Inspiration can come from all sorts of places, and that certainly applies to some part of F-Zero X. Former Associate Producer at Nintendo of America Jim Wornell has revealed the inspiration behind the voice of the game’s announcer. And it came from another popular racing game from the 90’s – Ridge Racer.
In an interview on the Kiwi Talkz podcast, Wornell talks about his time as Associate Producer on the high-speed racing game N64. He was approached by Nintendo of Japan, who were looking for some voices for the game’s announcer – a pretty crucial role for a racing game. Wornell was specifically contacted as he had overseen voice work at Star Fox 64.
Using the same Seattle studio he used for Star Fox 64, Wornell and two other employees recorded their lines for Mr. Zero (that’s the announcer’s name). sure I made it.”
When host Reece asked Reilly about Wornell’s preparation, his approach was a little unconventional:
“I also played Ridge Racer a lot and modeled my voice after the Ridge Racer announcer because I thought, you know, he had this great intonation. And I know you always have it when you’re recording stuff to crank up your volume, your emotions, a little bit more, because otherwise it sounds flat.”
Well, there really isn’t a better inspiration for a loud, excited and intense announcer than the guy from Ridge Racer, really – just go inside! Of course we all know the icon Riiiiidge Raceeerrrrr – it’s one of the most impressive voice clips from the ’90s – but in all Mr Zero announcements there’s a real energy in that voice.
We think Wornell did a pretty good job too! We all remember: “Too bad! You lost your machine!” and that creepy laugh, right? Obviously there’s a bit of futuristic distortion, but that Ridge Racer inspiration is evident.
Wornell didn’t just do the voice for F-Zero X either. He’d learned a few lessons working on another game on the much-ridiculed Virtual Boy:
“I did the voiceover work for Galactic Pinball for Virtual Boy, and I remember thinking when I did it, I thought I sounded cool, but when I go back and play the game, I sound really flat , so if I stay If I do this, I need to get better. So I made sure to be on my game while recording the voiceover work for F-Zero.
Those are the only two games Wornell has spoken for at Nintendo, but he was bitten by the bug as a result. And while he doesn’t have much credit for his name, he says it’s “a lot of fun,” although he admits it’s “tough business.”
Reilly’s interview with Wornell is a fascinating listen that uncovers the mysteries and strains of graphic design at Nintendo throughout the N64 and GameCube years, including Crunch on Zelda: Ocarina of Time and the numerous logo iterations for Metroid Prime.
Listen to the full episode below, and let us know what your favorite F-Zero X announcer lines are in the comments!
https://www.nintendolife.com/news/2022/05/random-the-f-zero-x-announcers-voice-was-inspired-by-ridge-racer Random: F-Zero X’s announcer’s voice was inspired by Ridge Racer