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Scott Burns on voicing Bowser in Mario Sunshine and the mixed reception

Posted on October 30, 2021 by (@NE_Brian) in GameCube, News

Scott Burns, the former voice of Bowser, has spoken about voicing the character in Super Mario Sunshine.

The Mario franchise has never been known for voice acting, but Bowser and other characters did have quite a few lines in the GameCube title. Speaking with Gaming Reinvented about the role, Burns mentioned:

“Any time at a microphone inside a recording studio is a joy. All inhibitions are left at the heavy sound-proof door and it’s, ‘Game-ON-Let’s-DO-This!’ We recorded in the ‘Red Room’ too, which boasted a history of legendary musicians and singers who performed in the same spot as I was occupying. (The pressure to obtain a gold record out of this was palpable.)

In subsequent recording sessions I was able to work with video of Bowser, matching his feet stomps, chest thumps and laughing. Adding physicality to the voice lends to the character becoming even more 3 dimensional… not to mention an exhaustive cardio workout from the multiple takes.”

Burns was also asked if Nintendo had a specific style in mind for Bowser’s voice:

“They told me that while Bowser was technically the bad guy who’s only goal in the game is to mess up Mario, they didn’t want him to be TOO scary because kids would be playing the game. I thought about it a moment and applied my version of a Santa Clause voice with a bit of growl to it. They liked it and the first English speaking Bowser was born.”

Unfortunately, not everyone was happy with how Bowser turned out in Super Mario Sunshine. When asked about the mixed reception from fans, Burns stated:

“I think some fans probably would have liked to have the voice be more fierce, and I’d have to agree with them. If I could do him now, I’d like to put a bit more nuance into the performance as well. They also told me they were going to alter the pitch on some of the lines so, ‘go ahead with what you’re doing.’

One must remember that doing voices for video games is a technical feat as much as acting. Each line must fit into a certain time frame. For instance, they’d tell me, ‘OK… Bowser’s yell has to be exactly 3.8 seconds long, let’s do it again.’ Or, ‘Can you make him growl, but then have him morph that into a laugh? This one needs to come in at 4.5 seconds.'”

According to Burns, Nintendo needed to find a new voice actor after Super Mario Sunshine due to issues with the Screen Actors Guild. Since he was concerned about losing his SAG membership, he decided to leave the role.

Bowser will again have a speaking role when the character appears on the big screen with the Super Mario animated movie in 2022. Jack Black will be playing the character in that film.

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