Rainbow Six Bandit VA interview: “I became aware of this world I didn’t know existed”

Andrew Amos
Ubisoft / Supplied

Bandit’s voice in Rainbow Six is one of the most recognizable. The man behind it though, Carl Bishop, only realized his impact recently, despite doing the gig six years ago. He’s become aware of a world he “didn’t know existed,” and wants to keep diving deep into it.

Bandit has been a mainstay on Team Rainbow since its very inception. The German defender hid the scars of a troubled childhood growing up in East Berlin with his slightly silly mannerisms.

Funnily enough, that’s exactly where Carl Bishop gets his iconic voice from for Bandit.

“I modeled my voice after this one voice actor friend of mine in Berlin and he’s a smart guy,” he told Dexerto. “He and I would have these dark conversations about politics and cultural differences because he grew up in East Berlin, so his childhood is interesting, to say the least.

“He has a bit of darkness about him because he struggled, and that’s where Bandit came from in part. It’s part me, but it’s part my friend Victor and his experience growing up as a kid.”

Bandit from Rainbow Six Siege
Bandit has been in Siege since the very beginning.

Bishop, a 20-year old veteran of the voice acting industry, dove into a completely new world when he took on Bandit in Siege.

First of all, he’s American ⁠— from New York state ⁠— and secondly, he’d never done a video game voiceover before that.

However, the three days recording Bandit were the best three days on the job, even if he didn’t know exactly who he was trying to model.

“I never even knew when you record video games everything is top to bottom secret. You’ve got to sign NDAs like crazy. They gave me a fake name for my character, so I didn’t even know who I was going to be,” he said.

“It was only once the game came out and people started saying ‘are you Bandit’ on Instagram, I was like ‘I guess so?’ I had no idea.”

It was a revelation to Bishop ⁠— the scope of just how big Siege is. While he did the lines for Bandit way back in 2014 before the game’s release, it was only in 2020 when he realized how big of an impact he had on the gaming space.

He was pushed towards social media by his nephew, seeing all the fans raving about not only the game but his iconic voice over one of Team Rainbow’s most valuable assets. Since then, he’s joined forces with the likes of Martin Copping, the eccentric voice actor for Mozzie, and even had his eye on professional play at Six Invitational 2021.

“When I saw how huge it was and how important it was for the people who were playing the game, I was like ‘oh I should really pay attention here.

“Once I did, that’s when I started being aware of guys like Martin, and I became aware of this world that I didn’t know existed. I was blown away when I saw these tournaments and people playing for millions of dollars.”

Bishop admitted, with a bit of hesitancy, that he is yet to pick up Rainbow Six. He was even slightly disheartened to hear that his Bandit had fallen out of the meta somewhat in recent years.

“I’ve watched gameplay, but I’ve never played it,” he laughed. “I know that’s going to be heresy among the people. I’d love to, but I don’t have the console, I don’t know if I’ve got the gear.”

However, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have an appreciation for video games. In fact, they’re some of his favorite things in the world.

Growing up with tabletop RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons, he’s a big fan of the ‘deep fantasy’ genre that pushes his “broad, scary, and weird” imagination to its limits.

“We would sit there with graph paper and the book, and you’d read ‘okay your character takes three steps down the hallway and he has the magic hammer and he’s going to beat the orc with it and you roll the 10-sided dice’ ⁠— all the cool stuff.

“Back when I was a kid playing the game, I’d be imagining the characters and what they’d look like and their voices. I love the imaginative quality of them and the otherworldly craziness. It seems like it’d allow me to be less in a box.

“Reality games, which Rainbow Six is to a degree, you’re very much in the body of a normal person. It allows me to play a character I love though. I love playing characters. It lets me use my imagination.”

Carl Bishop Bandit rainbow six
Instagram: youfoundcarlbishop
Bishop grew up playing tabletop RPGs, something he marks as a big inspiration of pushing him towards voice acting.

It hasn’t been an easy industry for Bandit’s voice actor to crack though. The Rainbow Six gig remains his only major video game credit to date, despite having auditioned many a time at Rockstar’s New York studio with the full motion-tracking suits and all.

He isn’t going to stop pushing for his dreams though of getting into one of those ‘deep fantasy’ games, and he wants younger voice actors to keep pushing the boundaries of voice acting.

“I do see a lot of young people in animation that I see on Twitter and Instagram that are so good. I’d say if you have this inclination, and you’re young and you like voiceover, then go for video games or at least animation of some kind.

“Use your imagination, play characters, because if you want to do something else, the opportunity to play characters in video games don’t come as frequently as commercials where there’s a lot more of that work.”

“When you play those characters and you stretch yourself to play characters, that’s when you’re going to get the emotional reward. Don’t do it for money, do it because you love it.”

And if you ask Bishop what his favorite Bandit quote is, he’ll even read it out to you in the accent.

“You’re all very unbalanced individuals.”

You can follow Carl Bishop on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.