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The VA For Daruk & Yunobo In Breath Of The Wild Says He Didn’t Know He Was Auditioning For A Zelda Game

Voice actor Joe Hernandez voiced Daruk and Yunobo in Zelda: Breath of the Wild. He was also interviewed by CatWithMonocle recently, where he talked about his roles. At one point, he talks about how he got the roles in the first place. Hernandez revealed that, when he was auditioning for the roles, he didn’t even know he was auditioning for a Zelda game. Here’s what he said:

CWM: How did you get the roles of Daruk and Yunobo in Zelda: Breath of the Wild? What did you enjoy the most while recording as these characters?

JH: Originally, I was sent the audition around March of 2016. As is the case with some high-profile video games, we were never told specifically what we were auditioning for. I remember the specs calling for a British/Mid-Atlantic voice, which was in my wheelhouse. I remember nothing in any of the audition copy made reference to Link, Zelda, Hyrule, etc. so again, we were a little in the dark as to what project it was.

Now, if you ask any voice actors out there, rare is the day that the entirety of info is shared with talent by the time they audition. Some of that is done by design, because they don’t want any important info getting leaked, but another reason is that so much of the games are still in various stages of development, so things can change drastically, (Daruk wasn’t called by that name when I had gone into audition).

The casting director had given me a sort of Lord of the Rings direction as to the world in which these characters lived. He wanted me to think of my character as this big, larger than life kind of gentle giant, (a la Gimli in LotR). it helped set the tone for what I had read for and allowed me get specific with his voice and characterization. After the initial audition, I was called back again to re-read for them. Shortly thereafter, I was told that I had booked it and we didn’t begin recording until August/September of that year.

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20 comments

  1. Nintendo has always been to keep the surprises until the last moment, but I didn’t know that even the audition persons were not informed of which game they will be until Nintendo tells them. This reminds me of when Metroid Samus Returns was revealed as a surprise game.

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  2. Too bad the voice direction for the game was so poor. Only Revali and Urbosa really sounded decent. Zelda and Mipha were awful.

    And with all due respect to Mr. Hernandez, because he’s a fine VA in some anime I like, his voice for Deruk is…very generic.

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      1. I can see where some fans of Japanese voices are coming from. Japanese VAs definitely tend to put far more emotion into voicing characters than some English voice actors do. Some American VAs tend to be too emotionless during scenes where they should be far more emotional. For instance, Zelda just watched her castle and town with hundreds of her people getting slaughtered left and right by Calamity Ganon’s forces, a few of them most likely being her friends and liked acquaintances; not to mention her father was one of the victims. And what does the English VA do? Doesn’t scream and only whimpers at the death and destruction she just witnessed. Meanwhile, the Japanese VA was doing what should be a natural reaction to seeing such death and destruction: letting out a crying scream. Here’s a video comparison of the far more superior crying from the Japanese VA after witnessing such horrors while the English VA cries as if she just stubbed her toe on something hard. lol

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    1. Also, may I add, everyone in BotW did better than anything I’ve heard out of Rex in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 so far (I’m not kidding, I burst out laughing the first time I heard his “battle cry” on the salvaged ship, it was SO BAD).

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      1. No, not very far, just to the first town where Nia tries to leave the party when you get there.

        Also can I just say how surprised I was to hear “shit” in a game published by Nintendo. I expected to hear that in DOOM and Skyrim, sure, but Xeno?

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  3. Maybe if he knew he was voicing Gorons, he might have done deeper voices for them. ESPECIALLY Yunobo! Seriously!? When I first got to where he was trapped and heard him, I thought it was a fucking Hylian or human trapped inside but it turned out to be a fucking Goron. What the fuck, man!?

    That’s probably why Bowser’s voice in Super Mario Sunshine was so fucking horrible because the guy didn’t know he was voicing Bowser and should have given a much more deeper, almost animalistic voice.

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