‘Borderlands’ star Britanni Johnson on what it’s like to be a video game voice actor

Our host Narz is bringing you a breakdown of everything happening in the world of gaming, introducing you to rising stars in the industry and special guests every episode in this collab with Complex Networks.

Britanni Johnson chats with Narz about what it’s like being a video game voice actor in this episode of In The Know’s The Power Up. 

In addition to being a voice actress, Johnson is also the head of creators at G2 Esports, a European esports organization with competitive teams in League of Legends, Valorant and Rocket League. Johnson is best known for her role as Angel in the Borderlands series — a sci-fi western, first-person shooter game that mixes in action role-playing. 

“My first job ever was Angel in Borderlands,” Johnson tells Narz. “I auditioned for that my sophomore year of college. I didn’t realize it was ever going to be as big as it was or that it would catapult me in this direction of working in video games and esports.” 

She never imagined the success of the video game but it ultimately changed her life.

“I had always been a gamer my whole entire life,” she says. “I moved out to L.A. after Borderlands 2 and thought this is the industry I want to work in. I never knew it was an option but I’m gonna go this route. And I did and I never looked back.” 

Johnson is currently auditioning for a few video games. She never knows which projects she could be working on because they all have secret code names. 

“There’s been a couple of times where I’ll be at an audition and I’ll be reading through the script,” Johnson explains. “I’ll be acting it out before I actually start recording it and I’m like, ‘What? I know what this is!'” 

It’s rare to know what the game is until she’s hired. Then comes the hard part, finding it out and having to keep the title secret for years until it’s released. Like when she first portrayed Angel in Borderlands. 

“Angel is different because I had no idea what I was doing,” she says. “I had never done it before. So whenever I recorded it, I just went on with my regular programming. I just went on as if nothing was gonna happen.”

But now that she’s much further along in her career, she knows exactly what it means to work on an AAA project as in one from a major video game publisher.

“Now if I was working on a triple-A title, as a main character, I’d have to go live under a rock for a couple of months,” Johnson says. 

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If you liked this story, check out The Power Up episode on the intersection between basketball and video games.

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