Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch is just coming off its first inaugural season of Overwatch League and the game couldn’t be any hotter. Two expansion teams have been announced and four more are expected to follow before season 2 begins. It’s estimated that there are over 40 million players worldwide and the numbers are only going to continue to increase as Blizzard expands into new markets around the globe.
The game’s players are fiercely loyal to their favorite Overwatch League teams, but even more so to their favorite heroes. So being a Mercy main, I was more than a little excited when I found out that Lucie Pohl, the voice actress for Mercy, was coming to FAN EXPO Boston this weekend. I wasn’t the only one, not by a long shot. The room was absolutely jam packed with diehard fans who couldn’t wait to dive into learning more about the voice for Overwatch‘s quintessential support hero.
What followed was a hilarious and fun Q&A session, that included a surprising amount of David Hasselhoff.
Anything you’ve experienced at a con that was weird or intimidating?
Lucie Pohl: I was once asked to sign a baby. It was like 3 weeks old and they wanted me to sign the onesie. They just laid the baby down on the table in front of me. I didn’t know how to do it, babies move around a lot, obviously. It was awkward.
How did you get into voice acting and performing?
Lucie Pohl: It runs in the family. I come from a theater and performing family in Europe — Germany and Romania. My family is filled with performers. My dad is an actor, my mom’s a singer, my sister is an actor and a writer, my cousin performs — everyone’s in the business. Everyone is crazy! We all laugh, cry and then we’re hugging each other a minute later. It runs in the family, absolutely. It would have been a rebellion not to go into performance.
Did you find yourself drawn to classic performing? What did you want to do as a performer?
Lucie Pohl: Good question. I think you find that out about yourself over time as your grow up. I started doing comedy. But my family wasn’t big on comedy. My dad’s a very political writer. I had to find out for myself that in the beginning and as a female as well, it’s sometimes difficult to let go of the expectations that society puts on you to be pretty, likeable, etc. I had to say this is who I am, being silly and funny and playing those types of characters. I always wanted to play male characters and was always told no. It took me a while to break out of that and say “I don’t care. I’m going to do whatever I want.”
Growing up did you have women that you looked up to?
Lucie Pohl: Oh absolutely! Whoopi Goldberg was huge. I never saw gender as a barrier for who you can idolize. I’m lucky because I grew up in a very unconventional family. I recently found photos of myself at age 6 impersonating a former male German prime minster. With pillows stuffed in my shirt and glasses on, age 6, wanting to be the prime minster of Germany.
When you’re working on this game, do you see your co-workers or do they just shut you in a booth?
Lucie Pohl: We’re always alone in the booth. We never record with other actors. Its kind of sad but that’s just the nature of the game. With video games it doesn’t happen often that you get to record with other people. It’s a 4 hour seession at maximum. We only get to hang out with each other if we meet up with one another outside of work or at cons.
What other voice actors who do Overwatch characters are you close to?
Lucie Pohl: Charlet (D.Va) and I are so close, we have so much in common, we love each other so much. Johnny is always so much fun. Johnny is crazy — he gets people at conventions to beat box with him. I can’t really say who’s the most fun. Everyone is fun and unique in their own way. Everyone is so cool. It’s such a gift to be on a cast with so many people who are so diverse and so amazing, with these incredible backgrounds. It’s really really unique to be on a cast with 28 other people who are all phenomenal. Rolling Stone called us the Beatles of the voice acting world.
Were you a gamer before you started doing voices for video games?
Lucie Pohl: Does Tetris count? I dream of voicing Tetris [Lucie proceeded to hum the classic Tetris jingle and the crowd loved it]. Ummm Super Mario, Sega with Sonic the Hedgehog, I also played a lot of car racing games when I was younger. I had a Game Boy — ugh, now I’m dating myself. I had a Walkman! A Walkman okay!? None of you know what that is. I had this friend who stole a David Hasselhoff cassette off of me. I was already in the States and I had imported this very important picece of German culture with me. So the next time I was at his house, I went into his house and stole a Game Boy game. I’m not telling you kids you should do this. But his dad had bought him this crazy game from Japan that had like 125 games on it and I took it. He took my David Hassellhoff! My mom would never buy me any of his stuff because he was a famous singer in Germany and his singing was awful. She would never let me hang up posters of him. My mom would sleep in my room and say “I’m not sleeping under that pervert’s face!”.
I should note that Lucy Pohl taught the entire room how to say “I love David Hasselhoff” in German.
When you first got the role did you have any idea what you were getting into?
Lucie Pohl: No. I had no idea. Which is a probably a good thing. The Blizzard director was like “you know this is going to be really big right?” and I was like “sure yeah right whatever”. I didn’t know much about Blizzard or this video game world that I was entering. I had no idea, but like I said, I think it was a good thing or I would have psyched myself out.
What are some other voices you’d consider doing for Mercy?
Lucie Pohl: DIE! DIE! DIE! No just kidding [laughs]. When Mercy’s hungover! I’d be lying if I said I went through a lot of voices when I first worked on nailing down Mercy. It’s kind of based off my mom, it came to me quickly, I kept it soft and in my natural range. They wanted something real and that felt authentic to her. They liked it right off the bat, in the first session we found the right pitch for it and the proper strength of the accent.
What other characters would you like to voice?
Lucie Pohl: I’d love to voice Hulk. I’m 5’1″ and I weigh 106 pounds, but I don’t feel that way. I have body dysmorphia, I feel like I’m 7 feet tall and green. HULK SMASH! I’d love to play an alien of some sort. I’d like to do Gollum one day.
What’s one of your favorite Mercy lines?
Lucie Pohl: The pink mercy skin has inspired me so much. For that my favorite line was “helping those in need is its own reward”. I also really like “sometimes I’m not sure why I even bother.”
What’s your take on the history between Moira and Mercy?
Lucie Pohl: It’s such a good question and I want to know too. I refrain from putting my own thoughts in there, because the writers work so hard and do such a good job. There’s something that went on there, but I just don’t know what. Maybe there’s a Hanzo/Genji thing there and they were sisters from another mister. Really hoping for that cinematic! I love Moira, the character design and the voice actor is fantastic.
What’s your favorite part of the Overwatch fandom?
Lucie Pohl: Meeting you guys and hearing all of your unique, individual stories. How diverse and supportive the community is. It brings so many people together and fan enthusiasm is what makes the voice actors so excited to be a part of it. You give the whole game life. I can’t say I have one favorite thing, I think it’s just every individual person and their story.