Lucio voice actor Jonny Cruz, whose video of Overwatch voice actors goofing around recently spread like wildfire, once turned down some sage advice, years ago, from someone you've probably heard of.
"Voiceover was not my main focus when I started. I was going to be a theatre actor," Cruz told Don't Feed the Gamers. "Years ago ... I moved to [Los Angeles] and I was calling the people I knew from Texas who were doing stuff, and I called a friend of mine and he was like, 'Hey man, you need to get into this voice over stuff - this is where it's at.' And I was like, 'No no, I'm an ac-tor.'
"A few years later I'm watching [a friend play The Last of Us] and I was like oh man that voice sounds so familiar. That sounds so familiar," he said. "So I looked it up and on my friend's IMDB it was title after title after title of - that's how he makes his living, voice overs for video games.
"I don't know if you guys [know him]," he pauses.
Troy Baker being one of the most high profile voice actors in video games alongside Nolan North.
"He's the one who told me to do it years ago," said Cruz, "and I was like, 'Whatever, Troy.'"
For Cruz, who's 33 years old, and been professionally acting for 15 years, Overwatch was a big break.
"When Overwatch came around I was in this place where I'd been auditioning and things hadn't been working out," he said. "Then this voice over for a game called Prometheus came in ... and had specs for a positive, hype kind of character who was a community leader but also easygoing."
He took it, recorded his lines, and waited. "A while later I get this email [saying], 'Hey the people from Overwatch really loved your s***," and the penny dropped. This was the same game his friend had been excitedly telling him about months earlier. It was Blizzard, a new IP. It was big.
But it wasn't until a desire to make Vine-like videos again and a trip to Blizzard's campus with other voice actors combined that Cruz's stock shot up. His charming video of Overwatch voice actors having fun at Blizzard was retweeted more than 57,000 times, and things haven't been quite the same since.
"Life's tripping me out," he said. "Overwatch is tripping me out. I've been an actor for a very long time and I've done many projects over the years and nothing has been more profile-rewarding than Overwatch. A video game's making me popular? What?! It was out of leftfield.
"I went to Blizzard for that tour and I was like, 'Yeah I'm going to make a fun little movie while I'm here.' I had no idea it was going to go, oh my god, everywhere. This is for real. People are so about this game."
People were even approaching him at a music festival after the event to say, "Oh my god are you Lucio?!" "The past two weeks for me has been insane," he said.
The interview with Cruz comes against the backdrop of the SAG-AFTRA actors' union strikes for new deals for performers in video games. Cruz admitted to being new to voice acting and said he had a good experience with Blizzard, one of the better employers it sounds like. He knows he's "a lucky duck" and he's thankful for that - to the Lucio mains most of all.
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