Yuri Lowenthal
(Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Fandom)

Interview: Yuri Lowenthal Talks Mortal Kombat, Persona, & Hellboy

PlayStation LifeStyle spoke with renowned voice actor Yuri Lowenthal about some of his recent and most beloved roles in video games. Lowenthal discussed being somewhat of a newcomer to the Mortal Kombat franchise and his fondness for his Persona 4 character.

Spencer Legacy: A recent role that you’ve done is Smoke in Mortal Kombat 1, which just came out, and this version’s more involved in the main story than past ones. What was it like to come to that franchise and do all those nasty screams for the Fatalities?

Yuri Lowenthal: It was very new to me in that I was not hugely into Mortal Kombat before. I mean, everybody knows Mortal Kombat. I had played Mortal Kombat, but for years, I had just not been paying attention. So I embarrassed myself when I got into the first session with Dominic Cianciolo, who wrote it and who also directed the voice sessions with me. I was like, “So, tell me all about this new character, Smoke.” And he’s like, “Smoke’s not new. [Laughs]. We haven’t seen him in a while, but he’s not a new character. Let me give you some history.”

But as far as the sounds go, I mean, that’s part of my job on the regular. I’ve worked on so many different video games and all of them include, for the most part, varied deaths. So many of these games are combat games and with you getting set on fire and having bones broken and getting shot in the head. That stuff is sort of my métier or my wheelhouse. What was interesting is, thinking back, I’m trying to remember exactly what the direction was, but I’m pretty sure we did a lot of different stuff to cover a lot of different ground, and then they must have built the Fatalities or built the sounds from pieces of the things that we recorded. So even when I was recording it, I didn’t know exactly what it was going to look like specifically.

Another huge character that you played was Yosuke Hanamura. How do you look back on that time playing him in Persona 4 and through the different spin-offs?

Yosuke is my Brosuke. [Laughs]. I love him so much. I think part of that is … of the characters that I play, he is very easily one of the ones that’s closest to who I am in real life. I’m kind of awkward and goofy and I’m unsure of things. I love my friends to a huge degree. So I will always love Yosuke and I will always hope that they keep bringing him back, whether it’s a dancing game or a remake — whatever it is. I would always love to come back to Yosuke because I love that guy and I love that franchise and the group of people that I got to play with.

You’ve voiced Spider-Man and you’ve voiced Superman. What’s another big hero you’re really hoping that you get to take a crack at?

Man, I’m a nerd from way back, so there’s so much that I love. There are still pools that I would love to play in. I’ve always wanted to play Batman, and I always auditioned for Batman, even though I know that my voice tends more towards Robin. [Laughs]. Let’s be honest, between Batman and Robin, I’m always going to be Robin, but I still always shoot for it. I’ve always loved Moon Knight, which is basically Marvel’s answer to Batman. Since the ’80s, I have loved that character as well. I’m always pushing Brian Intihar is sick of hearing me try to get Moon Knight into any of the Spider-Man games. [Laughs]. But, of course, I’ve screwed myself by playing Spider-Man, because now they’ll never let me also play Moon Knight!

I love the the BPRD universe, the Hellboy universe that Mike Mignola created.While I don’t ever see myself playing Hellboy and there have been greater people to play it before me who I love, I love that universe. If we could ever do a BPRD show or a game or something like that, that’d be another. We could do this all day. I was going to Dr. Who and Star Trek conventions since high school, so my fandoms are many. [Laughs.] I love genre material, whether it’s fantasy or horror or sci-fi and superheroes. I just adore it. While I’ve been lucky enough to play Superman and Spider-Man and He-Man — I’ve been playing the Mans — there’s still plenty more. I certainly don’t feel that the well is going to go dry anytime soon.

I hope you get to be Abe Sapien or Johann Kraus or something — that’d be really exciting.

I always wanted to play Lobster Johnson!