Transcript of RuneScape Behind the Scenes #215 - The Origins of Solak

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[00:00] Last year in September we released The Lost Grove,
[00:02] setting up the story of Merethiel, Solak and all the beings that reside there.
[00:07] And now, May 29th 2018, we're releasing Solak.
[00:12] The roots of the grove dig so deep that they wrap around the planet's core,
[00:15] so they're really powerful of anima.
[00:18] Solak is the protector of this area.
[00:19] He's there to ensure that no one has access to this immense amount of power.
[00:23] From a lore point of view, Solak is one of our oldest characters.
[00:26] He's been on Gielinor for thousands and thousands of years.
[00:28] But during the last couple of ages, he's been unhiding.
[00:31] Solak began in April 2017 as more of a personal time project.
[00:36] From there I approached the character artist, Mod Clumsy, and we knocked heads together.
[00:40] He expressed large interest and wanted to do an ent or a tree-like creature.
[00:44] From there, that's where the idea started rolling and we came up with Solak.
[00:47] We developed other characters, such as Erethdor and Merethiel.
[00:50] And we intertwined the story together, making sure we were happy.
[00:53] And from there, it became a project.
[00:55] The thing I enjoyed the most about this project was seeing some of the characters being designed come to life.
[00:59] Seeing Merethiel come from a couple sketches on a notepad
[01:02] to an incredibly awesome concept art.
[01:06] From the concept art we got to go to the character.
[01:09] The character model came to life super quick.
[01:11] And then when it hit the animators, that's when we really saw this character come to life.
[01:16] That was definitely the best part of this project.
[01:18] Aside from the awesome visuals we got for this project, we also wanted to make the project feel complete and alive.
[01:24] So we sat down with the audio team and we got some epic music out for this.
[01:26] And in the fight, these characters obviously talk.
[01:29] So, rather than do any in-house recordings ourselves, instead of me practising a voice,
[01:33] we got some professional voice actors.
[01:35] For Merethiel we have Viva Seifert, who voiced a character in Her Story.
[01:40] And for Solak we got Doug Cockle,
[01:43] who is the voice actor for Geralt of Rivia in The Witcher series.
[01:48] I am Solak, guardian of the grove.
[01:54] Woody.
[01:56] This is the booth.
[01:58] How do I become a tree guard in a tiny booth like that?
[02:03] Well, you just do, I guess. As you do.
[02:07] Merethiel, the betrayer, you'd lead these mortals against me!
[02:13] I am Merethiel, sister to Erethdor.
[02:18] What we have to do is thoroughly immerse yourself in it.
[02:21] Straight away from the off.
[02:24] This thing that we call imagination.
[02:28] And that's what acting is.
[02:29] So, you go straight into that world.
[02:31] He's draining me!
[02:32] When you ask me to throw and be strong and rally the troops,
[02:37] I absolutely imagine that I'm on the battlefield.
[02:42] What was really enjoyable about the session is the freedom to play with the character.
[02:47] The guys here at Jagex had ideas about what Solak would be like,
[02:51] but they were very willing for me to throw in my two cents as well. That was great.
[02:56] Like in any recording session, it's a collaboration.
[02:59] The VO session was super interesting.
[03:00] I've never had to direct someone on how to say a certain line I've written.
[03:04] So, if I wanted Solak to be a bit more gruff,
[03:08] I'd have to tell Doug that he needs to bring it down a bit.
[03:11] Maybe say a certain word with a bit more of umph.
[03:14] Challenges were that he does a lot of shouting.
[03:17] Because it's all during battle and stuff like that.
[03:19] So, a little bit raw on the voice.
[03:24] When I first ran into the Jagex folks at AdventureX back in October,
[03:30] I went back and found my RuneScape account and got on and played a little bit,
[03:33] but I think I created that account when RuneScape was pretty new.
[03:38] This ends now!
[03:42] I'm really excited to see what players think of the Solak character.
[03:45] With Solak there are no hard requirements.
[03:47] You can go solo at whatever level you want.
[03:49] Personally, I suggest you take a team of people around 130 Combat.
[03:54] Make sure your coordination with that team is on point because you're going to need it.
[03:58] Just a massive thank you to everyone involved on this project,
[04:01] from character to animation, concept, localisation, QA,
[04:05] audio, and the players for providing feedback.