Monster Train Voice actors DB Cooper and Michael Schwalbe have revealed their process of creating the game’s monstrous sounds. Monster Train Only have these two actors in their cast, the duo provide voices and sounds for over two hundred ghoulish characters, all of whom have their own demonic charm. With their combination of creativity, experience and vocal mastery, Cooper and Schwalbe paint Monster Train with a rich soundscape.
Monster Train is a strategy deck-building game that takes players to the depths of Hell as demons battle to protect the last of Hell’s burning pyres from an onslaught of angels. Led by Seraph, the angels broke the peace treaty between Heaven and Hell and froze Hell, and it’s up to players to build decks and fight enemies on the Monster Train. His plethora of maps and creatures come to life through excellent use of sound and visual design, the first that Cooper and Shwalbe skillfully represent.
The pair sat down with host and sound designer Dallas Taylor in the latest episode of the Twenty Thousand Hertz podcast, reminding fans that gameplay isn’t the only thing that makes Monster train bridge building fun. Voice actors DB Cooper and Michael Schwalbe bring a lot of personality and sparkling sounds to the vast array of demons and angels who have boarded the train to hell. In this episode of the Twenty Thousand Hertz podcast, they shared their techniques and talents for creating so many voices, as well as Monster train composer and sound designer, Jordan Chin.
How DB Cooper and Michael Schwalbe voiced over 200 monsters
The two Monster train voice actors have extensive experience not only providing voices for games, but also for film and advertising. DB Cooper has provided vocals for dozens of games, including Foyer and Biochoc 2, in addition to his storytelling and publicity work. Among other roles, Michael Schwalbe is known to have voiced all of the characters in Kill the arrow, another deck-building game that required monster sounds for over 100 different characters. Creating monster sounds isn’t an easy task even for seasoned voice actors, and Cooper and Schwalbe have their own arsenals of techniques they use to bring these hoarse, growling, howling creatures to life.
With his singing experience in his metal band, Invicta, Michael Schwalbe has developed techniques that allow him to keep the tension of monstrous sounds away from his vocal cords. Using other, more robust parts of its throat, it is able to make a wide range of growls, screams, and other distorted sounds. While sounds like this can potentially damage fragile vocal cords when performed incorrectly, Schawlbe’s combination of techniques and proper training allow him to record take after take. Of course, as Schawlbe mentions, it’s important to warm up before this kind of vocal work so that these monsters sound especially monstrous.
DB Cooper, on the other hand, takes a more physical approach as she brings a small suitcase with her to video game dubbing sessions to make her characters look rich and lifelike. Inside, she has a resistance band to add tense sounds to her voice, as well as a hand weight, which she pushes against her solar plexus to create thumps and impacts with her diaphragm. One of her tastier tools, however, is a bite of Jello, which she uses in place of liquid to mimic bloody, bloody deaths, and underwater effects. Using practical effects like these reinforces Cooper’s impressive vocal range, allowing him to create a wide range of unique characters full of personality.
An essential part of the acting process, however, is preparation. The actors use images of the characters they are voicing to get an idea of what the creature would look like. They take into account not only the physical aspects of the creature’s designs, but also their personality, daily habits and original traits. Cooper, who voices the Queen’s Impling, makes this demon baby scream “Mum!” when it spawns. She also plans the location of each creature’s sounds in her throat and how she must manipulate her voice to produce those sounds.
With up to twenty takes for each vocal line, from apparition to death and all the fighting in between, Cooper and Schwalbe bring a tremendous amount of vocal work to Monster train mountain of characters. Between grunts, moans, and gritty moans, the two create a huge catalog of monster sounds, which they enthusiastically demonstrate throughout the podcast.
How sound design makes Monster Train a demonic delight
Monster train Sound designer Jordan Chin highlights the unique creative perspective voice actors bring to a game, allowing the actor and designer to delve deeper into the character’s sonic profile. Cooper and Schwalbe’s professional expertise allows them to collaborate with Chin and produce sound that conveys the characters’ personalities, which is more difficult to do with animal recordings. It should be noted, however, that while both actors have some awesome dog sounds in their portfolios, Monster train The rare and valuable Bone Dog was actually voiced by the third cast member: Jordan Chin’s dog, Henley.
To create the various monster sounds shown in Monster Train, Chin implemented two different approaches to sound design. The voice-centric character design brings vocal audio to the fore, creating the sound around the actor’s voice clip. Other characters feature monstrous sounds in which the vocals are just a texture of the overall sound, like moaning banshees, which feature effects like reverb and echo to produce something more supernatural. Chin combines each voice sample with animal sounds to flesh out the finer details. From powerful wing beats to loud bugs, Chin incorporates sounds to bring certain aspects of the character design to life. Playful imps, for example, are always hungry, and the player can hear their stomach noises growling between the quick little wing beats needed to keep them afloat.
As players move Monster train Deck-building and soundscape gameplay, they’ll notice the details put into each creature’s sound, enhancing the game’s replayability. As players finish race after race and build bridge after bridge, they are greeted by the devilishly charming voices of every monster, many of which can be heard in this latest episode of Twenty Thousand Hertz.
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Monster Train is available on PC, Xbox and Nintendo Switch.
Source: Twenty Thousand Hertz Podcast
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