Now that Final Fantasy VII Remake has been out for it bit, and many folks have had the opportunity to digest it already, it's time to really give a look under the hood and examine all the parts that made it so successful. Like, for example, the English voice cast, which includes Britt Baron as Tifa Lockhart. ComicBook.com recently had the opportunity to chat with several members of the voice cast, Baron included, about all things Final Fantasy VII Remake, and they did not disappoint.
If your first introduction to Baron actually came via her role as Tifa in Final Fantasy VII Remake, you have plenty of opportunities to better acquaint yourself with her work. You can check her out in movies like The Thing About Harry or shows like Netflix's GLOW, of course, but she's also no stranger to video games at this point. She's been featured in Halo 5: Guardians, Destiny 2, Dishonored 2, and more.
In our interview, Baron answered questions on everything from her familiarity with the source material, the love triangle nonsense, and which scenes were her favorite and which were the most difficult to perform. Overall, it sounds like she had a great time playing Tifa and is looking forward to potentially reprising the role in whatever comes next for the franchise.
Final Fantasy VII Remake, if you weren't already aware, is available for PlayStation 4. It's currently unclear exactly how many games the Final Fantasy VII Remake will be comprised of, as it's known that it will be releasing in distinct chunks. You can check out all of our previous coverage of the title right here. And keep reading to check out our full interview with Baron!
Warning: Beyond this point, there be spoilers for Final Fantasy VII Remake.
ON THE GAME'S RECEPTION
ComicBook.com: First off, congratulations, the game is a hit.
Britt Baron: Thank you so much. It was a big relief.
Oh, I'm sure. How have you felt about the reception to the game so far?
I mean, I think it's really everything I could have hoped for. I spent a lot of months being really scared because I felt like I was walking into this universe that had so much history and so much nostalgia and so much anticipation around it. It kind of felt like this insurmountable mountain and insurmountable shoes to fill.
I was just very nervous, I think. Even when we were at PAX East, I remember talking to some of the cast about... I just think I felt a lot of nerves. I've never played a character that had been voiced by somebody else before. So, I think that was new for me and a little intimidating and scary. And it's such a massive fandom. It kind of feels like how can we ever please everyone.
So, I've just been over the moon by how well this has been received and how many messages I've gotten from fans about how much this character means to people, how much this game means to people. And it's something I'm just so proud to be a part of.
I've played... I mean, I'm still actually pretty early on in the game. I'm so bad at it. But it's just shocking how beautiful it is. Even the opening scene for me was... It's breathtaking. I'm just really honored and proud to be a part of it and really excited that people loved it.prevnext
ON HEARING HERSELF IN THE GAME
What was it like hearing yourself for the first time in the game?
Strange. It's very, very strange. I think my reaction... We were laughing almost in amazement and awe. And it feels kind of surreal and silly. I watched it with my boyfriend and our other roommate. Or we played through it. These people know me so well in real life, so for us to see this final product and my voice as Tifa seems just... It doesn't feel real, but the longer that we played the game, the more even my boyfriend was saying, I kind of forget that it's me. Because the game is so immersive and you just suspend your disbelief.
So, that was exciting to me and cool, because that's kind of the goal. You want to just fall behind this character. But it is funny playing it because when I hear certain lines, I'm brought back to moments recording that were so difficult. There will be little scenes. I'm like, "Oh my god, that took forever. That was so hard to fit in that time." And so, that's been kind of fun too, to hear the final product of things we worked really hard on.prevnext
ON THE SOURCE MATERIAL
And now what was your relationship with the source material prior to getting this part? Had you played the original games? Did you go back and watch, I don't know, Advent Children?
I had never played the game growing up. I don't even think we had the console to play it growing up. So, I was pretty unfamiliar. I mean, I had heard of Final Fantasy obviously and I had heard of Cloud and Tifa, which I think just speaks to how massive this game is. Because for somebody that was really on the outside of that world to even know of those names, I think speaks to how massive this game is to people.
So, I had a lot of catching up to do. I watched a lot of YouTube clips. I watched Advent Children. I wanted to have an understanding of the game, first of all, the story and these characters and what had already been established as Tifa. But I didn't study it really. I wanted to come in with some flexibility.
I think if I had spent too many hours going through every line of Tifa's or every moment, I feel like it would have been harder for me to take direction. I think I was happy with where I started with this. I think I was intimidated, but ultimately I think I was able to really collaborate with our directors, who were amazing. And the creative team behind this is so specific and really guided me. And that's what I trusted when we recorded, especially in the beginning.
So, sort of, much respect to what came before, but you really wanted to put your own take on it?
Yeah, exactly. Because I think what I've learned is that as an actor... First of all, I don't think any of us were hired to do imitations of what had previously been done. I think they did a really wonderful job of casting actors that could honor what's been done and also bring something new, and bring in a new life to these characters. Because this is a new remake and it is very different. And in the original game, there weren't even voices.
So, in a lot of ways, I was excited because obviously the fandom is huge and they all have a different idea of who each character is. But at the same time, because these voices weren't voiced by actors in the original game, I felt like there was a lot of room to play and kind of make our own character choices, which was exciting.prevnext
ON CASTING AND RECORDING
Now speaking of casting and stuff, how did you actually end up getting involved with this?
I was requested to audition for Tifa, and I went in and I think it was... I don't even think anyone was really in the room with me. I think they might have been in Japan at the time, so I was just talking to nobody. Kind of like this in my headphones.
I do remember really fighting for the role in the room in a way that I don't normally do. Sometimes I think I can get nervous in call backs, but I was very much like, "You want it differently? I can do it differently. You want it higher pitched? I'll do it. Just let me show you. I can do it."
And I was very eager to be a part of this, but then I didn't hear back for months. As a voiceover actor, you audition for so many things and most of them you don't hear back from. So, I really had forgotten about it. Let it go completely. I had auditioned for a smaller part. A non-player part in Final Fantasy after that. And when I got the original call from my agent, I didn't realize it was for Tifa. I thought I had got cast for the part I'd most recently read for, so it was like waves of excitement for me.
I know that for certain projects, these sorts of things can be different. You could be in the room with someone else. You could just be looking at footage. How did the recording process work for Final Fantasy VII Remake?
A lot of it was done to picture because we are dubbing this from the Japanese. It's recorded in Japanese first, which was totally new for me. And it's very challenging because sometimes the same line translated in English might be longer in English or shorter. And it's so specific because the picture has already been done and it can't be changed.
So, it's hard because you want to fill all of these lines with certain emotions, but you are constricted by time. So, it was a really fun challenge. And I've talked about how even during Final Fantasy, I went and did some non-player characters and other video games. And it seemed like such a walk in the park compared because they're like, "Oh yeah, you can add lines. You can add grunts, who cares?"
So, I think in a lot of ways spending so many hours on Final Fantasy has made me... I feel like I'm able to take on any video game now because it is so specific. It's a very, very specific way of recording. And obviously it's nice when we have picture, because I can add certain sounds if we have time, depending on her movements that they've animated. So, that's really nice too, because a lot of times I've done video games where you have no picture at all. So, it was a great experience and I feel I'm so happy that I had it. It was such a learning process.prevnext
ON DIFFICULT AND FAVORITE SCENES TO RECORD
Now you talked about some of the difficulties. What was the most difficult scene for you to actually do?
Oh gosh, quite a few. Some of them I feel like were surprising. I think the hardest one is the flashback where Tifa is with her father, who has died, because those lines... It's actually very... I mean, I think as a viewer, you probably don't realize. But there's so much emotion and there really wasn't that much time at all. And it had to fit in perfectly.
So, what are the lines? It was something like, "Sephiroth, SOLDIERs. I'm sick of this. I'm sick of all of this." And that had to all fit very quickly. And the other thing that's interesting about the way we record this is that some of these lines are split up individually, even though they're kind of all a continuous thought. So, it was kind of that balance between should we try and record all these lines together so you get that emotion that builds in that moment. But then it wasn't fitting. It was very hard. It's hard to do super emotional lines under those tight constrictions. And obviously that's such an important moment for Tifa.
So, that was definitely one of the most challenging. But I mean, a lot of people have reached out to me about the Tifa crying, and the hug with Cloud. That was a lot easier because they just left the mic open and let me cry and then got to cut around it. So, it was surprising to me what things ended up being difficult, depending on just how much time we were given in the animation.
What were some of your favorite scenes to record?
Oh gosh. Oh, I liked... I mean, I loved a lot of them. I'm trying to think if I have a favorite. Maybe when we are first introduced to Tifa in the bar. That was one of the first things we recorded. That was, I think a moment for me to kind of find Tifa and it's pretty intimate and it's such a charged moment with Cloud. There's so much left unsaid. So, I loved that as an actor. I mean, I think what I personally love about Final Fantasy is that there are so many acting scenes. It's not just action. So, that's the fun stuff for me as an actor.
Oh, another really hard scene. Sorry, I just remembered this. Was the controllers, where you have to go, "One, two, three," and they all have to move the controllers at the same time. That was also shockingly so hard. I had to record, "One, two, three," 50,000 times in different ways. So, it's always... It's really funny going through a game. You spend so many hours and it's funny to me which parts I get caught up on and which parts seem to come easily.
It's actually really funny that that was a difficult scene for you because I feel like it's a difficult task in the game for a lot of players.
I know we got stuck on that part. We were like, "Why can't we get this?" And I was like, "Well, I felt that way recording those lines."prevnext
Now I have to ask, were you aware of the love triangle stuff before you took the part?
Oh, no. No, no, no. Not at all actually. I don't even think I was really aware of it till recently just through social media? But when we were recording it, I just started getting a little confused about what the relationship is. And so, I asked and... I mean, I think it makes me a little sad that we live in a society where women just always are... It seems to be pinned against each other. And I think what I was really excited about when I talked to the creative team is that that's really not... I mean, for me and from my perspective, Tifa and Aerith are on the same side. They are friends, they are both fighters. Neither of them are damsel in distresses. And I love that. They're both really strong women that work together to fight the same cause.
And I've said this before, I've learned this. I'm on an all-female cast on GLOW, and that was really my... That's taught me so much about this industry and how much stronger women are together when we lift each other up, when we support one another instead of tearing each other down. So, I guess I hope that society can catch up because I love Tifa and I love Aerith. And I think for me, I'm not as interested about two women fighting over a man. I'm really more interested in, “wow, two strong women that both have totally different skills and can work together to fight this massive cause. And don't even need Cloud to come save them. They're fighting right next to him.” And that's the greatest exciting part to me about this story.
It's actually interesting you bring up that dynamic, because I think more so than with previous versions of the game or even animated versions, there has been a resurgence here in sort of like Tifa and Aerith together. To the point where people are shipping them together rather than anything to do with Cloud.
I love that though. I mean, I think this game is coming out in such a different time in our society, where I think there is way more women representation in a strong way, where I think women characters don't just have to rely on their romantic relationship with the men in whatever story is being told.
And that's another thing I've definitely learned on GLOW. It's all these female stories that have nothing to do with romantic interests because there's so much more to being a woman than just who do you have a crush on? And I think that's definitely what I was excited about. And I love that both Tifa and Aerith are so strong and beautiful in their own way, and they have completely different fighting capabilities, which is so fun when you're playing the game because you can jump between characters and use each of their strengths to work together against a common goal.
So, I love that some of the fandom has caught on to like, “Oh, Tifa and Aerith are great together, fighting together. They don't even need Cloud,” versus just, “Who's the better girl?” I mean, that just seems so antiquated to me and not productive at all.prevnext
ON THE FUTURE OF TIFA
What would you like to see more out of Tifa in future installments potentially for you to voice?
Oh, I guess I would like her to... Maybe, I don't know. Sometimes I feel she's so coy in a way. And I like when she gets really fiery. Fired up a little bit and gets frustrated and lets out some of her real emotions and speaks up for herself. So, even more of that I would love. I mean, you see it in the first game. But anytime that Tifa is being strong and independent, I am cheering her on, which is a lot of the time.
And so, I mean, that's one of my favorite parts about playing her and I think it's a really awesome character on so many levels. As a female, I think it's really... It's very... I want to say... I mean, I hate to say this. But I feel like it's kind of rare in video games to see a female that not only is a strong, strong fighter in her own way, by no means needs anyone to save her, is very capable on her own, but isn't just this cold-hearted tough woman.
I think sometimes it's either one or the other. It's either you're this sweet, feminine damsel in distress or you're a really tough, hardened, low-voiced warrior. And I think Tifa is kind of this rare mix of both because she's so kind and empathetic and soft spoken in a lot of ways, and feminine, but also really strong and a fighter and can get angry and is passionate. And I think she kind of encompasses a more realistic picture to me of what women are. We're so many things. We're not just one thing. I can be a lot of those aspects within one person.
So, I mean, yeah, I mean, I love when she fights. I don't know. I'm just down for the journey. Any day I get to voice Tifa is a good day.
It's actually interesting you bringing this up -- Tifa’s tough, but also sweet in a lot of ways. A lot of people that I know don't even play as Cloud, they play as Tifa because of the way her combat abilities play out.
I love that. It's amazing. I mean, I have seen funny things on the internet about how all of these other characters have weapons, and Tifa is just like, "No, I'm good. I just need my fists and my legs." And it's really fun to play as her.
I mean, when we've played, it's... We start laughing because she's so badass and she can just pummel people. I love that they gave Tifa, a female character that skill and not just... you know, Cloud has a sword, which is amazing, but it's kind of cool that Tifa is just like hand combat, which is... It's really impressive and really fun to play as, I agree. So, I love hearing that.
Cloud's like, "Yeah, I'm going to take this sword and slash with that. That makes sense." Tifa's like, "I'm going to punch this house with my fists."
Yeah, exactly. I mean, and Barret has like that awesome arm. But it is kind of cool that Tifa has nothing, and is in like a skirt, and just like, "That's fine. Don't mind me. I'm just going to kick some ass."prevnext
ON FUTURE ROLES
Now with Tifa sort of under your belt at this point, are there any pie-in-the-sky voiceover roles that you would love to take?
Oh gosh. I mean, Lara Croft would be a dream obviously. She's, I think another like female iconic character that's so strong and somebody I've looked up to. I don't know. I mean, Tifa is pretty high up there. I don't know if I'll ever necessarily top Tifa, because she was my first video game character of this magnitude and somebody that I've loved so much. So, I think she's always going to kind of hold that special place in my heart.
It's like your first love, so I don't know, we'll see. I guess I got to think about that and put it out into the universe. But for now, I hope I get to just play Tifa as long as possible because she's a dream for a voiceover actress.
So, it sounds like you're absolutely not done with video game roles then?
I love video games. I mean, I've been lucky enough to do a few. And Halo 5 was my first ever video game. And I loved that. And I really enjoy video games, which is funny because I don't play a lot of them. I mean, I played, Mario and Nintendo stuff growing up, but that's not really the same.0comments
I think I'm just amazed by how massive all of these universes are. And obviously just like the way they look and the stories are... I feel like every video game I've ever done could be made into a massive TV show, the size of like a Game of Thrones. They're all just really immersive, detailed stories that I love. I think that you don't get to play that as much on screen at least because it's big budget and stuff. So, I really like going into a booth and getting to just... I don't know, be in a post-apocalyptic world with aliens, or something like Final Fantasy. That I think all of these themes can speak to society, but you get to suspend your disbelief and use your imagination. And I really like all that.
And I think in video games, more even than animated shows, the stakes are so high. So, that's really fun as an actor. That's why I became an actor. So, fighting to the death and fighting for your life, that stuff is fun to play as an actor. So, I hope I get to continue with video games because I really have such a blast with them.prev