When Joe Hernandez, the voice of Gorons Daruk and Yunobo, auditioned for Breath of the Wild, he had no clue what he was auditioning for. In an interview with Cat With Monocle, Hernandez revealed, “I remember the specs calling for a British/Mid-Atlantic voice, which was in my wheelhouse. I remember nothing in any of the audition copy made reference to Link, Zelda, Hyrule, etc. so again, we were a little in the dark as to what project it was.”

nothing in any of the audition copy made reference to Link, Zelda, Hyrule, etc.

In the voice acting industry, it’s fairly common to not know what you’re auditioning for when it comes to video games. Depending on the role, it’s not even unheard of for actors to record their part and still not know what the project will be. This is done to prevent leaks, and since video games have a shorter shelf life than movies and television, developers try to keep as much under wraps as possible.

Aside from being concerned with leaks, the script is still evolving, so the writers and developers can change the direction they want to go with the characters at any moment. “So much of the games are still in various stages of development, so things can change drastically, Daruk wasn’t called by that name when I had gone into audition,” Hernandez explained.

Having limited knowledge of the character and setting leaves the actor with little to work with. Fortunately, the casting director for Breath of the Wild gave Hernandez enough information to understand what they wanted for the character. “The casting director had given me a sort of Lord of the Rings direction as to the world in which these characters lived. He wanted me to think of my character as this big, larger than life kind of gentle giant, a la Gimli in LotR. It helped set the tone for what I had read for and allowed me to get specific with his voice and characterization.”

He wanted me to think of my character as this big, larger than life kind of gentle giant, a la Gimli in LotR

So when did Joe Hernandez learn he was a champion in the next big Zelda game? Tweeting back and forth between Andi Gibson (Impa) and Bill Rogers (The King), he revealed it wasn’t until he showed up to the booth for his first recording session, and he never even imagined it would turn out to be Zelda! “I kinda thought it might’ve been Fire Emblem, never could’ve guessed LoZ,” he confessed.