Morla Gorrondona on Finding Your Voice

Eris Morn is a mysterious former hunter who has a deep and personal story of survival against The Hive. The front lines of battle live in her memory and serve as insightful guidance. Erin “Battery” Baker is a bold and outspoken Specialist-born the youngest of 5 and the only girl in family with a long and proud military history. She’s not afraid to storm into battle; she relishes it.

The two characters from Destiny and Call of Duty Black Ops III respectively don’t have a lot in common, but they do have one thing. Both are voiced by veteran video game voice actress Morla Gorrondona.

In addition to the blockbusters above, Morla has added her talents to a long list of video games, including Halo: Spartan Strike, Infamous 2, BioShock 2 and in other less obvious ways throughout Destiny (she voiced much of the Hive, Omnigul and can be heard in the some of the weapons sounds).

Morla’s love of video games has played a major role in her success in the industry-though the path to a career games was not immediately an obvious one. “I did my first play in second grade and fell in love with acting. I knew then what I wanted to do with rest of my life.” After earning a BFA in Theatre from the University of Mississippi, Morla headed to New York to start her career.

“I auditioned a lot, worked in a number of theaters, landed a decent amount of film work, did a lot of comedy and even co-founded a successful improv troupe. Things changed quickly after I left a message for my on-camera agent and the agency’s VO rep overheard it. She took over scheduling my auditions and I started booking VO for commercials. Through those commercials I learned how to make character decisions quickly, sell a script while reading it for the first time and all the subtitles and nuances of performing in a vacuum.”

“One day I was asked if I’d ever considered voiceover work in video games. I didn’t understand that was a possibility because I was NES girl from way back, and there certainly weren’t any voices in those games. Then I was introduced to BioShock and my eyes opened wide. I had no idea that kind of engaging storytelling and exciting dialog existed in games. What I came to to learn is that VO for games is everything I love about theater: the creative fulfillment, the character development, the story telling-without any of the things I don’t.”

Morla says another compelling thing about voiceover is that there are no physical limitations, so she can play anyone.

“If I can get my voice there, then I can do it. And with performance capture becoming more standard-I’m able to use aspects of my theatre training, like stage combat, movement for the actor and even improv in new and unexpected ways”.  And the big audience is a plus too. “You know in theater, you can play to a packed house of 200 or 500 people and be like ‘we’re sold out!’ But with games, I have the potential to reach millions of people all around the world in a person personal and direct way. That’s impactful and humbling.”

Morla says that reach has to be much smaller and much more intimate when getting started in VO. “You have to be brave and tenacious about it. Joining organizations like the Game Audio Network Guild (GANG) and going to conferences like GameSoundCon and GDC, making connections and just hanging out with people is really important. With the conferences, of course, attending the sessions and panels and audio bootcamp is essential, but I also can’t emphasize enough how important the ‘hang’ is.”

Demonstrating passion about the games you audition for can make all the difference. Being from New Orleans, when Morla heard about Infamous 2 and its “fictional” setting, she knew she had to be in that game.

“I asked around, got some names and finally scheduled a call with the person in charge of casting. I spoke on what I already knew about the game-and the audio team’s desire to achieve authenticity. I presented myself as an expert on the multiple regional dialects-probably gave some impromptu examples of those dialects, then talked about my background in VO and theatre. Because I was fearless in that moment-I won the gig.”

“Moral of the story: Be brave, stay informed, keep moving forward and listen to your second-grade self.”

Nicole Tanner
Nicole has been lurking around the game industry for 14 years. She’s currently the Managing Editor of Before that, she was an editor at IGN, where she launched and hosted the Girlfight podcast.

Nicole Tanner
Nicole has been lurking around the game industry for 14 years. She's currently the Managing Editor of Before that, she was an editor at IGN, where she launched and hosted the Girlfight podcast.

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