Overwatch took the gaming world by storm when it was released by Blizzard in May 2016 and hasn’t let up since then. Every character on the game’s diverse roster has built a dedicated fanbase, but perhaps none as fervent as Hana Song, better known as D.Va. A lot of the attraction to D.Va can be attributed to her memorable, adorable quotes she throws in as she’s pwning noobs — “Nerf this!” she’ll yell as she hucks an exploding mech your way. “Hehe, GG!”
That is to say, the character wouldn’t be what it is today without its voice actor, Charlet Chung. Charlet, a California based actress who has appeared on shows such as 90210 and Weeds, doesn’t just provide voice lines for the game — she’s an avid player herself. “I play every day as much as possible, especially because D.Va is an expert gamer herself,” she explained.
D.Va’s character is a bit unique in that it’s almost meta. In the world of Overwatch, Hana Song is a professional gamer who was actually recruited by the military because of her gaming skills. “She was an expert Starcraft player and because she was such a champion, the government decided to rely on her in the world of Overwatch,” explained Chung. Asked if she brings any of her personality to the character beyond her voice, Chung believes she does. “I’m half Japanese and half Korean. The history between the two countries and the turmoil, I liken to the [war with the] Omnics.”
As far as staying true to D.Va’s defining characteristic of being a hardcore gamer, Chung said she tries to channel that as well. “I play every day as much as possible especially because D.Va is an expert gamer herself,” she said. It may be surprising to learn, though, that she didn’t always main D.Va. “In the beginning I was playing on PC, and I was maining Roadhog for a couple weeks, and I realized, ‘you know what, D.Va is a gamer, and I really need to learn how to kick butt. So I started playing D.Va on PS4, so I’m a console gamer now.” She tends to stick to the character she helps bring to life nowadays, after playing Roadhog for some time. “I’m just gonna cut to the chase here–yes, D.Va main. I tried Mercy, I tried Soldier: 76, but at the end of the day every team needs a tank.”
Will she venture into D.Va’s game of choice, Starcraft? “Starcraft is such a hard game!” she admitted. “It takes hours and hours to get to that expert level. I haven’t gotten that opportunity yet time wise but I do want to try to be a good Starcraft player. Right now I’m trying to be an expert D.Va.”
Chung was asked about her history with gaming. She recalled, “One of the first video games I played was Street Fighter 2. Because I felt like I looked the most like Chun Li, I felt like I needed to pick her as a character. She was cute, but I didn’t necessarily feel like she was the strongest character. I liked Ryu. I felt like I needed to fit the mold of Chun Li, so I picked her.”
This memory brought us to Chung talking about what she feels is one of the most important aspects of Overwatch: its theme of embracing diversity. “What I like about Overwatch, there’s a character for everybody.” She went on to explain that D.Va being a female, or a Korean, or petite, doesn’t mean she isn’t picked as much as the stronger, male characters. “I feel it’s important to have a game like Overwatch that is centered around diversity and everybody can find a character they like whether or not they look like them.”
Playing Overwatch all the time, voice chat must come up. A member of the audience asked if she ever speaks while playing, and if anybody’s caught on that they are playing with the real D.Va. She told the audience about a time she was playing at Max Mittelman, the English voice actor for One-Punch Man’s house, and he told the people they were playing with that they were in the presence of the real D.Va. “The reaction was ‘yeah, whatever, just play,’ so we turned the mic off.” She noted, however, that being a female gamer has exposed her to some unfortunate conversations. “Just hearing my voice as a female, I get ragged on a lot and get lewd things said to me. I was glad I experienced it because I realize that’s what people go through. If you have an accent they might make fun of you. Even if you’re a noob…people are so mean.”
As far as how she came up with the iconic voice for D.Va, “I ended up channeling my best Girls Generation and CL.” Chung is a fan of K-POP like that, so it influenced D.Va’s bubbly speaking style. When asked if there were any lines that were cut from the final version of the game, Chung revealed that originally, D.Va was to have a line parodying “Gangam Style.” “One line that never made it was “oh oh oh, oppa D.Va style!”
Lastly, Chung was asked what makes her the saltiest while playing the game. “UGGHHHH…Mei! That girl is savage! She’s always like, ‘Sorry sorry sorry sorry…’ Yeah, whatever!” she said to huge applause. Many people felt her pain, including me–Mei is a serious pain to play against!