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Information

Interviewer: Welsh
Date: 08/2011

Title

Dean Harrington Interview (Project Umbrella)

We contacted Mr. Dean Harrington during work on a now cancelled site project. He confirmed that he was involved in the recording sessions of Bio Hazard 1, though he doesn't remember specific details since it was 15-years ago. The entire voice cast went uncredited, so I think we were very fortunate that he was cooperative. And even though he didn't recognize the voice samples, it's possible that he was responsible for the original title call, the voice in preview movies or even missing characters such as Gelzer or Dewey.

Project: Umbrella Transcript

Q. How did you become involved with Bio Hazard?

A. I had been an actor in Hong Kong action feature films for a number of years before coming to live and work in Japan. Although, I have a personal history with Japan that goes back to my early days in San Francisco were I studied Japanese martial arts. I first came to Japan for a summer holiday in 1970 while a university student in the U.S.. I don't recall the details on my involvement as it was quite some time ago, it's most likely that Lynn Harris called and asked me to do voices on this project. I met her through William Ross who directed a number of other projects in the game industry here in Japan.

Q. Where did recording take place? What were your instructions from Capcom?

A. I don't recall the location of this recording but the city was rife with analog sound studios. Some of those studios were in Kanda and others were scattered around the city. Instructions for the game voice delivery were rudimentary ... many of the game developers were not English speakers and certainly couldn't recognize when a better delivery should have been coaxed out of the actors... hence, an important role fulfilled by bi-lingual speakers like Lynn Harris.

Q. Do you remember a specific moment during recording?

A. At that point, Resident Evil was not the hit it became later. For me, it was just another game voice job. I believe I did fill in voices on the recording ... but as I said it was a long time ago so don't take what I say as gospel.

Q. Lynn M. Harris was apparently in charge of the American voice actors. Can you tell us something about her?

A. Lynn Harris is a very fine actor and director with a very solid ability to get actors to do their best. Early in the business, I had worked with Lynn on William (Bill) Ross directed games. Bill was a long time resident of Tokyo... I believe since the end of the Korean War and involved himself in the movie business... in front of the camera as well as providing western extras for Japanese film productions. When games became a business, he was well situated to gather together English voice actors for games.

Q. Do you know why the American voice cast went uncredited?

A. I have no idea why the Japanese game industry engaged in this type of behavior but I will say, many of the games developed at the time were arcade games for Japanese arcades and I guess for foreign game arcades as well. Japan is full of arcade game parlors, so, my take on this is that English voices in the games were included in japan as an extra bit of foreign noise. This was an important aspect of a Japanese production but only superficially so. Now, this changed when some of these games became profitable in America. Resident Evil has become big as a film series... all of this on the back of the game.

As for being uncredited... your guess is as good as mine. I will add that English voice actors in Japan are not organized on the same level as Japanese voice actors ... we still aren't. I'll give you an example, I was called by an agent that represented me on an earlier version of a game that was sold to X-Box. I was offered a small sum of money to be included in the extra voices in the archives section of the game. I refused. They used my voice anyway! While English speaking voice actors of Japanese games are recognize in English speaking countries, they are not important in Japan.

Q. Can you tell us something about the development staff?

A. Most of the lead staff... this included the directors were game developers... not directors. After game developers realized that English voice actors were a decisive component of the game, Sega and some of the other big operations used bi-lingual directors and in some cases, English speaking directors were brought in from the States to direct the english versions of a game.

Thank you.

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