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'Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag': Why Casting Edward Kenway Was No Easy Task For Ubisoft (TRAILER)

By Zulai Serrano z.serrano@hngn.com | Nov 05, 2013 04:36 PM EST

Assassin's Creed
"Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag" voice actor for Edward Kenway, Matt Ryan. (Photo : Ubisoft)

Preparing to fill the role of Edward Kenway in "Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag" came with a lot or research, and Ubisoft is giving fans of the series a behind-the-scenes look of the casting process.

Kenway isn't your typical AC leading man: he's got a sharp tongue, a rogue spirit and he only does things that will benefit him. He's dirty and brash, unlike the men who came before him. (Strange to think he's the father to Haythom, grandfather to Connor from AC3)

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Still, Ubisoft left no stone unturned before finding their perfect pirate in voice actor Matt Ryan. Check out the snippets from Ubisoft's interview with Ryan and lead writer Darby McDevitt.

The Transformation of Edward Kenway from Beginning to End

Matt Ryan: "When I auditioned for the part I used a Northern English accent. When we got to Montreal and just started talking, Darby and the guys were like, Hang on, what's your accent? I'm from Wales and Swansea is the port I come from. So we started talking about that, and about making that the part of the world Edward comes from. What's similar between my journey and Edward's is, I left home when I was 19 and lived in Bristol for three years and then I lived in London and then I moved to America. So in terms of just the accent, my accent has traveled. It would be truer to the accent Edward would have."

Darby McDevitt: "That backstory was brilliant. I didn't even know Matt lived in Bristol but I said, Okay, Edward was born in Wales but moved to Bristol. I made that up for the character before I knew that about Matt. Bristol was a very common town for pirates. That's where Blackbeard's accent would have been from. It's a huge port town. That was just a happy accident. I have to admit when we sent out the casting call I asked for a Manchester/Mancunian accent because I'd been listening to a lot of Joy Division interviews and I love the Mancunian accent on Peter Hook and all the guys from Joy Division. So some of the first auditions we saw were true Mancunians and it was cool, but it didn't quite work. It took us a long time to find Edward. We saw maybe 60 people and we finally got Matt."

Ryan's voice was perfect, his looks were a bonus!

McDevitt: "I liked his voice, but because we were now going full performance capture we had to worry about how he looked and held himself. Luckily, our animation director said, Matt has the physicality that's right for Edward. I remember one guy who was a bit too showy - a little too Errol Flynn."

"...[Edward's] like an animal. We needed that combination of a guy who has a warm voice and could be friendly but also commanding. Of course, he also had to be physically impressive. Because of technical constraints he had to be between 5'10" and 6'2"."

Want to know more about the process of finding Edward Kenway? Check out the full story here.


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