Laura Bailey’s role as Abby in The Last Of Us 2 was a pivotal one for the voice actor, netting her the Best Performance award in the 2020 Game Awards. In a new interview on the Good Game Nice Try podcast, she’s talked about how rare “fully realized” roles for women were when she first started voice acting for video games, and how the industry has improved since then.
During the interview, Bailey calls back to a conversation she had with fellow voice actor Troy Baker around a decade ago, when the two were neighbors. She was telling him “how frustrating it was in this industry at the time to be a female and to only have roles come up so rarely that were fully fledged people,” she explained. “It was hard for him to understand because, for him, it had always just been a given that that’s the type of roles that he would get to play. I was always the wife, or the sidekick, or the chick that you’re rescuing, or something like that.”
Bailey notably played a “badass” woman in Rayne from BloodRayne, which debuted all the way back in 2002. The actor noted that while Rayne was a strong character, she also couldn’t escape being sexualized. “Rayne had a Playboy spread,” she reminded the podcast hosts. “So much of her reaction noises, the blood-sucking noises, it sounded sexual. Just like Lara Croft–I loved the Tomb Raider games but Lara Croft was super sexualized.”
“It’s not about badass women, it’s about badass characters, and it can be a woman,” Bailey explained, though she said that she had seen some improvement in the industry. “I have seen a lot more roles coming up that are fully realized, they’re completely three-dimensional characters as opposed to just ‘sexy chick swinging a sword.'”
“To see the progression just in this last decade of the amount of roles offered to females has been pretty phenomenal,” she added. “Abby and Ellie are such great characters because they can just be human.”
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