ADR1FT, Life After FIREWATCH, and Space – An Interview with Cissy Jones
We got to chat with the lovely Cissy Jones for another interview, this time all about her brand new game Adr1ft! I hope you all enjoy this and make sure to follow Cissy on Twitter for even more video game fun and updates on her work.
AoG: Hello! It’s so nice to talk to you again. When I heard about Adr1ft, I got so excited, so to start this off, for people who may not know, what kind of game is Adr1ft?
Cissy: Adam Orth, whose the creator, likes me to describe Adr1ft as a first person experience. You are an astronaut who wakes up in the middle of her space station that has been completely decimated, your suit is leaking oxygen, you have to survive and figure out what happens and how to get back to earth.
AoG: Oh cool! Just from watching the game, and I know we spoke about doing mocap work last time, did you have to do any type of mocap work for Adr1ft
Cissy: Not for this one, no, this one was just a straight recording session. I would have loved to do some mocap work for it, but sadly not for this one.
AoG: Oh, okay! I was just so curious after watching the trailers… I kept wondering, haha. And I know last time we talked about Firewatch and how real it felt, is that something we’ll see (and feel) with Adr1ft? Cause just based on trailer, it seems VERY realistic.
Cissy: Yeah, it’s… it’s a really beautiful game. And the team and Three One Zero went above and beyond. It’s just absolutely stunning and from what I understand, people who’ve played it, at first the sound- because it’s basically me mouth breathing for 6 hours, apparently at first its pretty jarring. You know, what is this breathe noise, like go away, and than as you get into it, I’ve heard that people, when your suit starts leaking oxygen and the character starts panicking a little bit and breathing a little heavier, the player will also kind of start experiencing that. And they’ll be like “No, no, no, don’t breathe too much!”, haha!
AoG: Oh my god, that’s amazing! I could definitely tell from the trailer that’s it is very intense!
Cissy: Yes! And I’m not sure if you’ve heard about Adam… but he actually got help from some of the guys from Weezer for the music. Isn’t that awesome?!
AoG: Really?! That is so cool! I bet he was really excited about that!
Cissy: He is! Adam was a musician before was a game designer, so he was captain into that whole world and now he gets help from the guys at Weezer (for Adr1ft), which is so cool.
AoG: I know you play the lead in the game, Alex, but you also play Elizabeth, so how is it voicing two characters in the same game that also interact?
Cissy: That part was fine. Since I did that in The Walking Dead, it wasn’t much of an issue but you meet Elizabeth through recorded video logs because she’s already dead and Alex only says, I think, 5 words in the whole game. So it’s really strange to go from Firewatch where its me just blabbing nonstop for 5 hours to just breathing for 4 hours.
AoG: So did you actually have to breathe for 4 hours or did they just record a little bit and loop it?
Cissy: I think we did a good two hours of breathing and they looped a bunch of it, but that was one of the stranger voice recordings I’ve had. Trying not to pass out, haha.
AoG: I imagine so! So what was it like seeing the world- did you see the gameplay before or after you did your voice recording sessions?
Cissy: They had a trailer out. They’d released one trailer with breathing sounds they’d found online and just basic gameplay that showed going through the space station and finding some things. And when I booked the audition, it was actually under the real name of the game, which is kinda rare. Usually they’re under fake names, so I have no idea what I’m recording, so I was able to Google Adr1ft and look it up and I was able to see some of the gameplay and I was just awestruck, it’s so beautiful.
AoG: Just for the record, I really love your track record of video games. You see to do the most amazing games. Also I just finished Firewatch by the way and I absolutely loved the ending and how real it felt.
Cissy: Well thank you! I love them! And yeah, it’s been really polarizing for a lot of people but I feel like that’s kind of how life is. I love what Sean did with it and I have in my head a little idea for an epilogue (for Delilah). But I love the way that it ended and I think the fact that it’s gotten people talking is important.
AoG: Definitely, definitely. I didn’t know what to expect but it was much more personal and it felt tragic in moments, especially the big reveal at the end. I just- it was really, really good!
Cissy: I’m so glad! Thank you for saying that. I really love. I also understand why people are- why it’s a polarizing ending but I love it. I think it’s really beautiful.
AoG: Yeah, me and my friend are replaying it because we’re trying to do the other conversation choices.
Cissy: I read an article, I think I tweeted it a few weeks ago, about a reporter who played the game through ignoring Delilah and how sad it was. I was like that’s just mean, why would you do that? Haha!
AoG: Oh man, now I kind of want to test that out and see what happens! But speaking of Firewatch, I now we never see Delilah’s face, is that the same with Adrift? Will we never see Alex’s face?
Cissy: You can find her personal profile on the ships computer, so you can see a picture of what she looks like and actually Three One Zero has released a picture of her too. But yeah, we know what she looks like!
AoG: Going into the behind the scenes work, since this about space, did you do any type of preparation for this role? Like just learning about space and the effort that would go into a mission like this?
Cissy: I’ve always been obsessed with space! One of my very favorite books is Cosmos by Carl Sagan. When I was a kid I used to dream about going to the stars with my cousin and it’s always been a dream and obsession of mine, so to book this role, it was really gratifying.
AoG: You get the best of both worlds!
Cissy: Yeah and than you get that panic. My husband and I were just watching Gravity, which Adr1ft is drawing a lot of comparisons too, even though this game was in production long before Gravity was, but that panic, that sheer terror- you know this is not a situation you can kill or shoot your way out of, you have to figure out how to survive while being alone, so that informed a lot of what was going on as well.
AoG: I’m actually glad to hear it was in production before Gravity cause I feel like this is more… watching a film is intense, but actually experiencing it is a whole other, stressful world.
Cissy: Yes, you’ll have to tell what you think of it! Just breathing in those scenes- I’m excited to see how people react to it. Is the breathing annoying or is it become part of your gameplay experience?I’m really curious to see how people react to it.
AoG: And for a final question, I kind of wanted to go back to Firewatch right quick and just ask how have you felt about the response its gotten? It’s been all the talk and *the* game for all these online players, especially in the YouTube community. Everyone is talking about Firewatch. How has this been to witness?
Cissy: It’s been surreal. We recorded for two years and put so much heart into. I was pertrified the night before. But so far people have been great about Delilah and their relationship and the comments have been uplifting and it’s felt really good. The response has been overwhelmingly outstanding. I mean, I got a marriage proposal from Twitter, haha!
AoG: Well I just wanted to say congrats on it. I have quite a few friends who were always talking game development and it seems like Firewatch has opened up a few doors where we see less is more and with that it’s more accessible, especially for beginners in the game dev world like me. It’s been a big game changer. People keep talking about Twine and the opening of the game where its text only… I think it’s just amazing and great for people starting off in game development. So congrats!
Cissy: Thank you! It’s funny cause a lot of complaints I heard were that there’s not enough wild life is out in the wilderness, there needs to be more wildlife. And people don’t realize that only 11 people made this game. 11 people. The entire game. 11 people on a shoestring budget. Even The Walking Dead, there was 50 people working on that game. Just the scope of manpower alone, what they were able to accomplish is phenomenal and to see it become part of the conversation is amazing. I love that, for me personally, especially as an actor, that these narrative driven stories are becoming mainstream. They’re so much fun to be a part of and great to be a character like Delilah or even Alex in Adr1ft and not just be like “Grenade! Get down!”.