Apex Legends voice actor Erica Luttrell, who plays veteran soldier Bangalore in Respawn’s battle royale, has revealed just how much secrecy went into the game’s development ahead of its surprise release in February this year.
Luttrell was one of the original voice actors brought into the development of Respawn’s first-ever battle royale release, and saw first-hand how closely guarded the secrets of the game were by both the developers, and publisher EA.
Luttrell, who recounted her experiences with creating the character of Anita “Banglore” Williams to fellow Apex voice actor Chris Edgerly in his Edgevoice podcast, revealed she would get “coded messages” from Respawn.
After auditioning for the role, and successfully being brought on board, Luttrell soon discovered just how quiet the whole game was being kept—a decision Respawn and EA stuck to all the way to their shock February, 2019 release.
Not only was the Bangalore actor asked to record all of her early voice lines in her own studio, which for a time consisted of “a closet studio with a phone recorder,” and send them back through audio transfers, she was also given most of Bangalore's information in secret codes and jumbled messages.
“All of the information was sent to us in packages with coded names, the names of the characters were jumbled and different, and I basically just knew that I was playing a military character, so I had to choose a voice off a few clues,” she said.
“Recently I got a studio-quality mic and I do lines on that now, but for a time it was just off the phone and with a small setup. I was using an Apogee MiC, before upgrading after the Apex recordings. I’m not a sound engineer.”
Despite not hearing many details about the game itself, or how her voice lines would eventually be used, Luttrell admitted she “had a feeling” the game was going to be big: a premonition that has clearly come true 10 months down the line.
“I still don’t really understand the scope of the game, because I didn’t really have much exposure to it when I was learning the character and recording, but I did think that it was going to be this big,” she said.
“I don’t think there’s really a way to know [when you’re working]. You don’t ever really know, you have no sense. With video games especially, you sign NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) and you can’t talk about it with people.
“There were a few stages where I didn’t even know what I was really doing, on a grand scale, I had a half-page for my character and that was really all I had to go off for what it was going to be like. Even that wasn’t much to go off.”
Despite not playing the game itself—Luttrell admits she doesn’t have time for competitive gaming—the voice behind Bangalore revealed she’s had a “great response” from those who have become involved with the battle royale.
“People are always pretty keen to tell me that they’re happy I look the same as Bangalore, though I hope I’m a little bit more chipper than her,” she said.
“Like I said though, there was no idea of how big the game was going to be, and I feel like even the developers and creators really had an idea of what they had on their hands. Now it’s this bigger thing than I think any really expected.”
And, although she’s never really stepped foot in the blood-soaked virtual worlds of King’s Canyon or World’s Edge, and has no interest in connecting to Apex’s full lore, Luttrell admits she does have a “deep connection” with Bangalore herself.
“I don’t want to be too invested in the world, I want to be invested in the character I’m playing,” she said. “Knowing too much impedes your ability to do the work, I think. I don’t want to be a fan of the game, I want to be a fan of Bangalore.”
Like Luttrell said though, Apex has already exploded in popularity, perhaps more than even Respawn expected. The title is already preparing for its fourth season, another new Legend, and many more LTMs and events on the horizon.
Now, it seems, it may take a little push for Luttrell to jump into a game with Edgerly and the rest of her fellow voice actors. Maybe that would be a great spectacle for Respawn to organize now that they’re being a little less secretive about the voice stars at the core of the game.