Editor’s note: this interview contains major story spoilers from The Council Episode 1: The Mad Ones.
The Council was an unexpected surprise when it launched last month with its debut episode, The Mad Ones. With hardly a substantial amount of marketing campaign since it was first announced in December 2017, it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise if The Council has flown under the radar of most people in 2018. In fact, the four remaining episodes to come after The Mad Ones haven’t officially been titled yet or any structured release dates put into place. Despite a missed opportunity to push The Council to more audiences and no current plans for a physical release, many critics have warmly received the episodic adventure title’s stellar opener.
The Council’s French developer, Big Bad Wolf, has tapped into the episodic format in the same style — and success — as studios such as Telltale Games and Dontnod Entertainment. But Big Bad has taken its own direction in The Council with its implementation of RPG mechanics, which directly influences how players make important choices and transforms The Mad Ones into a unique, engaging experience from start to finish.
Players are transported to a private island off the shores of England in 1793, which is where they take control of The Council’s protagonist, Louis de Richet. Louis, who’s a member and heir to a secret society known as the Golden Order, is on a mission to unravel the mysteries behind the disappearance of his mother, Sarah Faustine de Richet. The Council’s story doesn’t fail to capture a player’s attention. Big Bad keeps the thrill factor alive in a universe that is reinforced by the diverse cast of colorful characters encountered in The Mad Ones. From the charm of duchess Emily Hillsborrow to a face-to-face confrontation with a historical leader like Napoléon Bonaparte, The Council’s character interactions are as memorable as any other episodic title out on the market.
Elizabeth Adams is another standout character from The Council, who plays an important role to both different subplots in The Mad Ones and the main story arc. In the real world, Elizabeth was the stillborn daughter of former U.S. President John Adams. In Big Bad’s world, however, Elizabeth is well and truly alive. Mysteries are synonymous when it comes to The Mad Ones, and Elizabeth does everything in her power to make players question everything they’ve seen, heard and experienced in The Council. Hardcore Gamer had the opportunity to sit down with the voice of Elizabeth, Tiffany Hofstetter, for an exclusive interview. We talked to Ms. Hofstetter about her acting career, what she thought of The Council when she first heard about it and the audition process that ultimately landed her the role of Elizabeth.
[Hardcore Gamer] How did you end up getting involved with voice-over work in the gaming industry?
I have been working in the voice-over world for six years now. My grandfather, Bob Magruder, was a voice actor and I followed in his footsteps. Video games are always fun, as each character is beautifully developed and always has an interesting arc.
What’s it been like to transition from life in the U.S. to France? And how has acting in both countries, as well as experiencing different cultures, helped you to develop your career?
I grew up between Paris, L.A. and Hawaii. I started acting when I was nine years old and I have had the privilege of working in all three places. I chose to base myself in Paris as I am fluent in both languages and able to work in both French and English in theater, film and VO.
I love working in France. I am a co-founder of a theater company, The Big Funk Company, working with a group of brilliant artists and we have produced some intriguing projects. It’s been a dream come true.
Are you able to transfer any acting chops from theater and film over to VO work, or do you keep your performances in gaming, film and theater separate from one another?
When acting, my goal is to be truthful under the imaginary circumstances (to quote the great [Sanford] Meisner) no matter what medium I’m working in. What does change is the technique depending on what medium I’m working on, but the truth of the character stays the same. I’m still playing a character with goals, a past and an overall arc. I’ve been so lucky to work with such brilliant artists in theater, film and VO that I have learned many of the different techniques. I’m still learning every day!
Before the audition for The Council, were you aware of the strong presence that gaming has in France? From influential studios like Quantic Dream to the growing popularity of Dontnod Entertainment, do you think that Big Bad can emulate the same heights of success with The Council?
I mostly work in animation, so this is all new to me! But I am happy and excited to be a part of it.
What were your initial thoughts on The Council’s concept and story? And were you at all familiar with the episodic format in gaming?
I find that the story and writing are very strong. All the characters’ personalities, emotions and goals are very clear. The complex backgrounds for each character are developed beautifully. All of this makes this game so interesting. We care about the characters and are therefore fully invested in the game.
What does change is the technique depending on what medium I’m working on, but the truth of the character stays the same. I’m still playing a character with goals, a past and an overall arc. -Tiffany Hofstetter
Give us an insight into the audition process for The Council. Did you audition for any other characters aside from Elizabeth?
I auditioned only for Elizabeth Adams. I was given great direction and background information from the director. This allowed me to really know where she is coming from.
This interview continues on page two, as Tiffany Hofstetter speaks about her collaboration with the development team at Big Bad, how she prepared for the role of Elizabeth and the different features she was keen to highlight in the character through her performance.