Bermuda Developers Talk Art Style And Why They Chose Famous Voice-Actors

By Eugene . June 24, 2014 . 2:02pm

 

Indie visual novel Bermuda is an interesting project. The game’s story spans six chapters, involving disappearances inside the Bermuda Triangle, and it’s a little more interactive than your typical visual novel.

 

Bermuda traps the player inside an alien submarine with a cast of other characters, both human and alien. Each chapter features an open-ended stealth mission where you need to navigate your way past guards on the Mothership to a designated point. The game will also feature bonus conversations to help you get to know the other characters better. It’s fully-voiced and features voice-actors such as Kyle Hebert and Cristina Vee, among others.

 

Siliconera got in touch with developer Marcus Lam to talk about the game, the voice cast, and its presentation, which is inspired both by western and Japanese anime art.

 

We noted that the game seems to split the Earthlings and aliens apart by art style, with Earth people getting a more Westernized approach to character art and aliens taking on a more Japanese-style. Was this intentional, and what made you decide to approach it that way?

 

Marcus Lam, developer: This was a decision that artist Alastair Sew Hoy made, so let’s hear his thoughts.

 

Alastair Sew Hoy, artist: Yeah, I was conscious of the fact that while both aliens and earthlings inhabit the same planet, we still wanted them to look slightly different. The aliens with their bright teal hair and eyes, as well as the shape of their eyes distinctly anime-inspired compared to the earthlings who look a bit more toned down and realistic.

 

Provided that at the end of the day so as long as I get an appealing look for the character, both me and Marcus are happy! I’m a huge fan of the animator Yoh Yoshinari and his drawing style can shift dramatically between really realistic western and moe-style anime, and I guess as an artist myself I’ve absorbed a bit of that versatility that I can put back out in work like Bermuda.

 

bermuda_02

You noted in comments to our readers that you’re okay with detaching gameplay—the stealth sections—from the visual novel elements itself. Could you elaborate on why you chose to do this?

 

Lam: Rather than claiming I separated them intentionally, it was more so an outcome I chose to live with. The gamers’ voices are being heard, though. I grew up wanting to write novels, and while I have also been designing games my whole life, integrating the two is something I hope to explore in future projects.

 

There’s a lot of big name voice talent behind the team this time around. How did you convince them to join up, and why did you choose to go with well-known names for the voices?

 

Lam: I am, of course, a gamer as well, and I keep a log of actors who might be a fit for upcoming projects. After that, it is simply a process of sending out emails and communicating with those who respond. Once we partner up with one actor, more will often begin to show interest. Having completed projects in your resumé helps as well.

 

Experienced actors can be left alone to do an excellent job with little instruction. As I manage everything on my own, I welcome being able to leave talented folks do their thing. That said, it is sad how starting actors are being neglected. They can often be just as skilled as experienced folks. We as a community seem to value big names.

 

That is why emerging talents are sometimes left in the dark. Game development is a business, and I am playing this game alongside everyone else.

 

Give us your thoughts on the development process. Since you’ve worked on Unhack and now Bermuda, what are the things you’ve really learnt from them, as well as from Kickstarting your project?

 

Lam: I love basketball, and Kobe Bryant once said, “For every shot you see me take, there’s a thousand you don’t see.” The same is true for game development. It is simply perseverance, learn from your mistakes, then persevere again.

 

While I have this opportunity, I would like to make a confession about Unhack. There are many things I regret about that game. I had wanted to challenge existing tropes. Instead, I stumbled right into them. When gamers see titles with a bunch of girls, many will jump to negative assumptions. I offered no help with a protagonist who keeps rambling on about costume mods.

 

Though I gave Unhack’s story my best effort and was pleased with the outcome, the narrative was muddled by tropes. Thank you everyone who showed patience and managed to enjoy the tale. That is the nature of creation. We hate our previous project, soak in the remorse and move on. Student of the craft for life.

 

So ehem, yes, Unhack is an amazing and perfect game. Please check it out!

 

As of this interview, Bermuda has been fully funded via Kickstarter. The game is in development on PC, and we’ll keep an eye on it as it comes along.


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  • Postnjam

    Someone should make paul watch 60% of anime, we all know that when someone looks about 6/7 they are clearly 18.

  • Spirit Macardi

    So Kamina and Homura are in the voice cast? Awesome x3

    • InvertMouse

      Yes they are; please look forward to it =)!

  • Jettythesunfish

    “That said, it is sad how starting actors
    are being neglected. They can often be just as skilled as experienced
    folks. We as a community seem to value big names.”

    I agree wholeheartedly. When it comes to voice acting in anime and games, I prefer to hear new voices. Don’t get me wrong; I can appreciate talent, but there’s such a thing as “overused talent”. It makes me miss localizations of old that would hire voice actors that no one has heard of. And in spite of being new talent, they’d do a rather good job with their role. It gets exhausting watching an anime and going,”Oh, it’s [actor/actress] again” for the 200th time.

    All things considered, I do wish the developers luck.

    • Spirit Macardi

      At the same time though, whenever studios take a chance on new actors/actresses people tend to throw a fit. Look no further than the dub of Madoka Magica: It was perfectly fine, yet people acted like it was the worst thing to ever happen and put the blame directly on the new actresses who made their debut in it.

      • InvertMouse

        You are right on that. There are also groups who automatically think voice acting is horrible if it is not in Japanese. There is a lot of fussing about involved and in the end you just do your best =).

      • Shippoyasha

        I don’t think that’s quite true though. Pretty much all the Madoka cast started back in 1999-2002. So they already were veterans by Madoka.

        I think the big deal with Madoka is tha Emiri Katou was wasted on Kyubey. And Emiri is a long time magical girl voice actress who likely could have done an amazing job as Madoka or well, pretty much any of the magical girl role. Emiri still did great. But to this day, I still think it’s miscast.

      • SaiyanJedi_Trunks

        I fully agree. I loved the dub cast and performances for the Madoka Magica dub. I almost always prefer to hear the original language track but I feel there is way too much anger sometimes…especially when you have a choice of which to listen to and the fact that it takes some actors years to perfect their craft. – but one has to start off somewhere.

        I hear the same thing about the new Toradora dub. I think it sounds great…especially Cassandra Morris as Taiga, yet there are tons bashing it’s existence. The funny thing is, once again, people can watch both and I’m just happy it’s getting a Blu-ray release.

        When it comes to dubbing, people will always cry for a Vic mignogna, Johnny Yong Bosch, Monica Rial, Wendee Lee (in other words pros), however, new blood need a chance.

    • Shippoyasha

      Um. I like new talent and all, but they ‘overuse’ talent because they are damn good at what they do. Let’s not put one down to praise another.

      • Jettythesunfish

        Like I said, I appreciate good talent. I’m not putting anyone down. I’d just like to hear new voices more often.

        • Shippoyasha

          I guess the way voice talent works is kind of like varsity school teams. The newbies play as backups or substitutes then move up the ranks. That seems to be how it’s done in the anime and Japanese game industry at least. You can hear a lot of new people in secondary or tertiary characters, or even as a lead if the project wants to make some waves. Unless it’s a full on indie title that can’t afford actual studio talent.

    • InvertMouse

      I agree with you as well. Unfortunately, let’s say in movies, time and time again, I see this type of comment:

      “This movie looks boring. I don’t recognize any of the actors in it.”

      So apparently if the work has new actors, that must mean it sucks. Creators must respond to this type of comment because it is a business. As a result, as mentioned in the post, new talents have a tough time getting anywhere.

      Thanks for dropping by =).

  • ZEROthefirst

    Not to be rude but who exactly are any of the big names in the cast? I didn’t recognize ANY of the voices aside from one that was kind~ of familiar. The voice acting sounded pretty detached and more like they were just reading lines than getting into character. I guess maybe that’s the way the characters are supposed to be here? Or maybe it’s a really rough draft? Whatever, aside from that the game seems interesting enough at least.

    • InvertMouse

      Judging voice acting is a subjective topic so that is completely cool =). There is an option to disable voices in the game for those who prefer to play that way.

  • Aerii

    I still don’t like the art and think it looks rather… not good. It’s a visual novel. I wish more money went into hiring an excellent artist and making an attractive GUI and less into voice acting, which isn’t a necessity.

    • InvertMouse

      Thanks for the feedback =).

    • Shippoyasha

      Well, to put it into perspective, some legendary VNs like Higurashi wasn’t exactly the looker. This game already looks better.

      • darke

        Ug. You’re not kidding.

        Then there’s the not-quite-a-visual-novel Tohou, who’s designer/programmer/artist Zun also doesn’t have the best art in existence as well, yet it’s insanely popular.

        Though I must admit, for a game I’m not interested in, I actually don’t mind the art. It’s not terribly ornate with fine details like Japanese VN art tends to be, but it has it’s own simple charm.

        • Shippoyasha

          I am guessing Touhou flies by on the girls’ actual clothing designs which are very nice. Even if the people themselves look like cabbage patch kids. Also the girls have a ton of personality to them.

          • InvertMouse

            Indeed, it is human nature to judge on appearance. With the aforementioned titles, no doubt they are great games, yet how did people give them a chance in the first place? I am quite curious.

          • Shippoyasha

            I guess people were really amped up with the rise of the doujin-videogame scene in Japan + there weren’t enough maid-oriented anime/manga. Only Rosen Maiden and a few others filled the maid-girl design itch in the years past.

          • InvertMouse

            It certainly could be. Timing is a huge part of it as well.

      • Aerii

        True, but Higurashi was made by a tiny doujin circle on a non-existent budget, comprising a dude and his brother. Presumably no one was paid to do anything. Quite far from a group that actually has a fully funded Kickstarter.

  • nightsama

    Misread the headline and thought that we actually had some game developers here in Bermuda talented enough to get name dropped on Siliconera. Sadly disappointed.

  • 無尽合体ブランタコブスキ

    no jyb and crispin freeman no buy

    give jyb and crispin freeman

    • InvertMouse

      Noted for future projects =)~

      • SaiyanJedi_Trunks

        I love J Y Bosch and Crispen as well, but you got some great talent for this game…don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

        • InvertMouse

          Thank you heaps for the support man. I really appreciate it =).

    • SaiyanJedi_Trunks

      you have good taste.

  • Alphabet Soup

    It may be the underwater theme and air of mystery, but I’m getting an Ever17 vibe here and I like it. Will keep my eyes on this project!

    • InvertMouse

      Thank you for your interest m(_ _)m!

  • SaiyanJedi_Trunks

    I still want to see Weedy in the costume mod hack :)

    • InvertMouse

      Haha (TUT)~

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