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Zelda's voice actress from Breath of the Wild/Age of Calamity talks about online negativity for her portrayal and how she handled it

The internet loves to hate

Zelda: Breath of the Wild was the first official game in the franchise to give a voice to Zelda. That voice was provided by Patricia Summersett, who reprised her role for Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. In an interview with Zelda Dungeon’s The Champion Cast, Summersett talks about how some of the negative reaction to her acting impacted her, and how she used some of that negativity to fuel her performance in Age of Calamity. Check out her comments below.

“That was tougher to deal with at first, because I was very sensitive to it, and just wanted everybody to be as happy as possible for such a big game [Breath of the Wild]. You really have to keep that kind of stuff in perspective, or one does. You really got to be positive about that stuff. I’d say the negative people tend to be more vocal online, just by default – that’s the nature of the algorithms of the net, and it does take some getting used to. One has to build a thick skin, I think, with something like this. I’d definitely say my skin has gotten a lot thicker over the last years, since taking on this particular role, just because it’s required more thick skin than some of the other kinds of failures or critiques I’ve had in the past.

There’s something in that to channel as well, because that’s how Zelda feels, and she’s doing great, but she feels that way eternally, and that’s her plate. It’s very relatable in that way, I think. Anybody who’s taking risks and trying to work very hard at anything, you come across that. I do love that about her character in general, the fact that they dig into that part of the storyline for her: what it means for her to feel like a failure, but keep pushing forward and striving for something bigger, and for the benefit of all. One can use that as inspiration as one uses heroes as inspiration.”

Comments

Top Rated Comment

I loved her performance as Zelda. Some people just want to make everyone miserable.

ridleysaria
Mon Dec 21 20 03:06am
Rating: 2

I wasn’t crazy about her performance in Breath of the Wild but thought she was a lot better in Age of Calamity once Zelda stepped up. I’m glad Patricia stuck with it.

Unsurprising that people were assholes. It’s the default setting for a lot of people online.

People also forget that writing and direction are involved. The other characters have poor moments too but Patricia Summersett got all the hate from the fragile gamers.

I loved her performance as Zelda. Some people just want to make everyone miserable.

That's because they're miserable themselves. Misery loves company.

I just think some people go to far in their opinions. I mean we've seen this year, just how far some people go in order to feel like they control the narrative.

groose
Mon Dec 21 20 01:21pm
Rating: 3

Some people just want to make everyone miserable.

Or--hear me out here, I know this sounds crazy--maybe a lot of people just didn't dig her performance in comparison to the original VA?

wobblebobble
Mon Dec 21 20 06:35pm
Rating: 2 (Updated 1 time)

If they had acted like they "didn't dig" it, instead of making sure to constantly insult her personally, nobody would be talking about it right now.

Some people not digging something isn't a problem, as long as said people have any perspective and stop complaining well before the boundary of harassment. But that's not what happened, is it?

We're always supposed to let these people get away with this behavior because they "sincerely just didn't like [whatever they didn't like]," but these people need to learn that there is no reason to treat somebody like human garbage just because they think something could be better. They need to put their disappointment in perspective.

Do you know how many shows have been made out of books I've absolutely loved that, after months of hype, have come out and I instantly realized that the show's take was terrible? It hurts, it makes me feel stupid for hyping it, but the solution? I just stopped watching, I didn't make a list of all the people involved, find them online, and make rude comments every day for years. And in this case, people who prefer the Japanese voiceover can just enable it. So do that and everything is fine. Problem solved.

groose
Tue Dec 22 20 07:47am
(Updated 1 time)

She didn't say she was insulted, and she didn't say she was harassed. And even if she did, it's her word against hundreds of comment threads where you can plainly see people were saying anything bad about her personally, only criticizing her acting ability. And guess what, some actors can't have their performances criticized without taking it personally. I don't know that that's the case here, but I do know I've seen a lot of criticism of her acting since BotW launched and none of it was intended to insult her personally.

Do you know how many shows have been made out of books I've absolutely loved that, after months of hype, have come out and I instantly realized that the show's take was terrible? It hurts, it makes me feel stupid for hyping it, but the solution? I just stopped watching, I didn't make a list of all the people involved, find them online, and make rude comments every day for years.

Good for you. You don't know that happened here, but if you can, please find just one example of these hostile comments and tweets aimed at her that cross the line. I just think her performance in BotW was mediocre and her British accent horribly fake, and I'm far from the only one who has said so without tweeting at her to kill herself or whatever far-flung example you can think of but not prove.

madao
Mon Dec 21 20 07:36am
Rating: 4

Her performance was alright, similar to the rest of the cast. To get a great performance out of a voice actor you need a great director and a great script. I don't know about the director, but the script was very basic, which made most of the dialogues sound quite cartoonish. Plus voicing a character that gets no responses from the character they talk to is not exactly an ideal scenario, makes it basically a series of awkward monologues instead of a dialogue.

To get a great performance out of a voice actor you need a great director and a great script.

THIS. I couldn't agree more and people seem to forget this simple yet decisive fact way too often.
I've heard so many mediocre performances of otherwise great voice actors and every time I thought to myself: 'Must've been the director's fault...'

fylo
Mon Dec 21 20 10:24am
Rating: 2

It's a bit more complicated than that. Many movies have had actors improvise their lines in order to deliver more natural takes. Sometimes the actor isn't motivated like with Destiny and you need to cast again.

I did see in Age of Calamity (latin spanish dub) how it seemed that actors had to make long pauses in order to catch up with the pace of the cutscenes. Also at least in the spanish dub how it seemed to ask Zelda to have sorta of a younger more innocent voice.

Not many japanese developed games have that many dubs, so I suppose that can also be hurdle they need to learn how to do better. Since that was also an issue in FF13 were mouth movements needed to be reanimated to accomodate the different dubs.

Still with all that said. I enjoyed the dub I got and I just think the harassment is a cowardly, petty and childlike way to gain attention more than pointing a flaw in a entertainment product.

I just think the harassment is a cowardly, petty and childlike way to gain attention more than pointing a flaw in a entertainment product.

Very well said. It's as simple as that.

These people hide behind the excuse that their irrational, over-the-line harassment is nothing more than a "critique" of an entertainment release. We all can see that is not what it really is. I've only ever left two or three really negative Amazon reviews for books or movies, and though there was nothing redeemable about the films and books involved, I still was aware that I might be hurting the creator(s)'(s) feelings. But it's callous beyond description to seek out a performer/author/director/other creative just to pile on abuse via direct communications like Tweets just because you didn't like something. Super inexplicable behavior.

There's a difference between making a qualitative judgment about something and being an a**hole about it.

And I mean that both ways, because the comments here are making it sound like the only reason anyone would express displeasure in something is just to be mean. Is it mean to say Mighty No. 9 sucked even though I assure you a good number of people busted their a** on it? In the same vein, I know some young female gamers who were very disappointed that this character who they've loved for a long time was given such a flat delivery the first time she spoke, and whose performance was the worst of the bunch in many people's opinions.

There's a way to express an opinion without being malicious (and I'm the first to say the anonymity of the internet breeds vitriol), but if the only feedback you hear is positive, you'll never know what areas need growth.

You're absolutely right that there needs to be room for valid criticism. It's just when so much of it becomes indistinguishable from abuse, people would rather err on the side of kindness. This sort of "internet pile-on" actually is the enemy of true criticism, because people get so outraged at the personal, malicious nature of it that the fact that there might be some validity to any of the critiques is of such little relative importance that everyone reacts supportively.

I've never seen anything so egregiously bad that the creator's involved deserved to be the targets of harassment. If people aren't just trying to rip customers off, strong criticism that could be acted on by a good-faith creator is definitely called for. One more way that crossing the line does no one any good.

I just changed the dub to the Japanese one in BotW. I have no idea if that voice acting was any better but since I don’t speak Japanese it just felt more natural than the English one that I found a little awkward.

Stuck with the English one with AoC though. I think it’s alright in general and thought Zelda wasn’t bad. As said here though, a lot of what you get out of a performance is down to the script and direction and that often gets confused with just being down to the actors. I never saw it personally but I just hope people weren’t harassing her or the other actors online over their performances in BotW- by all means express your thoughts on them but to tag them and go after them is a garbage thing to do- if they want to seek criticism then they can do it without being bombarded personally. Sadly I have no doubt there were plenty of people who did just that.

ngamer01
Mon Dec 21 20 12:36pm
Rating: 1 (Updated 2 times)

As said here though, a lot of what you get out of a performance is down to the script and direction and that often gets confused with just being down to the actors.

Exactly. Sometimes the management gets in the way and dictates how the actors and actresses should do things even if the actors and actresses have better ideas for scenes. Take Samus's VA from Metroid: Other M. She had acting talent, but wasn't allowed to put it on display since Sakamoto dictated that Samus should be dull and monotone in that game.

Outside video games, this has happened in various media and one good example I know of is from Power Rangers Megaforce/Super Megaforce where Troy's actor wasn't allowed to show his acting chops for a majority of the season until one moment during the episode that Troy fought a brainwashed Robo Knight.

groose
Mon Dec 21 20 01:18pm
Rating: 3 (Updated 1 time)

Guys, she doesn't even say she was harassed. She just says she received a lot of negativity, and guess what? Anyone can rebrand "criticism" as "negativity", just so that don't have to deal with their own shortcomings. She talks about growing a thicker skin but not of actually taking of the problems people had with her performance to heart. Which to me suggests she basically passed it off as "haters gonna hate" and learned nothing from the experience.

As for people saying the script was to blame... well, no. Out of all the complaints I've read about her performance, I would say the vast majority are from players who compared her performance against the various other dubs, particularly the Japanese, and found it lacking.

Mon Dec 21 20 02:48pm
(Updated 2 times)

Conversely I tried the Japanese dub and found the acting to come off as overly dramatic and shrill. It sounded like everyone was shouting. It didn’t vibe for me. Not just the Zelda actress, but other voices too. Maybe that’s the style for Japan but it felt amateur to me.

I do think Summersett learned from and actioned feedback because her performance in AoC is improved so I disagree that she “learned nothing”.

groose
Tue Dec 22 20 07:42am
(Updated 2 times)

It sounded like everyone was shouting.

No offense, but I can't even think of a single cutscene off the top of my head where people are shouting, at least not until the scene where Calamity Canon attacks. You can easily pull up a compilation of scenes on YouTube and see that it just doesn't happen. The tone and tenor that English cast spoke with is the same the Japanese cast spoke with. There a couple of early scenes where Zelda is annoyed with Link, but other than that there's literally no shouting at all until Ganon strikes.

"Everyone's shouting all the time" is a stereotype I've seen non-anime watchers lodge at Japanese voice acting, though, so I'm guessing you don't watch undubbed anime.

I do think Summersett learned from and actioned feedback because her performance in AoC is improved so I disagree that she “learned nothing”.

I haven't played AoC yet. I'm only reacting to her comments about the negative feedback she received.

Ok thanks. That’s a lot of words to say my opinion of the Japanese voice work is wrong.

You think she wasn't harassed?

enigmaxtreme
Mon Dec 21 20 04:44pm
Rating: 1

I was never a big fan of Patricia's voice work as Zelda in Breath of the Wild and it hasn't really changed here. My biggest issue is that despite being American she attempts that same faux British regal voice that EVERY American actor has tried to pull off at one time or another and it just comes off as forced and silly.

Like, go back to the Switch Presentation right before the system released in 2017 where we saw the final release trailer for Breath of the Wild. That moment when her Japanese voice actor says that it was all for nothing and sobs in Link's chest, Chills, legit chills. Then you hear it in English with Patricia and....nothing, it honestly felt weak in comparison.

Nothing against Patricia personally, I'm sure she's a great person and actress but I am just not a fan of her work here.

Her work was okay, nothing special or worth getting angry about. I blame the voice directors.

curry
Mon Dec 21 20 05:57pm
Rating: 1 (Updated 1 time)

Same here, someone has to listen to those recorded voices and check if it feels real, if it feels like the character. But this also happens to be a "dub", not the original language. The japanese voice cast was way better in my opinion, but it's obvious as it's the original language, the animation was build upon that language and probably with some voice actors already in mind. Nintendo english dubs have always been a bit lackluster in my opinion, happened to me with Fire Emblem Awakening, Three Houses, Fire Emblem Warriors, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Thank god they now add the option to switch the voices to whichever language you want. I've been playing Doom Eternal in Spanish and is extremely bad (the dub, the game is excellent), the game does not offer the option to change the game's language and I can't change my switch's language to english because my family also plays with it and they don't understand english and also because I play Monster Hunter with friends and all items are called differently in each language.

Anyway, the english dub for BoTW wasn't as bad as the Spanish dub. At first I was changing my switch's language every time I played just to hear the English dub. Zelda seemed ok to me at that time. When the language patch was released I switched immediately to the original voice language and ended up quite happy. It's always good to have the option.

enthropy
Tue Dec 22 20 03:31pm
Rating: 1

If you don't like a VA, then it should be enough to just say so and move on. Or not say anything. Could also say what you didn't like about it. Maybe then the VA can think about it and perhaps he/she could find a flaw he/she didn't notice before. I love it when people criticize my paintings so I get different perspectives from others. If I will agree or not is up to me, but thanks for the input etc.

BUT! When you sink so low to even say you want to rape and kill a VA you are just a little brat. Yes, brat not "crazy ganxta". A little spoiled brat. Good thing is these idiots are just keyboard warriors hiding cozily behind their screens thinking the are so cool, but if you would ever meet one in real life they would have the balls to say a word and would lick the shit of your boots if you would just say "BOO!"

Personally I really liked her job as Zelda. So much that I wanted to go back to English. But everytone else is way better in Japanese, so...

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