By Ruben Velazquez
After the success of its initial season, The Legend of Vox Machina has returned. Critical Role, a popular streaming group made up of voice actors known for their extensive live streams of their ongoing Dungeons and Dragons campaign, is hosting 4 watch parties on Twitch to give deeper insight, and commentary, and answer community questions about this new season.
Mica Burton moderates the watch party’s live streams joined by cast and shows creators Matthew Mercer, Sam Riegel, and Travis Willingham, and joined by special guests Sung Jin, the supervising director, Will Friedle, the voice of Kashaw, and Sunil Malhotra, the voice of Shaun Gilmore, as they give a look behind the creation of The Legend of Vox Machina.
Each provides a different look into the design of the show. The watch party events are not extreme fanfare, but give a vast amount of information about the process of creating the show from the imaginations of creators to the onscreen animation.
Throughout the watch party the voice cast and show creators, Mercer, Riegel, and Willingham, gave a lot of insight into the creation and creative process behind bringing their imagined world into animation.
Mercer provided insight into story-driven ideas and creative decisions that led to the way the new antagonists, the dragons, looked like.
Riegel gave behind-the-scenes looks at moment-to-moment character scenes. He provided a deeper look into how they wanted to personify different characters.
Although the watch party gave a lot of creative and technical insights, the guests provided a lot of funny commentary throughout the watch party keeping a light-hearted tone and bringing the same passion and excitement into their commentary as a fan would. Between each dose of commentary, they answered community questions regarding creative decisions or future ideas for the show.
One of the questions was: how did it feel to have created so many assets for a world and destroy it all, as was depicted in the first episode? Jin explained that they wanted to go all-out with the animation for the destruction of the central city and some animators were ready for the amount of destruction and wanted to go tenfold over the top.
They also talked about how many of the Titmouse animation team are actually long-time fans of the original source of the show. So, many of the animators were actually very well-versed in the source material.
Critical Role took this opportunity to show off some of the behind-the-scenes animatics as well, showing off art and keyframes from the show’s early development life for key scenes.
Mercer talked extensively about the difficulties of creating the show during COVID, and how their performances were all separately recorded and they were not able to work off of each other. This led to many moments where the cast did not see others’ performances until the final product was released, and each had genuine geek-out moments about scenes they were not part of.
Critical Role continues to show that they understand and share the same excitement to see their world come to life as their fans do. Throughout the watch party, you can see the raw passion each of them has for the project.
There will be a total of four watch parties hosted by Critical Role, with the last one airing on February 14 after the airing of the final three episodes on February 10. The watch party will be available to view on Twitch for the live airing or on-demand two days after recording.
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