Our primary goals when approaching Eagle’s audio was that of authenticity and respect. This included his voice, of course, but it also included his music and sound design. We worked with Josiah Blackeagle Pinkham, Thomas tátlo Gregory, and Anthony toyáaxnin Smith and spoke with them about the language of the Nez Perce and traditional pieces of music that are important to them. We took recordings of Anthony singing and I worked with Atlas Plug and Celldweller to come up with an original track that featured Tony’s vocals but also maintained the “Killer Instinct Sound”. As usual, Atlas Plug and Celldweller delivered an amazing piece of music, but one that is also grounded in the Nez Perce culture. It’s one of my favorite pieces.
When working on the voice-over script, it became apparent that it would be incredibly difficult for a non-native speaker of the Nez Perce language to pay it the proper respect while also keeping the energy of a warrior in mid-conflict intact. We decided the best way of handling this would be to have a member of the Nez Perce be the voice of Eagle. It just made sense. We asked Thomas (tátlo) if he would be interested and got him in the vocal booth. I was a little nervous at first but the minute he started, my mind was at ease. He was a natural and it’s a perfect fit that he is the voice of Eagle.
For the trailer, I had the idea of using Anthony’s voice as the “Tribal Storyteller” that would narrate Eagle’s journey. I ran the idea by Adam Isgreen and Noble Smith, and they thought it was a cool idea, so we were a go. It was pretty amazing to hear Tony tell the story of Eagle while Josiah, Thomas, and their families all sat in the control room listening.
Working with the Nez Perce and on Eagle has been a highlight in my career. I’ve come away changed. These people have made this little game of ours a bit more important. It’s become a small entry in an incredibly rich historical record for an amazing culture and heritage. I’m proud to have been a tiny part of it.