The release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has been met with as much excitement and frenzy as you might expect from the latest instalment of a legendary video game franchise. But while most players are preoccupied with riding D. Horse around, frolicking in cardboard boxes and puzzling over the intricate story, it’s a certain voiceover that’s had us scratching our heads. Where on earth have we heard iDroid‘s soothing tones before? Oh, that’s right – on the Shinkansen!
Voice actor and vocalist Donna Burke is a veteran of the video game industry, lending her vocal cords to multiple games including MGSV and Silent Hill, and she ALSO provided the English-language spoken announcement that’s broadcast on the bullet train to help foreign visitors navigate their way around Japan!
Australian voice actress and vocal talent Donna Burke moved to Tokyo in 1966 and has since appeared in various voice acting roles for a variety of video games and anime, including Konami’s Silent Hill series as troubled teen Angela Orosco (Silent Hill 2) and indoctrinated cult priestess Claudia Wolf (Silent Hill 3). In those roles, she was performing characters with different accents and ways of speaking, so you’ll be forgiven for not recognising her as the same voice who welcomes you so soothingly to the Shinkansen.
Here’s a sample of iDroid hard at work in MGSV: (Skip to 22:40)
And here’s Donna’s announcement on the Tokaido Shinkansen! (Skip to 3:52)
Donna has also lent her voice to many other types of work as well as entertainment media. In addition to being the English announcement on the Tokaido Shinkansen since 2005, she can also be heard in other places around Tokyo, for example in Narita Airport’s Delta Lounge and as the English guide for the Emperor Showa Memorial Museum. Her smooth, clear delivery is perfect for Metal Gear Solid V‘s iDroid, which is a GPS navigation system which the player can use to set targets on the map and even call in backup. The iDroid also exists as a downloadable app for smartphones, and they’re even selling awesome iDroid smartphone covers so you can show the world how much of a Metal Gear fanboy or girl you are.
Donna’s tones are so distinctive in MGSV that the minute we heard iDroid coolly begin to guide us, we knew we’d heard her somewhere before. It took some frantic brain-racking to realise that we’ve actually heard her every single time we’ve ridden the Shinkansen!
Donna is also a talented singer, and most recently has provided the vocals for the song Sins of the Father for MGSV, which seems to be doing quite well in Japan:
Donna Burke (@db_singer_actor) September 05, 2015
Let’s hope we’ll be hearing even more of Donna’s voice soon!