Depending on what you’re into, you either know Aisha Tyler as the voice of Lana Kane on Archer, from her podcast Game on Guy, or as the host of Who’s Line is it Anyway?
But for gamers, she’s the voice of female trooper #2 in 2010’s Halo: Reach, Commander Walker in the “RAAM’s Shadow” add-on for 2011’s Gears of War 3, and, as of May 27th, herself in Watch Dogs, Ubisoft’s new open-world, cyberpunk adventure game. But in talking to her about Watch Dogs, she not only revealed how she got the gig, but what she’s hoping to see at E3 this summer, and what she thinks an Archer game should be.
I want to start with the timeline. You hosted Ubisoft’s press conference at E3 two years ago, which is where they first announced Watch Dogs. Were you already in it at that point?
No, I was not. I don’t think they even had anything playable, I think they just showed the trailer. They came to me later, I think in the fall.
What’s interesting is that you’re not a major character in it.
Yeah, I’m just someone you interact with. But it is more than just that one clip they released.
You mean the one where the game’s hero is tracking you as you’re walking down the street, talking on the phone, and then you get run over by a garbage truck? I really hope you called someone at Ubisoft and was like, “What the fuck!?!”
Yeah. And I was totally like, “What the fuck!?!” I think I actually did say, “What the fuck!?!” to the developers at Comic-Con. But there’s a lot of me in the game. The idea was to make the world really rich, where you can interact with almost any character, so there’s like a thousand different things that can happen with my character.
In terms of how you’d look in the game, were you worried they were going to give you huge boobs and a big butt?
[laughs] I don’t think I was worried about it, even though that seems to be the m.o. for games. No, they tried to make her look like me. She doesn’t, but she looks as much like me as she can.
Besides, if I want to see myself with unmanageable breasts, I always have Lana.
Aside from hosting Ubisoft’s press conferences, you also go to E3 every year. What are you most looking forward to seeing this year?
My interest level is limited to shooters. I don’t care about tiny cars games or jumping games or hugging games. Which is nice because otherwise E3 would be overwhelming.
I’m really excited to see where The Division is now because it has the kind of super fun, strategic, co-op, open world combat play that I really like. I’m also excited to see Destiny. It seemed really Halo-y, so we’ll see where it is this year.
And we’ll probably see a new Halo.
Yeah, we probably will. But I don’t know what else we’ll see. The new Gears? For me, E3 is usually about discovery.
Watch Dogs isn’t the first game you’ve done a voice for, obviously. But have you been offered others that you’ve had to turn down?
I have. Mostly because they’re not the kinds of games I play. I wasn’t offered Skyrim, but I might’ve turned it down anyway because I don’t play fantasy games, and I only want to do voices for games I’d want to play.
Though I think it’s safe to say you’d still do Lana’s voice in an Archer game even if it wasn’t a shooter. Speaking of which, has there been any talk of doing an Archer game?
I feel like there has been, but nothing serious. Adam [Reed, the creator of Archer] is the Howard Hughes of animation: He’s recalcitrant and surly, and I don’t think he’d want a game unless it’s as beautiful and smart as the show. Because the worst thing is to make a game that sucks. Did you play the Walking Dead game, the shooter?
It was terrible. What’s the point? But the Telltale one? That was great. When I told my friends I was going to play it, they all told me I was going to cry, and I was like, “I don’t have feelings. Don’t tell me what to do.” But I was sobbing hysterically at the end of that game, and was worried about Clementine for a year. And she’s not a person! So that would be the concern, can we could make something as rich and wonderful as dynamic as the show.
Which, I think, would be hard to do. Especially since Adam is so hands-on. We have other people who write the show, but none of it ever makes it in, Adam just does everything.
I could see it being a funny first-person shooter.
To me, it would have to be something like a bigger, better Rainbow Six: Vegas, but with funny characters. Or maybe a funny Last of Us. I’m playing that now, and I like how there’s a lot of character-driven moments that are combat related, and you also have to loot and build up a cache. I like games that are multi-layered like that.
So given all the shows you host, your podcast, the books you’ve written (Swerve and Self-Inflicted Wounds), and all your stand-up shows, when do you have time to play games?
My gaming time is down to nothing these days, and it’s really frustrating. Sometimes I won’t start a game because I don’t want to have to stop after an hour. But I’ve been trying to have every Sunday be a play day, where I don’t do any work stuff. Though nowadays, if a game isn’t amazing, forget it. I just don’t have the time.
Interview by Paul Semel (@paulsemel)