Michelle Ruff On Her Experience Playing Katherine In Catherine

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As you’ve probably heard by now, Atlus offered the role of Katherine, one of the three central characters in Catherine, to Michelle Ruff, known for her roles as Yukari Takeba in Persona 3 and Crimson Viper in Street Fighter IV.


Once we learnt Ms. Ruff was the voice behind Katherine, we shot over a few quick e-mails to ask her some questions about the recording process, and she graciously answered them. You can read her replies below:


Before I ask you anything too specific, could you tell us what the experience has been like, doing voiceover work for Catherine? Has it been any different from the kind of work you’re used to doing?


Michelle Ruff: Well, yes as a matter of fact!  It was the first project I did with Valerie Arem as the director.  She’s incredible!  This game was really more "real" acting style as opposed to the anime style of acting.  I really used a more natural delivery and a more real life character portrayal.  Also, the animation on this game is so amazing.  It’s really beautiful to look at.


How did you land the role of Katherine, and what was your initial briefing about the game like? Did you have to check out the Japanese performances?


The producers and project directors at Atlus know my work since I’ve worked with them on a lot of other projects.  They offered me the role based on their past experience with me as an actor.  The initial briefing took place on the first recording day.  The producers and Valerie (the director) gave me the basic synopsis of the story and the roles of Vincent, Catherine and my character Katherine. 


I saw a couple scenes to get the vibe of my character and her relationship with Vincent.  I didn’t check out the Japanese performances because I think the animation and Japanese recording were happening simultaneously.  I had to match basic timing on scenes but my Katherine’s mouth was being animated to my performance in some of those scenes.  In some of them, she was animated already and I had to sync my performance.


Once recording began, did you and the rest of the cast record together, or did you perform each of your parts separately?


We recorded separately.


In your eyes, what’s Katherine like? She seems like a mature, level-headed, looking-to-settle-down kind of lady. Are we in for any surprises?


Yes, Katherine is definitely all those things and I think she’s also very vulnerable and strong and courageous.  She’s the character we find ourselves relating to from real life experiences or wanting to relate to.   


You’ve done a very wide range of voice work across different ages, from characters like Etna (Disgaea) to Yukari (Persona 3) to Crimson Viper (Street Fighter IV), and each one sounds like a very different approach. How did you approach Katherine’s voice and bringing out her personality?


I really relied on my own experiences to put myself in her shoes.  I think you’ll find when you listen to her, she’s really close to my own natural voice.  I really tried to be as vulnerable as I could in that booth when we were recording. 


Aside from what you could bring to the character, what kind of directions did you find Atlus giving you? Were you asked to stick to the original Japanese personality or did you take a few creative liberties?


Atlus was great.  They gave me base directions for the scene and then Valerie really helped to direct the emotional aspect of the reads.  We definitely took some creative liberties but kept true to the story.


Catherine deals with the subject of lust, which is something not many games do. Were there any…physically intimate scenes…with Vincent that you found challenging to perform?


Hmmm.  Not that I can think of.  There might be some bloopers Atlus includes in the extras.  I’m not sure though.  All the scenes were pretty tough because Vincent was such a doofus most of the time.  lol.  (sorry Troy [Baker])


Could you ever see yourself falling for someone like Vincent in real life?


I think I already have once or twice.  Therapy, therapy, therapy!!!


Why do you think players should "choose" you (or choose Katherine, rather) over the competition?


Because "Katherine" stands up for herself and what she believes is best for her.   And she kicks butt…And she’s hot.  lol.


A big thanks to Ms. Ruff for answering our questions!

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Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.