Coming right off a week of Resident Evil retrospective, Zentendo got the chance to sit down with the man whose voice, above all others, truly defines the series. Richard Waugh has been the voice of series antagonist Albert Wesker for the longest duration, Starting with Resident Evil Code Veronica, through Resident Evil 0 and Resident Evil 4. He was also the voice of Wesker in the promotional DVD "Wesker's Report".
This is the first time Richard Waugh has made a public appearance based on a character. He lives and works in Canada on various movies and television programs. He has starred in movies alongside Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. It was only recently that he began to see the impact of his role of Wesker has played on the fanbase. "I had recently been given a bag full of fan mail, that was from across the globe, I even got a letter from a girl in Eastern Europe." It was not long after that he was extended an invite from Fanime to attend this year.
Getting into the role of Wesker was based more off his imagination at first. "Nothing on the game was done when I first went in to record, I was handed a script that gave descriptions of what the creators were looking for. a 6 foot tall man, deep voice, possibly British. Doing the best I could, I tried to imagine this character and used the late actor George Sanders voice work in 'The Jungle Book' as a point of reference." Throughout the games development cycles, Richard would be called back in to do new lines or sometimes a series of grunts "At one point there were this untextured,blocky 3D models and they would be in one pose, and then they would show a picture of them in another pose and you would have to try to connect the dots of missing animation in an action and react off that." Sometimes Capcom would intentionally record a load of dialog to save for later. "They had what they called a 'Tool Box' so that after I had recorded all my lines, they could go in and cut a line short or pull a word out and place it somewhere else." This also helps to explain clunky in game moments where a sentence seems cut short, or the last word seems oddly emphasized. Those who follow the voice acting scene, probably already know that very rarely is voice recording done together with the other actors. "Capcom wanted to make sure everyone recorded their lines separately, presumably for the 'Tool Box'. I remember there was one time I had come to the studio early and I found the Actress for Ada waiting in the lobby. I asked the voice director 'Why don't we record our lines together since were both here' but they were insistent about doing them alone."
Those who have followed the series may know that, even in Japan, The "Resident Evil" or "Biohazard" series always has english dubs. There is no Japanese or European tracks. The games of course are always made in Japan, and this naturally lead to some peculiar bits of translation problems. If you started with the series in 1997 you know full well how silly the original games dialog is. This of course led to some humorous moments recording the lines while Japanese correspondantes from Capcom were present. "There was one monologue in Code Veronica where my line was something like 'You have won to battle today Chris, but tomorrow the sun will rise and that which you have succeeded with today will not save your victory for when I have....' So I brought the voice director over and said something like 'Why don't we just change this to, Tomorow is another day. So she goes over and discusses it with the Capcom people behind the glass wall and for like 10-15 minutes you can see all this murmuring and moving around until finally someone in the sound booth comes up and just says OK". Besides trimming down preachy lengths of dialog Richard Waugh has also made other strides in making Wesker his own "Any time I see a contraction in the script I mark it out and change it. I always make sure Wesker would say 'Can not' and 'Will not'. I always thought it was one of those things that define him as a character"
Those curious about his future as Albert Wesker might be in for a disappointment. If you picked up last years "The Umbrella Chronicles" you might notice something amiss about the voice of Wesker "It's weird because I did the voice recordings for Wesker in Umbrella Chronicles. However Capcom has decided that they want to hire non-union actors in California instead, so my voice was replaced. Which became sort of funny when I heard that the replacement tried sounding like me." This explains the sudden and confusing cast change for "Umbrella Chronicles" shortly after the release of "Resident Evil 4". The voice of Albert Wesker is now being handled by D.C. Douglass in "Resident Evil 5" instead. Richard encouraged fans to let Capcom know how they feel about the change.
Despite being very new to the fan scene, Richard was very patient with the fans, and had multiple signing sessions, even beyond his scheduled time. He was also very funny in playing off his role, and even poking fun of the script in "Seperate Ways" in which every sentence ended in the word "Sample". While the recording for "Resident Evil 5" is long over, hopefully the demands of the fanbase will reach Capcoms ears and restore the beloved and iconic voice of Albert Wesker to most successful Capcom franchise.