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It’s been six years since Zelda Williams last lent her voice acting talents to a video game, but with 2022’s The Last Worker, she’s returned to the medium with a very intriguing project. A narrative adventure centred around the overzealous automation of the world as we know it, the game aims to both provoke thought and tickle funnybones, and its striking art style is based on concept work by Mick McMahon of 2000 AD fame. With music from Oliver Kraus, a collaborator with artists like Sia and Adele, and a few industry award wins under its belt already, The Last Worker is one to watch out for when it releases later in 2022 for PC, Meta Quest 2, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series consoles and Nintendo Switch.
“I can’t tell you too much about the game without spoiling anything,” Williams tells us. “My character, though, is a rebellious activist in a group called S.P.E.A.R., who are taking a stand against automated redundancy. You’ll have to wait to find out more - but I think we can all use a little more mystery in our lives, don’t you?” At least one thing is surely certain: the in-game company Jüngle, the company that must be stopped, is a very direct reference to a certain real-world online retailer of, um, everything.
Watch the latest trailer for The Last Worker below
Williams, daughter of the late comic and actor Robin Williams, has shown up in movies and TV shows since 1995, when she appeared as a young ballet dancer in the romantic comedy Nine Months - a film also featuring her father. She also directed (and starred in) the acclaimed 2018 short Shrimp, which explores BDSM workers in Los Angeles. Her one and only video game credit until The Last Worker, though, is 2006’s King’s Quest - Chapter III. For someone called Zelda, two games roles doesn’t feel like enough, somehow.
“I’ve auditioned for a couple here and there, even done some motion capture stuff,” she explains. “But truthfully, I just don’t think the right project comes along as often as people think, and that’s true for the game creators and the voice-over artists. Hell, it's true for all forms of acting! You’ve got to remember you’re just one puzzle piece of many when it comes to creating anything like this, so sometimes you’re just not the right fit, and that’s okay! Most folks go through hundreds of auditions before landing something, so I consider myself incredibly lucky with the VO characters I’ve already gotten to play. Also, weirdly, I’ve been told my voice is intimidating enough that some folks didn’t think I’d be open to being approached with projects, which I find hilarious.”
Amongst the TV voice-over roles Williams has had, perhaps the best known are Kuvira in The Legend of Korra and both Mona Lisa and Cassandra Jones on different series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - but she hasn’t been tapped up to star in the new TMNT game, Shredder’s Revenge. “Nope! Ha. Sorry,” she says. “Turns out I’m not as informed on new games and whatnot as people think someone with my name would be, ha. But I loved playing Cassandra!”
She might not be totally in tune with new game releases, but Zelda is a big fan of video games in general - especially a certain Nintendo adventure series. I mean, how could she not be? (She’s even dressed up as its hero of time.) “Majora’s Mask is my all-time personal favourite,” she says.The great part about the Legend of Zelda series is that it’s been made for so long and gone through so many evolutions, chances are there’s a game in it there suits what you personally like - and there’s probably one you’d hate too, ha. That’s a pretty badass legacy!”
And outside of all things Zelda (the series, that is): “I’ll always have a soft spot for the Katamari series and Animal Crossing - and someone, please, resurrect Viva Piñata! I do sometimes travel with Pokémon Snap because it’s weirdly soothing for me to play. And I love the Portal series, even though I think it truly is already beloved. But I bring it up because I don’t think that sort of delightfully weird, nerdy and still dark and dystopic sci-fi humour is used often enough in games or movies, despite how popular it usually is.”
And Portal handily brings us back to The Last Worker, as Zelda definitely saw something in the game that reminded her of Valve’s incredible puzzlers. “I think (writer and director) Jörg (Tittel) and the rest of the team have done a great job in approaching that dystopian humour in The Last Worker. And loving Portal as much as I do, I was really stoked to feel its influence in this game. It was Jörg, actually, who found me on Twitter during the pandemic, to ask me if I’d be interesting in joining the cast. He was rather bold, but I liked the sound of the story, told him to send it along, and the rest is history.”
The Last Worker, published by Wired Productions and co-developed by Wolf & Wood/Oiffy, can be wishlisted on Steam right now - and a demo is also available right now via Steam, so treat yourself. The game is released later in 2022 for PC, Meta Quest 2, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series consoles and Nintendo Switch. Cheers to Zelda for taking time to chat with us.
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