Actress Katee Sackhoff has been busy in the video game business of late. She’s working with CCP Games on the EVE: Valkyrie virtual reality game — and experience that’s old hat for the Battlestar Galactica vet. And she stars in Treyarch’s new Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 game as Special Forces soldier Sarah Hall, which was her first experience with performance capture. The star of Longmire talks about the opportunities video games is opening up for Hollywood in this exclusive interview.
What are your thoughts about the technology when it comes to this full motion capture and working with other actors A lot of times actors say it’s like being involved in a stage production.
The performance doesn’t change. There were a couple scenes that I had to do where there were actual tears going down my face because I was giving a performance and they were capturing it. Not only with all of the dots and stuff all over my face but there’s cameras pointed at you from every single angle. They’re actually picking up that movement and that tear and everything else. It’s quite cool actually. It was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had.
I just thought that it was a completely different way to approach gaming and the story. What better way to make people want to play the game than to have them feel emotionally connected to the characters that they’re actually able to play.
Now that the game’s out, what’s it like seeing your virtual version of yourself verses when you watch or see a movie or TV show that you’ve been in
It’s so funny though because people on Twitter who have never seen Battlestar Galactica, who watch Longmire or something else that I’ve done, are playing the game now. They’re sitting there going, “Oh my god, is that Katee Sackhoff ” All the people that have seen Battlestar Galactica were like, “Of course that’s Katee Sackhoff. You can tell from ten miles away.” But the people that are so used to me now, who have never seen my previous work are kinda like, “What When did this happen ”
Did you ever imagine that one day you’d actually be starring in a video game with full performance capture like Call of Duty
Dude, I didn’t actually think I’d be an actor. I didn’t think people would let me do this. So, no. When I was growing up, every single thing that had to do with some sort of creativity, as far as video games or TV, or singing or dancing, I always wanted to do all of it because it seemed so much fun to be able to play other characters and disappear into them. To actually have the ability to do it, and then let people give me the opportunity, is a dream come true. When you’re seven years old playing video games, you never dream that the technology is going to get to a point where you’re actually in a video game.
Nowadays, they have professional video game players. You can actually make a living playing games.
Absolutely. I’m sure that there’s kids that are actually writing code for video games in their bedrooms right now.
You are now part of that whole professional video game landscape because Call of Duty is one of the big eSports out there. What are your thoughts that kids will be winning $3 million playing Call of Duty professionally around the world.
Wow. I hope their parents make them put it in a savings account.
Do you ever wish you had that excuse when your parents were telling you to put the Nintendo away Were you saying, “Hey, I’m practicing for my job.”
Right. Could you imagine My parents would’ve been like, “No you’re not. You’re going to be a lawyer.”
When you do have free time other than playing Call of Duty, what do you like to play for fun, video game-wise.
Oh my god. I still do the dorky things that all the kids are probably going to make fun of. I’m kind of obsessed with Wii. I love to play Wii Bowling and Wii Tennis. My boyfriend and I have tennis tournaments. We’re really competitive in our household. I’m going to wipe the floor out of the little kids when I bring Call of Duty home for Christmas.
You guys didn’t make the leap to the Wii U
I’m sure that’s what we have. I don’t have the game console, so whenever I go to New Zealand I pull it out. My mom has it. We have it at grandma’s house. We have Christmas dance offs and stuff. It’s pretty awesome. I play the tame video game version of things.
Call of Duty has a pretty high esteemed group of actors that have been part of this franchise. Do you have that sense that you’re part of something like that yet
No, no. I sort of feel like the dorky kid that never really is in “the know.” I don’t really pay attention to any of it. There are moments when I feel like I’m in Junior High again and I’m like, “What happened on the weekend Oh, I missed it.” I feel like I’m still that kid with the braces wanting to be accepted. I’ll let you know if I ever figure out if I’m cool.
You’re now also indirectly connected to Candy Crush because Activision is buying the Candy Crush game company for $5.9 billion.
Candy Crush is something that I could totally make my jam, and so I haven’t played it because I’m sort of obsessive compulsive. I didn’t put Angry Birds down for two years and missed sleep. I would show up to work exhausted because I’d get stuck in that one hole. I can’t. I just can’t. I have not picked up Candy Crush because I would be that person that starts getting obsessed about it and I wouldn’t leave my house. I’d be playing it when I’m driving. It would be bad. It would be really bad.
Is that one of the reasons, in general, you don’t spend as much time playing games now when you have free time verses when you were younger
I can’t even have a TV in my living room because it’s like a jar of peanut butter. If I have it in my house, it’ll be gone in a day. If I had a TV, I would never leave my living room. It’s not good. So video games and me, probably not a really good thing. I still have my old Atari.
I don’t know if you’re the best person to be getting an Oculus Rift then with EVE: Valkyrie.
Right Listen, I played Oculus Rift. It was one of the coolest things ever. Although I had to do it in spurts because it made me a little dizzy. And they were like, “Oh no, you’ll be fine. You just have to build up to it.” And I was like, “That’s my fear. That I’ll build up to it and then I will never leave my house.” I will exist in this alternate universe and never leave my house. I’ll be convinced I’m a fighter pilot. It’s not good with me.
It’ll be like Ready Player One in real life.
Exactly. I’ll make people call me that.