Below, you’ll find our latest interview with Stephen Oyoung! An actor-turned-voice-actor who has found new love in bringing life to a slew of videogame characters you might recognise, such as the infamous Martin Li/Mr. Negative from Marvel's Spider-Man and KK from Ghostwire: Tokyo! Find answers to our burning questions, like whether he prefers voice acting, his favourite roles, and even whether he prefers Marvel or DC!
What inspired you to try voice acting in the first place?
I actually got my first voice agent after the success of Marvel's Spider-Man. I had done Mocap, film, and TV acting but never voice-over before that!
Is voice acting what you thought it would be? Why or why not?
It's been awesome! It's opened a whole range of projects in my career, from animation to videogames. And as an actor, I love to work, so to be able to do more has been a joy.
You've acted as a variety of characters throughout many types of games. Which has been the most memorable character, and why?
I have to always give it up to Martin Li/Mr. Negative. It's been my most prominent role to date; it's the one that's opened so many doors in the voice-acting realm. It's my calling card. It's such a huge franchise that I'm constantly amazed and grateful that I'm part of it. I feel like all roads in my career as an actor, martial artist, and stunt choreographer led to this point and culminated in this character.
It seems you've picked up many more voiced roles recently. Have you found more enjoyment in it than in traditional acting? Feel free to elaborate!
I love that with voice acting, you're able to do a lot of work. Thankfully — knock on wood — there are tons of videogame and animation projects, so it keeps me busy. My goal has always been to be like the Asian American Samuel L. Jackson, just be in a lot of projects all the time, so voice acting has been a boon in my overall career and life. I also love how relaxed the actual shoots in the studios are. It's not a high-pressure environment with giant crews and all those moving parts. It's you, the engineers, and the mic.
What do you enjoy the most about voice acting?
The range of characters you can play. You can really go for it. You can literally be anything. And emotional range is there, too. Anything from the quietest whisper to the loudest yell. It all shows up. It's fun to play with that scale.
What has been the biggest challenge you've faced in voice acting? Which was your most challenging role?
The biggest challenge sometimes is just the sheer number of lines. Obviously, vocal strain is something to keep an eye on, but it's also when you're in gameplay mode, and you've got a couple hundred lines of varying context to perform. That's when concentration and imagination come into play. Ghostwire: Tokyo was fun in that way. We went through hundreds of pieces of dialogue on any given day because KK was that inner voice that not only gave exposition but was also a character with feelings and responses in his own right. That was very satisfying to perform.
What inspires you to take a certain character in voice acting?
I think if a character is funny, strong, or fighting for something, these are the ideas that interest me. If it's interesting to me, then I can really get into the character's headspace and perform naturally. I love big emotions. I love to play those moments.
Considering the array of videogames you've acted in (including Marvel's Spider-Man 2), are you a fan of gaming, and if so, which games?
My favourite game of all time is Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. I must have copied and practised close-quarter combat for hours every day when I played that. That game had everything I could ever ask for in an action game or even a movie. I still love it to this day.
Were you surprised that Insomniac Games wanted to bring back Mister Negative for Marvel's Spider-Man 2?
I was over the moon when I got the call to come back. I thought it'd be a cameo; you know they're very secretive in the development process. So, to see the scope of Martin's return has been so satisfying. I can't praise Insomniac enough for their brilliant writing.
Since you voiced Red Hood in Gotham Knights and Mister Negative in both Marvel's Spider-Mans, do you prefer DC comics or Marvel comics?
You can't make someone choose between them! In all honesty, when I was younger, I wanted to be a comic book artist, so of course, I had love for both DC and Marvel. The rivalry between the two is great, and sometimes, one will seem to be tipping the scale more than the other, but ultimately, what can you say? They're institutions!
I’d love to extend a big thank you to Stephen Oyoung for the huge opportunity! As someone who is a big fan of learning about what voice actors go through, it was a huge deal to me. Don’t forget to check out Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 on PlayStation!