Rising Star!

﷯By Rachel Wright Almost every serious gamer would be thrilled to be invited to voice a character in a super-popular video game or game series. But for a young Corpus Christi business owner who has been a gamer most of his life, a recent notification from Bioware, a division of Electronic Arts (EA) Games that named him one of two winners in an international voice-over contest, was more like a life-long dream come true. Kyle Land, better known as Phantom Savage in the YouTube world, says he was thrilled to fly out to the West Coast in January to record his voice as a character in the soon-to-be and much-anticipated release of the fourth installment of the super successful and uber-popular Mass Effect video game series. “I must admit I was a little surprised when I received an email from Bioware that I was one of two people selected to voice a character in the upcoming release of Mass Effect Andromeda,” Land said. “Entering the contest was pure luck really. I was late seeing the announcement and threw together a quick voice-over recording and submitted it just before the deadline. I had all but forgotten about it until the day I received word from a Bioware official.” Land, who started his own company last year, Lonely Wolf Productions, plays the part of a mercenary in the new Mass Effect game and was also asked to voice a few other minor characters in the game once he arrived in the studio. The contest, known as “Explorers Wanted,” was Bioware's way of allowing voice-actors and even fans to submit a “cold audition” tape using one of two scripts provided by the gamemaker. Bioware's Sean Trayner says the release date for the newest game has been set for March 21 (2017). If pre-sales of the fourth game in the mega-series are any indication, the game will be exceptionally successful for Bioware. Some gaming sources are already calling Mass Effect Andromeda a selection for "Game of the Year" awards. “We received over 16,000 entries, each filled with enthusiasm, skill, and passion. It was difficult to narrow down such a talented field, but two explorers made it to the stars...KyleLand and Cari Scholtens,” Trayner noted. Company officials say Mass Effect: Andromeda is an action role-playing third-person shooter video game developed by BioWare developers for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. ﷯Land is no doubt genuinely pleased to win the contest, which came with a recording reward and a trip to Bioware's Los Angeles sound studios. "It was amazing working with real professionals of the industry including Judy Alice, the sound engineer, Caroline Livingstone, the director, and game recording artists Tom Taylorson and Freda Wulff, the main characters for the new game," Land said. He said the experience was "exhilarating" and said it affirmed that he was doing what he wants to do for his entire voice actor career. Those who know or have worked with him say he is being modest about winning the contest. As a child he was raised in and around radio stations and spent years playing and working in radio production rooms across the Southwest. “My father worked as an air-talent or talk show host in radio stations across a three state region including a few years here in Corpus Christi where I was born. My mother was also a radio host at one time and before that was a stage and film actress and is still active in the industry, so I guess performance art is in my blood,” Land notes. In addition, Land is represented by the Blanco Acting Agency, owned and operated by Corpus Christi native Lydia Blanco Garza, also a successful actress and acting coach. In addition to attending acting for the camera classes conducted by Blanco-Garza, he also attended Master Classes coached by Kevin Spacey and screenplay writer Aaron Sorkin. “I really enjoy acting and can foresee working in and around the film industry in the future. But most of all I have always aspired to be a voice-actor in the gaming industry. I am just happy for this opportunity to do a part in the new Mass Effect franchise and am looking forward to more voice work in the industry,” he said. The Mass Effect game series has been described as an epic science fiction story, the product of the best parts of Star Trek, Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica. Extremely successful, the series has been called “one of the most important pieces of science fiction narrative of our generation” according to Popbioethics blogger Kyle Munkittrick.