Ralph Ineson is the “it” guy of video games of 2023. The English actor, who has made a considerable career with supporting roles on TV and film, managed to land leading roles in two of the biggest games this year, Diablo IV and final fantasy 16.
The games launched two weeks apart, and Ineson is front and center of both, playing the gravelly-voiced Lorath in Diablo IV and the equally grave Cid in final fantasy 16. Eagle-eared listeners noticed the overlap immediately and wondered how she managed to land roles in back-to-back summer game blockbusters.
In an interview with the edgeIneson told me the story.
Ineson has done a bit of everything one can do as an actor. He studied drama at university, worked as a drama teacher for a few years, and started acting seriously in the mid-90s. He was in the UK version of The office, had small roles in The IT Crowd and coronation street, and played a Death Eater in the Harry Potter movies before he got his big break.
“I had been offline, and about eight years ago, I got a huge boost in my career when Robert Eggers hired me. The witch,” he said. “It was my first kind of leading role and the first part I had where I could show off a little bit, if you will.”
Ineson credits his role in The witch as well as his impossibly hard-to-miss voice as the reasons he was sought out for Devil and Final Fantasy. When talking to Ineson, I was surprised to hear that the deep, warm, purring purr emanating from both Cid and Lorath isn’t an affectation he puts on when he performs, it’s just the way he talks about it.
“I always had a very deep voice. I got it from my grandmother, a very big woman from Liverpool,” she said. “When I was a kid, people would turn around and look at this little kid like, ‘Why is that voice coming out of that little kid?’ So yes, [my voice] It was always a little weird.”
“I always had a very deep voice. I got it from my grandmother.”
Although Ineson has done voice work in the past, he doesn’t have many video game credits. Before playing Cid and Lorath, Ineson voiced the video game version of his character from deadly gaps and played a famous pirate in Assassin’s Creed Black Flag.
From Devil and Final Fantasy arrived with a scant 16 days between them, I imagined the recording sessions for each game would be just as tight, with Ineson flitting between different voice recording studios like Robin Williams at the climax of Mrs Doubtfirmy. The reality, however, was much more mundane.
“They never crossed that close,” he said. “I would go into a three or four hour session on each game once every three months, for three years.”
For Ineson, voice acting and traditional acting are two different beasts that test different parts of her skill set. For a physical performance, Ineson talked about how he could do one or two takes over the course of several hours because filmmakers have to take into account the quirks of the production, such as positioning the costumes correctly and placing the camera and lighting in places. correct. But for voice acting, there is only one actor and one microphone.
“It gets quite hypnotic in a way,” he said. “You can play with the lines and redo things so easily without having to set everything up [that comes] with film and television. It can be quite liberating in a weird way.”
As Ineson described, voice acting is usually done in a vacuum: just an actor speaking in a booth. But because of his work in Final FantasyIneson talked about how he had a different setup that impacted both his performance as Cid and the relationship between Cid and the main character Clive, voiced by Ben Starr.
“It’s very unusual to get to work with another actor on the shoot,” he said. “But for the first six months to a year, we did things together.”
Clive and Cid have a special relationship in the game, one that you can earnestly feel in both Starr’s and Ineson’s performances. “We get along very well as partners, and we say goodbye very well as actors. The actual relationship of the characters reflects ours,” he said. “The way they brought the two of us together in the studio was a very good decision; he added a lot to the relationship between the [Cid and Clive].”
“The actual relationship of the characters mirrors ours.”
Listening to both Lorath and Cid, one probably couldn’t tell one character from the other. While I imagine it’s hard for Ineson to make herself sound different between roles, she said there was a more practical reason why Cid and Lorath sound the same.
“I didn’t want to have to go back to [each recording session] with a different voice with these characters,” he said. “So I made the decision to give them both my Yorkshire accent, just to give them some kind of ultimate continuity.”
That strategy worked in their favor, as there’s very little narrative difference between the two anyway. In DevilLorath is a gruff member of Horadrim, a society dedicated to combating the legions of Hell, which also combats a notorious drinking problem. He guides the player through the story, occasionally picking up his sword to fight demons.
In final fantasy 16, Cid is the gruff leader of a loose affiliation of freedom fighters dedicated to combating the oppression and tyranny faced by magic users. He guides the main character Clive, occasionally wielding his lightning powers as the avatar of Eikon Ramuh.
Due to the striking similarities of the two characters, I wondered which of the two Ineson identified with more.
“I think, because I’m probably kind of in the middle of them age-wise, both of them,” he said. “In a weird alternate reality, I got to see Cid getting beaten to the point where Lorath is, and I got to see Lorath having some of the vitality and enthusiasm that Cid had when he was younger.”
Although Ineson falls somewhere between Cid and Lorath in terms of personality, overall, due to his work in movies like the upcoming prequel to The Omento Nosferatu new version and conducting research through multiple readings of the Book of Revelations, he gravitates more towards Lorath and DevilThe world of demons.
“A lot of the work I’ve done in the last few years, it feels like I’m always being or fighting Satan.”
With Diablo IV and final fantasy 16 Now out, Ineson is having his first real taste of video game fandom.
“I get lovely feedback, specifically on my performance, which is obviously what matters to me, so it’s been great.”
However, Ineson is not a player. During our chat, he said that he played a little when he was younger and again when his son was little, but he has largely stayed out of the world of video games.
But even then, despite not knowing the huge reputations of the two franchises he was working on, he knew his performances would be unlike anything he had done before.
“Cid’s lawless political nature immediately clicked with me as a much younger man, and with Lorath, because I’ve lived in that world as an actor, writing for him felt great too,” he said.
“So both jobs felt special before I even stepped into the booth.”