Critical Role released a behind-the-scenes feature exploring the art development of their upcoming animated series The Legend of Vox Machina. A tweet posted by @CriticalRole Wednesday had a video highlighting several members of its and Titmouse Inc. (The Legend of Korra, Big Mouth) teams speaking about how the gaming series came to life.
ANIMATED SERIES HYPE!⚔️
— Critical Role (@CriticalRole) August 26, 2020
The video includes commentary from Critical Role game master and voice actor Matthew Mercer (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Resident Evil: Damnation); actors Ashley Johnson (Blindspot, Growing Pains), Taliesin Jaffe (Mr. Mom, Garo: Vanishing Line), and Liam O’Brien (Carmen Sandiego, Wolverine And The X-Men); and, Titmouse art director Arthur Loftis (Voltron: The Legendary Defender) and supervising director Sun Jin Ahn (Niko and the Sword of Light, Deathstroke: Knights & Dragos). The video can be viewed below.
Critical Role is a group of voice actors who began live-streaming them playing a tabletop RPG game in 2015. According to their Kickstarter, they developed the world of Exandria, a fantastical land where a cast of valiant heroes known as The Vox Machina experience epic adventures. Led by Mercer, the characters include Johnson’s gnome cleric Pike Trickfoot; Jaffe’s gunslinger Percy; and O’Brien’s Vax’ildan, a half-elf rogue. They are joined by Laura Bailey (The Last Of Us Part II, Marvel’s Spider-Man) as Vex’ahlia, Marisha Ray (Batgirl: Spoiled, 8.13) as Keyleth, Travis Willingham (Marvel Avengers Assemble, Batman: The Telltale Series) as Grog, and Sam Riegel’s (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Bad Times at the El Royale) Scanlan Shorthalt.
In March 2019, Critical Role developed a crowdfunding campaign to bring its characters and their world into another medium – animation, via their Kickstarter. Their initial goal was soon surpassed by April. Then the one-time animated project became a two-season order for the series at Amazon Prime. They partnered with Titmouse Inc. to create the art which would become the animated series.
“Titmouse is one of the best animation studios. Period,” executive producer Brandon Auman said from the video. Riegel added how Titmouse “checked all the boxes.”
Along with Titmouse, Critical Role has recruited TV writer Jennifer Muro (Star Wars Forces of Destiny, Spider-Man) to create a new story featuring the Vox Machina team, via their Kickstarter. The narrative will take place before the events of Critical Role’s first season.
“The trajectory of this story over the years has constantly defied our expectations,” O’Brien said in the video. The tales of Exandria have transcended the game, garnering a fanbase known as #Critters who attend live shows, purchase comics, and listen to podcasts. “You think what could possibly live up to it. And the team at Titmouse has really been answering the call.” O’Brien continued in the video.
“The people at the top who define the culture and attitude of the studio are – themselves – huge nerds,” Loftis commented in the video. “This is kinda the dream project because we’re sort of living our dream of finally getting to create this type of property,” Loftis said.
Johnson said in the video the first time she saw early drafts she “went and sat in my car and I just started crying. I can’t believe this is real.” Bailey added she appreciated how Titmouse didn’t attempt to change their original vision. “They want to honor what it is we did,” Bailey said in the video.
According to Comicbook.com, new episodes of Critical Role air every Thursday at 7 p.m. PT on their Twitch channel. Video versions of these episodes debut on their YouTube page the following Monday.