I recently got the chance to talk to the legend that is Jon St. John, who is widely known as the voice of Duke Nukem. Here, Jon talks about ‘Duke Nukem Forever’, how he got into voice-over and what’s coming up for him in 2011….
Hey Jon. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. After a decade of drama and continuous speculation, ‘Duke Nukem Forever’ was finally released in gaming stores this month. How does it feel to be back? It must be nice to finally be able to talk about it properly without the threat of legal action and people going ‘Is it ever going to come out?’…
It’s great to have Duke back! And even better to have that “I told you so” feeling, after having so many people tell me that is was never going to happen…when I KNEW it was!
I’ve managed to get the chance to play the first 10 or so minutes of the game….to sum it up, you get to take a piss in a urinal, draw on a whiteboard, throw a piece of sh1t about, fight an alien monster and get a blowjob off two women – they’ve thought of everything in this game haven’t they? It’s a massive interactive environment!
It’s so interactive….you can even play pinball, air hockey, drive the RC truck, and interact with many items that provide an EGO boost, such as the punching bag. Doesn’t that just make the whole experience more fun? I LOVE this game!!!
A number of different reviews have already come out about the game and they all seem to be a pretty mixed bag – I’ve heard one reviewer call it the ‘Chuck Norris of videogames’…whilst another has said: “It’s a clumsily put together game that, even when it tries hard to deliver exciting action set pieces like fights against giant bosses, feels dull and derivative.” – what is your reaction to both comments?
My reaction is: THIS IS NOT ‘CALL OF DUTY’, or any other FPS. It’s Duke freakin’ Nukem!! Obviously the reviewers who are slamming the game didn’t play ‘Duke 3D’ back in the day and they just don’t understand what Duke is all about. Sheesh!
Talking about Chuck Norris – if Chuck Norris and Duke Nukem got into a fight, who would come out victorious?
Duke – he’s way bigger, and more of a bad-ass than Chuck. Not that Chuck isn’t a bad-ass, but Duke is just tougher I believe.
Why do you think Duke Nukem is so popular?
When you play DNF, you ARE Duke. You are enjoying all the crazy shit he gets into, and it’s not just another shoot-em-up game, it goes much deeper than that. Fans of the original ‘Duke 3D’ remember how fun it was, and the waiting for 14 years just created a bigger buzz than ever when the game was finally released.
How did you get involved in the original Duke Nukem project in the first place?
I was a radio station production director when I met Lani Minella, one of the top casting directors in the business, and she asked if I would consider trying voice acting for video games. Among the first few games I auditioned for and landed was ‘Duke 3D’.
In a previous interview for Demon FM, located here – you stated you were interested in the possible idea of ‘Duke On Ice’ – what’s the current status of this project?
That was a joke that Demon FM made…I just went along with it. Silly, huh?
But no seriously, have there been any developments on Duke Nukem being turned into a full feature film, now the game has been released? Do you want this to happen? Do you think it is likely the powers that be will create another game or something else before someone comes up with a screenplay?
I hope with all my heart that Hollywood takes notice of this outrageous character and someone will make the first-ever R rated CGI film. It should be a Duke Nukem movie. This could start a whole new genre of feature films, and in CGI anything is possible today. This is the kind of movie I would enjoy, and hey – if the comic book characters of yester-years can have feature-length films, why not Duke? Lara Croft did.
In your mind, what makes a good video-game? The voice or game play?
It has to be the game play. Surprised? The voice work is just a small part of what makes a great game, the play action is really more important in my opinion.
What has been the weirdest gift a fan has ever given you?
I really can’t say in an interview, but over drinks some time…I may just spill my guts.
What’s the line that people always get you to say as Duke?
“I’ve got balls of steel…”
Tell us a bit about you Jon – what made you want to get into voice-acting in the first place?
My 30+ year radio career. I was a morning show nut, creative director, production manager…these jobs led my right into voice acting.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the voice-acting industry? I’ve talked to loads of voice-artists and the response I always get is – “It’s very hard, but not impossible”…
Yes, it is very hard. My advice is: don’t quit your day job. You can’t earn enough money as a newbie voice actor to survive, so make it a hobby until you get REALLY good at it.
What does a Jon St. John day usually consist of? I imagine it’s nothing like Duke’s…
You are correct. It’s all about recording auditions for various projects, producing radio and TV commercials, answering fan mail, and raising my kids. Not Duke-like at all, really.
What’s coming up for you and Duke in 2011?
That remains to be seen. I will be attending several cons (I really enjoy meeting fans) and I hope to create enough buzz with my You Tube channel, (stdukem is my channel name) to make a little side money with ads.
Thanks for the interview!