Earlier this month, Amazon and Paizo came together to release an audio choose-your-own-adventure Starfinder game featuring Nathan Fillion. The concept is pretty awesome as you will listen to the story and make choices, which will affect the outcome of the situations you're in and guide the story as an interactive book. The company released the first three chapters this month with another three on the way in October 2020. We got the chance to chat with Fillion about his experience recording it and listening back to the book as he ventured into making a home recording studio for the first time.
BC: How's your day going?
NF: Good. Actually, I was just doing a recording for four hours. I was recording an audiobook. So not too dissimilar from the kind of recording I was doing for this project that we're talking about. Part of the studio was a recording booth I built, and I think for the present time at least, this is going to be the only kind of work that can't be disrupted.
Getting into Starfinder, what experiences you have with the property beforehand? Did you ever play the game or experience any of the stories from it?
No, this is my first introduction to Starfinder. But I do see… I'm not going to say I see similarities because the difference is night and day, but it certainly does ring inside me feelings I had as a child when I first discovered those [stories] where you get to pick where you go in the story next.
One of those kinds, exactly! One of those kinds of books. There was that sense of control, that sense of I can go back and make different decisions. It'll be a bit a different game. That is a real charge. Then I remember the first time I played D&D when I was in seventh grade and my friend's brother was our Dungeon Master. I didn't love it, it wasn't a fantastic experience for me. But this is like the greatest Dungeon Master you've ever encountered with special effects and special sound effects and character voices. It's immersive and it charges that piece of me that remembers those games.
What were your first thoughts on the script when you got a hold of it?
Sci-fi has a certain grandeur to it because it's space and because it's so big, it can get stuffy. I liked that Starfinder was normal. The only thing so far about it is the settings. Otherwise, people are people. I like that where it's not as grand.
How what kind of characteristics did you bring to the character in this one, that word like necessarily laid out for you on paper?
Gavin, he has the most handsome voice you've ever heard. That is all one hundred percent me. I brought that. They didn't even tell me to do that. They didn't even ask me. Wasn't even on my resume. (Laughter) Being a person who plays games, my vice is video games. And I'm all too familiar with "If the story isn't there…" I mean, I have to go from point A to point B to play this game, that's great. But why? The why of it is important, this story, the fabric, the weave, the characters. I have to be invested. So. That part of it for me, I basically just think about the kind of experience I want to have as a player, not so much as I want to have as the actor. You want to serve the role, it's not your chance to shine, it's your chance to play a part. There are all these parts, you just have a piece, let your piece fit with the other pieces. But as a player, I kind of lean towards "This will be fun to play."
Did you do [the recording] solo or did you have a chance to interact with the cast over recording sessions?
Yeah, solo. Which is both out of necessity with our current situation with the pandemic. And second, I'm only to jazzed, as this is what, the third time I've brought it up so you can tell I'm excited. I have a recording studio in my home now. I should have done this years ago. On my own time, I have to do recordings often in my line of work. Having this little studio, being able to record from home, connecting with other people, having them stitched together. It's one of the few industries that will not be canceled entirely by this pandemic. We can all do it from home. If you have just a couple of the right components.
Nice of you played the adventure yet on your own.
Yes!!! Yes, I have. (Laughter)
Was that excitement or restrained jubilation?
That was excitement, that was excitement! I don't want to spoil too much. It's the same feeling that keeps me pushing buttons on a slot machine. I'm listening to a story there, sound effects. there's music, there's character voices, there's things going on. I'm having a good time. It's that old-timey gathered around the radio with the family feel. I'm relaxed, I had a gin and tonic in my hand, I was just relaxing and in a dimly lit room, and I'm playing this game. I'm feeling the excitement every time the story says, "So what are you gonna do?" And I can just say out loud, this is the future. This is the future. I mean, this is one of those times where we are now scratching the surface of what is now possible with the kinds of intelligence we can get out of computers. Now we're going to have more intelligent entertainment.
This series is set up for six episodes, the next three come out in October. Has there been a discussion about doing another set or coming back or having a new adventure of any kind?
We haven't even finished this one. I mean, finished recording the ones for October yet. So there hasn't been much discussion about what comes after this. But, if this experience is any indication, I mean… It's fun. I enjoy the project. It's super easy to have a good time while doing it. It's super easy to have a good time playing it. I do it from my home and I get to work with talented people. This is a win-win all the way around. So if they were asked me to do another, I would say yes.