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Kate Saxon (The Witcher 3/Lead Voice Director) at the SIDE L.A. grand opening

As a gamer you may not have heard of a company called SIDE but trust me you are very familiar with their work.

SIDE is the go to provider of creative services to the video game industry. Some of those services include:

  • Casting for voice sessions
  • Performance capture shoots
  • Actor likeness

SIDE is so well trusted in the industry that chances are the majority of titles you have in your personal library have been touched in some way be the company. Some of the games that SIDE has provided services for include:

  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands
  • Battlefield 1
  • Hitman
  • FIFA 17
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division
  • Star wars Battlefront
  • and Mass Effect: Andromeda to name a few

SIDE has been working its magic from the UK primarily  and has begun to open new offices in the years following their acquisition by Pole to Win in 2015. They have now opened a new studio here in sunny Los Angeles, CA which is home to many AAA and indie video game publishers and developers. On March 23, 2017, SIDE L.A. opened their doors to the press and other industry guests for a ribbon cutting ceremony, press conference and a VIP tour of their shiny new studio.

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Pictured: Jacquie Shriver, Teppi Tachibana, Deborah Kirkham and Andy Emery

The grand opening began with a press conference with  Teppei Tachibana: CEO of Pole To Win International, Deborah Kirkham: COO & President of Pole To Win International, Andy Emery: Senior Director of Global Audio at SIDE and Jacquie Shriver: Head of Studio at SIDE L.A.. After a brief highlight reel showcasing a few of the AAA titles they have worked on, Andy Emery spoke on how voice acting in video games practically did not exist 20 years ago when the company was founded. Emery went on to add that what was there was “pretty rubbish”. I could not agree more and I am sure we all can remember the “hey let’s all look over the writer’s shoulder as he types the script and then record our lines as he types” nightmare that was the voice acting in the original Resident Evil (PS1). We have all been fortunate in the years since then to see voice acting and now performance capture be taken just as seriously as the graphics and gameplay  of the games we love.

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“As this industry has matured and character performances in games have become evermore sophisticated, it’s been really exciting for SIDE to be at the forefront of the evolution” –Andy Emery/Senior Director of Global Audio

During my tour of the new studio, I found myself more than a tad bit amazed at being able to look at all of the recording booths and equipment that I have previously only seen in behind the scenes documentaries. It was really cool to think that I was standing in a room that may very well be where the dialogue is recorded for my next favorite game.

Try as I might I was not able to get anyone to confess to me what titles they are currently working on at SIDE L.A. but I was assured that they already have work  underway so I will bug them a bit more once they have had a chance to settle in…

 

 

All photos and video by Anthony Johnson

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