The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is the latest instalment of the Trails series, and Sean Chiplock plays the lead role of Rean Schwarzer.
A beloved RPG Series
The Trails series has grown popular over the years, and Chiplock did extensive research on the series to be prepared for the recording sessions.
“I wasn’t familiar with the series before getting cast as Rean, but after I was cast as Rean I definitely worked on getting familiar with it. To me, it was a super important opportunity because it was the first time I had been put in a lead character role,” said Chiplock. “When I was an amateur the running joke was that I loved playing the young male hero protagonist, so the fact that this was actually happening was a huge deal for me,” he said.
Auditioning For The Role of Rean
Chiplock’s audition process was between a normal audition and scout casting. He stated that auditions normally involve submissions for characters. Scout casting is when someone already has you in mind for a specific character and no audition is required.
“This was kind of somewhere in the middle where someone already had me in mind for a particular character, and there was a good chance of getting that. That didn’t mean I didn’t have to compete against five or six other potentials but I was already halfway there so to speak,” said Chiplock.
He added that Brittany Avery, production coordinator of XSEED Games had specific people in mind who she thought would be a good fit for each character.
Playing The Game From Start to Finish
Chiplock recently completed The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, and shares how he felt playing a game he had a role in.
“A lot of people might assume that it’s just like: ‘Oh man this is really exciting!’ But it’s hard not to be super critical of yourself. One of the common things I found myself doing whenever I had a scene with multiple people, the first thing I thought was: How does my performance sound against everyone else? Am I dragging the scene down? Did I do a good job? Even though I did a lot of background research it didn’t mean I fully knew what was happening in every individual scene.”
Chiplock’s gaming experience was also different to other players.
“What also made it different for me as opposed to a lot of people playing the game, is that there are so many people in this cast that I know on a more personal level. I mean I’ve heard of Cam Clarke but I’ve never worked with Cam Clarke,” said Chiplock. “Whereas Edward Bosco, (Machias) Lucien Dodge, (Elliot) Kira Buckland (Celine) who I not only know in terms of their performance but I also know them as people. I’ve hung out with them and I know them on a more intimate level. So it was really cool to be in this game performing with my peers, my friends, and being able to celebrate that we were all bringing this game to life together.”
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel has a strong voice cast, however, there were times throughout the game where Chiplock’s character (Rean) would be muted in terms of voiced lines. Chiplock explains that he wishes Rean had more voiced lines.
“It bothered my fiancée so much because after dealing with an hour of everyone talking together, and have it suddenly change to everyone talking and Rean just being mute really bugged her for awhile. Not only the fanbase but I really wished for the opportunity for Rean to voice more lines.”
Chiplock stated the impact the lack of voiced lines had on his performance.
“Part of it plays to what I said earlier about the judgment of my performance because most of the time when Rean speaks to the audience it’s more of a moving the plot along sort of thing,” Chiplock said. “There is not a lot of nuance to the lines he does speak on most occasions, except when he is being super serious. Whereas you have people like Alisa, Elliot, Sara, and Angelica who are able to play around with their lines because they have so many.”
Chiplock felt that it hindered his ability to bring Rean to life in certain aspects, and would have loved to play with him more. He speculated the reason for this was due to a programming issue but was unable to say for sure.
What’s his impression of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel?
The Trails series has received a positive reception ever since it hit western shores, and Chiplock has his own impressions on The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel.
“I keep telling people that I think it’s unfair to keep comparing the Trails series to the Tales Of series and to constantly take an expansive JRPG with story elements, and immediately compare it to the most well-known example of that franchise,” begins Chiplock. “Because Trails is trying to be its own thing. In that same vein, though, I sometimes complain about how long the scenes go on but I still really like the development that it creates for the characters.”
Chiplock said he appreciated own reasons for liking specific characters such as Jusis, and Gaius and that there were many great moments. This allowed him to feel a sense of friendship among the members of Class VII.
“Another thing that I loved was the direct involvement of the teachers at the school such as instructor Sara and Neithardt,” Chiplock said. “I was reminded of Pokemon X and Y because it was one of the first times the gym leaders actually took an active role in the plot and aren’t just giving you your next badge. It was cool to see that people outside of Class VII were actively involved in the plot and were returned on multiple occasions to offer more than just here’s the events and the text.”
Chiplock dug deep to share what motivates him about the sense of unity in Class VII.
“I think doing a lot of the bonding scenes, and the slow development of the game by going to different places for the field studies really drove home the fact that people are different,” Chiplock said.”It’s very easy to look at everything through the vein of your own life experiences, through your own two eyes and not consider just how wildly different someone else’s life experiences may be.”
Taking Time to Reflect
Chiplock also had a moment of self-reflection recently which he shares in the following story.
“I went to a casino recently and I just had this moment of reflection where I looked out and saw probably a couple hundred people on the casino floor, and I thought it’s really weird to conceptualize that there are people anywhere from 25 to 75 in the room right now and all of them have had a different life than my own,” Chiplock begins. “Completely different upbringing lived in different places, dealt with different things and I couldn’t even begin to process how many different lives there were.”
Playing through The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel also served as a reminder for Chiplock to remain open-minded.
“In the same way by playing through Trails of Cold Steel, and experiencing all these different members of Class VII and their own life, problems, and back story especially when we got to Alisa, Machias, and the other characters it made me remind myself to be open-minded and realize that people around me are different,” Chiplock said. “They have different interpretations and it’s important for me to get to know them before I make judgments.”