As we have observed before, as video games become more advanced, so do the caliber of the performances given by the actors portraying the characters. The term voice-actor is largely being phased out in big-budget video games in the presence of performance-capture, giving true physical life to their performances. Thus, actors also have more input into the creative process behind forming their characters and the stories around them.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag‘s Tristan D. Lalla had that type of input pertaining to the character of Adéwalé that he portrayed in both the main game and recently-released downloadable content, Freedom Cry. Mr. Lalla outlined a close working relationship he had with the game’s Lead Writer, Darby McDevitt. “Early on in the conversation it started with him being a slave and I just said, “There’s a difference between being a slave and being enslaved,'” Mr. Lalla explained, “A slave is a mentality. It’s not an occupation like a doctor or maid or something. You don’t wake up and say I’m going to slave today. Someone who is enslaved doesn’t have a choice.”
As for the overall characterization of Adéwalé, the technology of performance-capture and his skill as actor afforded him the opportunity to make the character more human, and unforgettable:
I wanted to make Adéwalé not just likeable, but empathetic in the sense that people will hear him speak and not feel like they’re being given an order but rather like they actually want to listen to what he’s saying. He needs a warm, earthy quality to his voice, but not just a command. I wanted to make him a real person that people can say, Wow, I can actually talk to this guy and if I have to fight with him he’s a badass and he can protect me.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and its Freedom Cry DLC are available now.