Starfox-Online, the Krystal Lovers Association, and even to members of NintendoLand. We asked, and we got some phenomenal responses! And so we begin!Q: How did you get into game design and voice acting?A friend and I had regular office jobs in Cardiff, which is where I'm from, and we spent far too much of our spare time playing games. He was writing a tips page for a UK magazine called Total which was around at the time and from there he applied to Rare for a testing job, which he got and I was very jealous about. Then a couple of years later he called me up out of the blue to tell me there were more testing posts going and that the testing route was a good way of getting into design. So I applied, somehow got the job and moved up from Cardiff. This was 1997. I helped test Diddy Kong Racing and Banjo-Kazooie and got picked by the Banjo team to be a designer on Banjo-Tooie, which was a great learning experience. The voice thing came about by chance, really. Back then, Rare games were voiced by team members, not by professional actors as they are now. It's a lot less hassle (and less expensive) having voice 'actors' on call and in the same building! I got invited to try voicing the main character, Sabre, for an adventure game called Dinosaur Planet and it seemed to fit the character so I got the gig.Q: Did you know what Starfox was prior to working on the title?The game was originally called Dinosaur Planet when I started voicing it. It wasn't until a few years later that it became Starfox Adventures. Sabre became Fox and luckily the voice seemed to fit Fox too, which was nice! I'd being doing the voice for Sabre since the project started and I was friends with the designers so I always had a good idea of what the game was about.Q: Were there moments that posed as a real challenge when voicing Fox?The hardest bits for me were doing yells and hit noises, that sort of stuff, because my voice breaks up quite easily when pushed. Also some of the lines sound a bit wooden when I hear them now and I can't really blame the script! Sorry about that. I'd do a much better job if I did it now, honest!Q: You did the voice for Fox in both Starfox Adventures and Super Smash Bros. Melee. In Melee Fox had a heavy English accent and sounded quite different as opposed to how he sounded in Adventures. Is there any specific reason for this?I actually only did the cutscene voice of Fox in Super Smash Bros: Melee. The in-game voice is some Japanese chap, I think. Maybe that's what you're referring to? The bits I did were done in the same way as I'd always done it anyway.Q: How good of a feeling is it knowing you were one of many VA's to voice Fox McCloud? Is it something you are quite proud of?It's an amazing feeling and of course I'm extremely proud to be part of it, especially as it only came about by chance. It's quite amusing when it comes up in conversation with people who are familiar with the franchise because they invariably don't believe me until they persuade me to do the voice. A colleague got me to record his voicemail message and ringtone as Fox recently. It's all fun, really.Asked by members of Starfox-Online-Q: Why did you take the particular approach to his voice that you did?There was no specific approach as such. It's just me doing it in the most comfortable way possible but with an American accent. It seemed pretty effortless at the time. Actually trying to act was tougher.Q: Was it difficult trying to maintain an American accent?Not really. I used to like putting on accents when I was a kid so it felt pretty natural to pretend to be American when 'in character' (that sounds pretentious!) There are a few bits and pieces where I think the accent slips which give it away. Again, sorry about that!Q: In your own opinion, what do you think of the Starfox series?I've always loved the Starfox games. I remember paying 75 GBP for a US import of Starfox on the SNES which is a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a game even now, let alone in 1993! Starfox 64 is my personal favourite of the series so I'm very looking forward to that being re-released on the 3DS soon.Q: Do you have a favorite Starfox character? If you do, would you maybe explain why he/she is your favorite?Other than Fox, you mean? Probably Falco. Well he is pretty cool, isn't he? He could have his own game. While I'm on the subject, Falco was voiced by a friend of mine, Ben Cullum, who was a musician at Rare at the time. Ben is the older brother of famous jazz musician, Jamie Cullum. True story!Q: Was there much unused dialogue that they had you record?Oh yeah, loads. There were multiple takes for each line of dialog. Then most stuff was re-recorded when it changed from Dinosaur Planet to Starfox because names changed. Plus a lot was re-done to account for story changes. There's an awful lot of unused Fox sitting on some disk drive somewhere...Asked by the Krystal Lover's Association-Q: Can you explain the atmosphere at Rare when word came from Nintendo to change Dinosaur Planet to Star Fox Adventures, and move from the N64 to the Gamecube?From what I remember the reaction at Rare was bittersweet. On one hand, Starfox is a major, much-loved franchise, so the game was likely to fare better commercially with the Starfox name attached than as an original IP, so there was excitement in that respect. On the other hand it meant the release date had to be pushed back to incorporate the brand and convert the game from N64 to Gamecube. A lot of people had been working on the project since 1998 at that point!Q: Do you think that Dinosaur Planet should have stayed the way it is, or are you happy with the way Star Fox Adventures turned out?Again, I think adding the Starfox name was great for the game. The game pretty much still is Dinosaur Planet under the bonnet but skinned to accommodate the Starfox universe and with Arwing sections thrown in. I was only the voice of Fox on it, though. I was a designer on other teams, so I never had any input on the game itself.Asked by members of NintendoLand-Q: If you could go back and voice Fox again, or if the opportunity ever arose, would you?Oh yeah, absolutely, although I can't imagine that the chance might come again. I had a brilliant time doing it over several years. It was always exciting to get the call from the studio to go up to do Fox. I must have spent days in that recording room in total. If Nintendo want me to do it again, they only have to ask!Q: If you had a chance to voice any other character in the Star Fox series, which one would you voice, if any?I could probably have a bash at Peppy or Slippy, I guess. That would require putting on more of a phoney voice though, which is also fun but very challenging. I did voices for a few other Rare games, including Perfect Dark, which came out on the N64. I was the voice of Elvis the alien, which was basically me doing a Yoda impression that was then pitched up. That was a challenge although not as challenging as doing 'gibberish' voices for the Banjo games, because I never got to actually say real words.Last question by StarFox Elite,Q: You've made your mark in the Starfox series and will forever be a part of it, is there anything you would like to say to the fans?I'd just like to say how proud I am at forever being a small part of the Starfox universe and always will be. I'm also genuinely surprised and humbled at how many Starfox and Rare fans take the time to contact me through Facebook, Twitter, email, etc. just to say "hi" and "thanks", etc. I'm not worthy! And there you have it! We give special thanks to Steve Malpass for taking the time to do this interview and answering all of our questions! He is a tremendous voice actor and will be forever part of the Starfox series. If you happen to see Steve on Twitter or Facebook, drop him a friendly message thanking him for all that he has done for the series we all know and love!
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