David har på daglig basis opdateret vores Fallout 4 artikel med alt hvad der har være om Bethesda’s adventure. Nu har Gary Steinman nedenstående ude hvor han fortæller om hvordan Mr. Handy, bedre kendt som Codsworth, er blevet til.

“I never really think of him as a hunk of metal or a robot,” says actor Stephen Russell. “And I imagine he might say the same about himself.”

Russell is talking about his performance as Mister Handy, a role he reprises in Fallout 4. As players are now discovering, this iconic automaton has evolved quite a bit since Fallout 3. But, mind you, we’re not just referring to the utilitarian machines roaming the wasteland, which might seem somewhat similar to those in the previous games. Russell also voices a very special Mister Handy: Codsworth, the steadfast servant to the Lone Wanderer – both before and long after the bombs have dropped. It’s a star turn for the resourceful robot, who emerges as a key character in the player’s journey. And it’s a role that Russell cherishes because of the range of emotions it allows him to convey.

 “I was best off voicing him if I would treat him as any other sentient being capable of joy and frustration, pleasure and pain, affection, anger, exhilaration, exhaustion,” Russell says. “He has a lot of heart.”

The Eyes Have ItWhat lies within the heart of Codsworth? And how specifically has his model changed since Fallout 3? Before we jump ahead, it’s helpful to look back at the bot in general. “The truth is, Mister Handy’s design already brought a lot of character with it,” says Senior Character Artist Dennis Mejillones. Indeed, the household helper has a rich history that fans cherish. Beyond his celebrated legacy, though, is the fact that all robots in the Fallout universe were designed so the fictional would feel functional. When crafting any of the robots in Fallout 4, Mejillones tells us he kept one thought in the back of his mind: How would these things work in the real world?

Mejillones credits Lead Artist Istvan Pely for a specific piece of feedback that he found particularly helpful: “This has to feel like a home appliance,” Mejillones says. “Like something you’d want to buy to have in your home.” So the design team scrutinized the mundane for inspiration – everyday items like toasters and blenders. Some of these references are noticeable in Mister Handy’s eyes. “The part that covers his actual eye pod was designed after a 1950s scooter,” Mejillones says. “It has that fun, friendly feel.”

 Those eyes aren’t just amiable. They’re key to delivering the range of emotional expressions that Codsworth conveys in the game. For starters, the eyes are big, which makes them less threatening. “Bigger doe eyes give you the sense of something more cute,” Mejillones says. “The smaller the eyes, the scarier things tend to be, especially with machinery. It’s very predatory.”

But it’s not just the size of the orbs that matter. Along with all kinds of geometric elements that can be found in the ocular orbs, Mejillones also added an iris to each eye. “The moment it started opening and closing and focusing on you, it immediately added all this character,” he says. This was especially important because Codsworth doesn’t have an actual mouth, so the eyes have to do a lot of the work when it comes to expressing emotions. “He can do a cocked-head kind of thing, via the lens, and it reads really well,” Mejillones says. The animation team also fiddled with the individual pods, moving one forward, or having the other pods bobble around to enhance that friendly feeling. “It’s all in the eyes,” Mejillones says. “It really gives him life.”

From the Outside InBeyond the eyes, Codsworth also benefits from his body shape. “He’s a ball,” Mejillones says. “As a kid you play with a ball. Everybody likes that!” Even the dangerous elements in Mister Handy’s design are built to be as unthreatening as possible. The flamethrower canisters, for example, are brightly colored – a family-friendly warning that further endears Codsworth to the player.

While he may be cute on the outside, Codsworth can also be quite menacing if you antagonize him. “One of the big things for robots in general is that they’re built from the outside in, design-wise,” Mejillones says. In the case of Mister Handy, he looks one way with his armor panels on – sleek and shiny, with cheerfully rounded edges. But once you strip away that armor, he takes on a different tone. “The silhouette totally changes. It goes from a ball to sharp angles. It’s got all these wires and cables,” Mejillones says. “It reminds you that this is a raw, ruthless machine.”

 This dramatic difference can be seen in all the robots. “Take the Sentry Bot. He’s already scary, even with his armor on,” Mejillones says. “But you blow his armor off, and he is terrifying!”

Yet Codsworth is so much more than a collection of parts and wires. He’s a true character, and one that – in Mejillones’ mind – would have been charming no matter how he looked. “It almost didn’t matter what I designed because Stephen Russell brings so much character to the role,” Mejillones says. “It could have been a little box with him talking, and you’d probably take it with you and want to listen to this guy all day.”

Emotional RescueFrom his perspective, Russell credits the Lead Designer Emil Pagliarulo for breathing life into this role. “Emil has such a great ear for dialogue,” Russell says. “He knows what people sound like when they talk. Good writing almost plays itself. When you’re given dialogue that actually flows well, that has some sense of fun already built in, it’s a launching pad for your own creativity, your own playfulness.”

Compared with the role of Mister Handy in Fallout 3, Russell sees Codsworth as a fully fleshed out character who’s grown up quite a bit. “There’s a much wider range of emotions this time around,” he says. “You also get the sense he has a definite worldview and code of ethics that may have evolved beyond what was programmed into him. He’s really a very strong character.”

That strength of character really shines through early in the game when the Lone Wanderer first stumbles into Codsworth shortly after emerging from Vault 111. Codsworth is weathered. Worn. Tired. His voice cracks. He’s clearly delighted to be reunited with his family. But his fatigue is palpable and the moment is tinged with melancholy.

 “That scene was really affecting to play,” Russell recalls. “That’s where Codsworth’s heart really shines through. There’s a great amount of pride in this character, in the best sense of that word. He takes his work very seriously, and his devotion and commitment to the family is unswerving. Snarky though he may be from time to time.”

Say My NameWhile that bittersweet scene was easily one of Russell’s favorite Codsworth moments, Mejillones enjoyed an even earlier encounter for an entirely different reason. “I was blown away the first time he said my name,” he laughs. Mejillones even remembers the exact time he heard it. He was playtesting Fallout 4 in the office. Game Director Todd Howard had already told Mejillones about the plan to include around a thousand voiced names in the game. “The moment he said my name, I was just like, Todd is a genius. This is a great idea! It made me feel not only connected to the game as a player, but made me feel really connected to my baby, my creation.”

Russell recalls recording all the names over the course of a week. “We were doing some of the final dialogue and we were also ending each session with about an hour’s worth of names,” he says. “The challenge with anything like that is keeping yourself from falling into a pattern. You have to keep slapping yourself or pinching yourself or whatever you do to make each one real.” That includes some of the saucier appellations on the list, which he delivered with the same gusto as the standard names. His favorite? “I guess this is how juvenile I am,” Russell laughs. “I do remember that both the engineer and myself lost it on Mr. Boobies.”

Whether you pick a silly or a common name, there’s a good chance Codsworth will have it in his databanks. Either way, he’s a great friend to the Lone Wanderer, and one of the dozen possible companions in Fallout 4. But for Mejillones, he’s the only choice. “The moment I can get him as my companion, he’s my companion,” Mejillones says. “Because when I’m getting my ass kicked and he comes in with flamethrowers and saws, and he saves me, I’m like: You saved your daddy. He criticizes some of my actions. We don’t agree on everything. But it’s all good. I can live with that.”

By Gary Steinman