Kena: Bridge of Spirits has been on a lot of people’s radars since the moment indie developer Ember Lab first showed it off a while back. Its gorgeous visuals instantly grabbed attention, and since then, with everything that we’ve seen and heard of it, it’s just continued to look progressively more promising. The action-adventure title is edging closer to its launch later this month, but ahead of that, we recently had the chance to shoot across some of our questions to actor Tod Fennel, who plays Taro in the upcoming game, his work on the game, and what he expects from Kena: Bridge of Spirits in general. You can read our interview below.
"As a team, Ember Lab takes their time and is incredibly attentive to detail. As an actor and a writer, I could feel that they set out from the very beginning to not only build an incredible game but tell a very heart centered story."
What can you tell us about your character Taro, and what purpose he serves in the story?
Taro is one of the tortured spirits that Kena as a spirit guide must confront and ultimately help to free from their pain and suffering. He’s experienced a great deal of loss and as a result, is suffering from a tremendous amount of guilt, pain and rage.
In pure gameplay terms, what sort of a boss encounter does Kena have against Taro?
I wish I could say more, but until the official release date, all I can say is that it’s EPIC.
We don’t very often see games take this kind of a human approach to storytelling, where we get to fight against a character but also learn in great detail about what brought them to this point. It’s understandable, because that can be an incredibly tricky thing to nail. How does Kena: Bridge of Spirits approach this?
As a team, Ember Lab takes their time and is incredibly attentive to detail. As an actor and a writer, I could feel that they set out from the very beginning to not only build an incredible game but tell a very heart centered story. Each and every character’s backstory is well plotted out and has a great deal of depth to it. The cinematics are breath-taking and are like short films in their own right. The game is like a playable Pixar film.
"I was definitely surprised at how quickly and seamlessly the game transitions from a light hearted feel to the intense boss battles."
You’ve talked before about the kind of intensely emotional story Kena: Bridge of Spirits is going to be telling- can you speak a bit more about that? For instance, what sort of a balance does the game strike between the issues being faced by its characters but taking a more lighthearted approach as well?
I was definitely surprised at how quickly and seamlessly the game transitions from a light hearted feel to the intense boss battles. This is achieved technically through an impressive use of visuals and musical choices. From an artistic perspective, the contrast is a testament to the type of character Kena is, and in my opinion, a commentary on the ideal warrior. Someone who comes from a place of love but can throw down with the meanest and most powerful villains and come out on top. She comes from a place of love and that is exactly what gives her her power.
You’ve had acting roles in a number of games over the years. How would you say working on Kena: Bridge of Spirits has been different from your other roles, if at all?
Being a smaller company, everyone at Ember Lab was very kind and accessible. They were able to give us actors the time we needed to feel what we needed to feel in order to get the best performances out of us. I also had no idea the level of excitement and anticipation this game would generate at the very start but could feel that something about this game was very special given the depth of the character development.
"I think it’s an amazing game that’s going to surprise a lot of people."
Ember Lab has a lot of experience with animation, of course, but this is their first game, and it’s looking like quite an ambitious project. What has your experience working on it with them been like?
It’s been amazing, they’ve been extremely kind and helpful every step of the way.
What are your overall thoughts on Kena? What do you think will separate it from its competition?
I think it’s an amazing game that’s going to surprise a lot of people. The depth of the characters, the attention to detail and the visuals will have people begging for a sequel. Fingers crossed!