League of Legends fans will recognize Abby Trott as the voice behind its new champion Gwen; the peppy skirmisher brandishing a giant pair of scissors as a weapon. Now that Trott is voicing Gwen, Daily Esports sat down with her (virtually) to learn a little of what the process is like.
“I love the layers of Gwen’s character. There’s an excitement and curiosity about her that’s almost childlike,” said Trott. “As someone who is newly alive and not knowing how long it will last, she has this sense of urgency. I think the writers did such an expert job of weaving all of these threads into her dialogue.”
Fans of other games and anime will recognize Trott as Nezuko in Demon Slayer, the immensely popular anime. They may also recognize her as the English singer of “Lifelight,” in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s theme song. Sharp-eared fans will even spot her as the voice behind Ribblepede, the adorably disgusting “rack o’ ribs” in Bugsnax.
Even while voicing such a wide range of characters, keeping her performances “grounded” is key to making a character relatable to Trott. “I think a good performance can make a character relatable. Believable,” she said. “In ‘the industry,’ the the phrase ‘grounded’ gets chucked around a lot. I aim to keep my performances grounded in truth; there’s always a piece of myself in there.”
Players will definitely be able to hear Trott’s personality in Gwen’s lines. There’s excitement when she sees mountains for the first time in Summoner’s Rift. But there’s also anger, and even regret, when confronting other champions.
“Voicing video game characters can be tricky, since you don’t always get to see a script ahead of the recording session,” said Trott. “I’m a bit of a gamer myself and I want to make the player’s experience as immersive as it can be. With Gwen, I was mostly challenged by maintaining her unique Mid-Atlantic accent, combining elements of American and British English while remaining genuine. Luckily, I had the help of an excellent dialect coach, D’Arcy Smith, and an amazing team from Riot to guide me. It takes a true collaboration between the writers, directors, audio engineers and designers, actors, artists and more to bring a video game character to life. And I’m proud of where we landed with Gwen.”
Of all the lines that Trott recorded for Gwen, one of her favorites is when Gwen meets Viego, the resurrected king who accidentally created the Shadow Isles when trying to bring his deceased wife back to the land of the living. “Viego. She hasn’t forgotten you. And I haven’t forgiven you,” says Gwen. She isn’t dropping this grudge, even after a thousand years.
Trott’s experience in acting is a worldly one, starting in Japan and taking her across the globe to the United States. While working in Tokyo, Trott’s first professional opportunity came while doing voices for puppet characters in children’s musicals in Japan. There, Trott says, she fell in love with acting.
“My first opportunity to do voice acting professionally came when I was living and working in Tokyo. I have a background in acting and music, and I was performing in some children’s musicals around Japan,” Trott said. “The company I worked for needed voices for the puppet characters in the show. I auditioned and ended up booking some of those roles. I found that I absolutely loved it. The human voice can express so much. I had always been a fan of cartoons and video games growing up, but I never thought of voice acting as a profession that was accessible to me.”
She realized at that time that she wanted to pursue VO seriously, and that, in order to do so, she would have to leave Tokyo. This was because the opportunities that she was looking for, in recording animation and video games, were more rare in Japan than in the states. A few months later, Trott was in New York, working three jobs and taking voice 0ver classes in-between.
It was around this time that Trott discovered an online voice acting contest hosted by Bang Zoom! Entertainment in LA. Trott had to make two videos, one for VO and one for Talent, by the very next day. After much hard work on her videos, she almost didn’t send them in because she was “terrified of what people would think.” However, Trott’s brother offered her a much-appreciated confidence boost, telling her to just go for it. With this support, she entered.
“Very surreally, I ended up winning,” said Trott. “Fun fact: the incredibly talented Patrick Seitz (Kog’Maw, Renekton) and Keith Silverstein (Shen) were two of the judges. The studio flew four of us to Los Angeles for the finale, and I realized that this is where I needed to be. Six months after I moved to NYC, I moved out to LA… and I’m still here! Gettin’ all up in your video games.”
Gwen is set to release on April 15, and Trott hasn’t had a chance to play as her yet. However, according to her, that’s okay. “Honestly, I struggle to enjoy games when I have to listen to myself. It’s hard to get swept up in the fantasy when it’s ME. I still get sweaty palms when I hear the Smash Bros theme….”