The Baconing Interview - Michael Dobson AKA The Voice of DeathSpank Speaks
Written Tuesday, August 23, 2011 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
DeathSpank, the 'Vanquisher of Evil' and 'Hero to the Downtrodden' just wouldn't be DeathSpank without the distinctive vocal talents of Michael Dobson, the man behind the ubiquitous hero of the first two DeathSpank games, set to make a triumphant return in The Baconing on the Xbox Live Arcade next week.
With Hothead Games let off the leash for the third game in the series, we thought it apt to get the viewpoint of Mr. Dobson himself to fond out more about DeathSpank and what makes the hero tick. And it turns out we found out more than we bargained for, including how Dobson likes his bacon, his take on thongs and much more besides.
Read on for the complete lowdown from Mr. DeathSpank himself. Boom baby!
What was it that drew you to the DeathSpank games?
The script, character designs and storyline was awesome! I have a very off the beaten path sense of humour...I grew up in London, England and Monty Python, The Goodies, Some Mother's Do ‘Ave ‘Em, The Dick Emery Show, Benny Hill, Steptoe & Son...On the Buses...they were all huge hit television comedy series in the U.K. at the time and there were many more, it was a great era for British Sitcoms and Comedy Shows...and it was this kind of dry offbeat humour that I grew up with....so it influenced me a great deal.
DeathSpank harked back to those days of comedy...it didn't take itself seriously and it wasn't bogged down with Politically Correct etiquette...So I admit openly..I pushed hard during the audition process to play the role of DeathSpank...these roles don't come around often. I really connected with DeathSpank and was passionate about playing him.
DeathSpank was pure fun and Hothead Games was all about allowing the performers to explore that playground and bring whatever you had to the party. That very rarely happens anywhere...so this was a real privilege and a full throttle blast to work on!
What is it that you admire most about DeathSpank himself as a character?
I love his very matter a fact view on life...nothing really phases him...good or bad..he makes the best of it...his forthright honesty...albeit tactless at times...but he says what he's thinking...you always know where you stand with DeathSpank even if you don't like it. He's fearless and believes with great conviction what his role is in life. He will do what he says he sets out to do...although not always to the letter...but the end result remains the same....well sort of. He's very honourable in his own unique way and his heart is in the right place...he's a very likeable guy!
Of DeathSpank's sidekicks, which one is your favourite?
It has to be the new sidekick for The Baconing, Bob from Marketing. A hammerhead shark in a business suit with lasers shooting from his eyes. I know he has DeathSpank’s back covered, so guess that’s why I like him!
What’s it like voicing DeathSpank?
He's a lot of fun..physically his voice is quite demanding...it's hard on the neck and jaw muscles after a good four hours of solid recording...although I often find myself laughing at his deadpan approach to situations. So I've got to say it's also a lot of fun!
Can you tell us a secret about The Baconing that no one else in the whole world knows?
Yes... my Mum is not in the game.
After The Baconing, what's next for DeathSpank? Will he take a rest for a while?
I hope not. This sort of intel is always under tight wraps. I'd love to be doing this again soon. There certainly seems to be an endless realm of possibilities with this character so as long as gamers continue to enjoy the adventures of DeathSpank ....very much like comic book fans enjoy the various sagas of their favourite comic book characters. Personally, I'd love to see this continue for many more years to come.
What impact – if any – do you think the departure of designer Ron Gilbert will have on The Baconing?
From the scripts I had to read for The Baconing, this new game hasn’t lost any of the charm or humour of the previous games. This game stands out to me as the game with the most bonkers plot with an incredible amount of polish, so I think the guys at Hothead have excelled this time around. Nothing seemed to be missing! I have to say this is by far the funniest DeathSpank adventure yet! It's great when the dialogue is cracking everyone up as you record...often we found ourselves taking a laugh break before we could resume recording....DeathSpank has really taken on a life of his own...it's so much fun as an actor to be able to step back and let the character react to each given situation....Hothead has done an incredible job at maintaining an organic approach to the creative in this game...which I think adds tremendously to its charm!
What do you think it is about the DeathSpank games that makes them so uniquely funny?
Humour is something you don't see in a lot of video games for starters...so that makes it unique from many other titles...but I think it's simplicity has a great deal of charm..this comic book style world....the music is awesome...it's fun and uplifting...I think the carefree game questing adds to the fun...the characters are all very different from one another and create a great ensemble cast that make for good fun...much like a well written sitcom. I think these elements combined with the adventures of the game design make for a really fun and entertaining experience, which is very unique.
Thongs seem to keep cropping up in DeathSpank. What is it that's so appealing about the thong as an undergarment?
Seriously!? Well...it's great as an undergarment or overgarment as is mandatory dress code at Hothead Games....it can also make for a very cool eye patch and makeshift slingshot...it's kind of like the Swiss Army Knife of the undergarment world!
In the Baconing, presumably bacon will play a pivotal role. Are you a fan of bacon, or do you prefer an alternative meat product?
OK.... My apologies to all vegetarian gamers... but yes... with baked potatoes... cheese burgers... breakfast... salads... scallops... Oh and Bacon Strip Band-Aids are pretty darn cool too!
What direction would you personally like to see DeathSpank heading in next?
South West....to Hawaii. I'd like to record all future sessions on the Island of Maui...it will be in my next contract.
What direction do you think DeathSpank would like to see DeathSpank heading in next?
Most likely a huge blockbuster action film with Angelina Jolie, a massive global merchandising campaign and a music contract with Jay Z and Beyonce...it's a natural progression...I'm getting used to the fact that I'll have to make some life changes and DeathSpank is going to bust it out like...Boom Baby!!!
Thank-you for your time!
The Baconing will be out on XBLA on August 31st for 1200 Microsoft Points.