Lies of P released to very positive reviews from critics and players alike, with many regarding it as a worthy addition to the Soulslike genre. And while Neowiz Games may have taken a leaf out of FromSoftware’s book, what lent their game its individuality and added to the hype was its literary inspiration — The Adventures of Pinocchio.
Except, Lies of P is set in a dark, utopian world reminiscent of the Belle Époque era. Unlike the children’s fable, the game is brimming with nightmarish environments and evil robot puppets. But while the plot itself doesn’t heavily borrow from Carlo Collodi’s novel, memorable callbacks and familiar characters do find their way into P’s world. Like the Blue Fairy — remember her?
In Lies of P, the Blue Fairy is interpreted as the dainty, blue-haired Sophia with a magical butterfly brooch. If you’ve played the game (or watched the trailer), you already understand the impact her character has every time she speaks. And this wouldn’t have been possible without the graceful and mysterious performance by Allegra Marland, the voice of Sophia in Lies of P.
Fun fact: Allegra also voiced Millicent in Elden Ring.
So, we obviously jumped at the first opportunity to interview Allegra for some exclusive bits about her behind-the-scenes work on the new game, her voice acting process, the challenges she faced during production, and more.
Allegra Marland talks about her Lies of P journey (spoiler-free)
Editor’s note: The transcript has been lightly edited for better readability.
How did Lies of P happen?
Allegra: I have worked a lot with Liquid Violet, the recording studio where the game was made. And they’re like the best. They’ve got an amazing team. They’re so kind, so friendly. I’m obsessed with them.
I’ve been doing quite a lot of recording on other games and things like that with them, and they suggested me for this part. So I auditioned and got it, which was really exciting.
Let’s dive into your character a bit. How would you describe Sofia?
Allegra: She’s based on the Blue Fairy, but obviously this is a very different take on Pinocchio. Sophia is very elegant visually, but she is also quite an elegant soul. She’s very gentle and thoughtful and mysterious. She’s been through a lot in her long life, even though she seems very young. So she’s got this kind of otherworldly wisdom of the way things are. She’s realistic but quite dreamlike at the same time.
How much time did you spend preparing for the role?
Allegra: You don’t get the script more than four or five days before, so you don’t have loads of time to work on the script. But it really is teamwork in the booth, which is my favorite thing about it. You don’t want to prepare too much before you go in because you want to be quite open to taking on direction and hearing what the designers and producers want. I do try and keep quite flexible.
But mainly for me, I work on the script because when I was a child, I wasn’t very good at reading out loud. So now I have to really go through all the words and feel very familiar with it. But yeah, you don’t want to overdo it.
How did you get into the skin of the character?
Allegra: I find imagery very useful, and the image of her that I was given is so detailed. That beautiful outfit she’s wearing, her look, her feel, and obviously just looking at the period it’s set in. It’s set in the Belle Epoque turn of the century in Europe, so I kind of started with that.
Then you talk to the director and start to develop it in the room. It’s actually my favorite time of the whole recording process. It’s probably those first two hours, because you are being really specific as a team about her sound.
And I find it so creative and so fun, because you’re literally putting in layers. You’re saying, ‘let’s bring her register lower’ or ‘let’s make her sound higher and more dreamlike’ or ‘let’s bring in a breathiness’. And it’s kind of like creating an orchestra. You’re like bringing up the strings and bringing down the harp or whatever. And I find that so exciting!
And it’s real teamwork. Most of the time, the Neowiz team were in the room with us, which was amazing. They’d come over from Korea and were in the recording booth, so that was really useful. The designer actually he didn’t speak much English, but he gave one really useful note using his hands about how she should sound. And that, for me, was my way in. The moment he did this thing with his hands, I was like, “totally, I get it. Let’s go!”
So it was kind of an amazing process in that way. Also, I felt they loved her [Sophia] so much. That makes you really want to get the voice exactly right for them because they’ve been working on it for so many years and are so passionate about it.
Were they very specific with what they wanted? Or did you have some room to stretch yourself as an actor?
Allegra: I brought a lot to it. I think that is probably what they heard in the audition. They were like, yeah, that’s the right kind of thing. But then we did get very specific at the beginning because you really want to get it right. It is quite specific, but very creative.
I can bring to it what I want to. After we pinned her down, they then just let me fly and handed over the trust, which was really nice.
Did you have the full story back then, or did you have to work off scattered pieces of information?
Allegra: No, I was told the whole story on the first day of recording. I’d done the trailer about six months before and only knew what was in the trailer and a few of her lines and stuff in her script. But you can’t really work out what’s happening from the script.
Then they sat me down and they showed me all of her artwork, all of her world, where she lives, what’s happened. They told me the whole story visually with the video. It was so exciting to hear these incredible people who have worked so hard on this game — it’s fascinating! And it’s quite complicated.
It’s a very challenging, thoughtful game. Like, you know, you’ve got to use your mind and I found that really exciting. So yeah, I knew what was going on.
How loyal do you think the game is to the original story and treatment?
Allegra: To the original treatment? Very similar. The story is very different. But it is inspired by the original, you know, it’s inspired by the world of puppets and the power of puppets. It also speaks a lot to our modern world where we’re creating things that we might not be able to control with AI and robots. And it really speaks to the current world we’re living in, in terms of technology, I think, in a big way.
But in terms of the original story, yeah, there are some similar characters. There are some fun things that, if you’re a fan of Pinocchio, you’ll find in this video game.
The gameplay trailer mentioned “a time when humanity shines”. Do you think the humanity factor is something we will feel throughout the game? Is it a very emotional game?
Allegra: Yeah, it is very emotional. I cried quite a lot actually. Because there are different generations of people, different types of people, all different characters and walks of life. And you really feel for each of them. Because you follow P the whole time, I think you begin to really root for him and building his experience and everything.
It’s a game about a world that is really struggling to survive, and it will remind you a lot of the times we’re living in. And so, I do think it’s quite an emotional game.
During the recording sessions, did you have access to any gameplay footage?
Allegra: Yeah, a lot, because sometimes it’s quite complicated. And so they have to be like, ‘oh, so basically this is where he is now’ and ‘this is why you’re saying this’. They’ll show me the buildup and they’ll show me the gameplay, which I really like. Sometimes I’ll record alongside the gameplay. But usually, I just have her photo in front of me on the screen. And I do everything off that, like looking at her.
And it must be quite challenging at times, given the unique format. How different is acting for video games compared to, let’s say, a TV project?
Allegra: It’s so different in all the ways. I find it [voice acting] much more intimate in some ways, because it’s just you and the microphone. It is all about the sound, and I find that really freeing. There’s a beautiful intimacy and you really get lost in those hours in the booth and you don’t know what time it is. It’s really nice in that way.
Acting for film and TV is much more dynamic. There are so many people, so many things. There’s costume, makeup, light. You’ve got to remember things — there’s just a lot more going on. Working on video games is just much purer and more intense. It’s a lovely experience.
Allegra has been a part of popular TV shows like The Crown and Father Brown and was also seen in the 2017 movie Goodbye Christopher Robin.
Were video games always part of your career plan, or did they just happen?
Allegra: Voice work was definitely part of the plan. I loved doing it at drama school. I loved radio and radio drama, so I was very determined to get into that. And then I did a lot of ads, like voice ads, and then they spiraled into games and dubbing and things like that. And I absolutely love it.
How did you carry over your acting skills from theater and TV/film to video games? And what are the skills that are easy to transfer?
Allegra: I think just working on being in control of your voice and what it can do. And at drama school, you do a lot of voice work. So, you know, you are kind of halfway there. But I think continuing to explore it and trusting yourself that my voice is the reason I got the part, so I don’t need to put on a voice.
Obviously, she [Sophia] speaks differently to me, but I’m in there, you know. I think just trusting your vocal instrument and using your vocal training to explore all of it, the register, the highs, the lows, the softs, the hards, the sharps… I think that’s probably the way my previous experience influences it the most.
And that would require you to really take care of your voice. Getting a cold would be a problem then, right?
Allegra: Well, weirdly it works sometimes. Once I did a video game, and I think I had a sore throat, and it actually worked. Because you don’t have to project and the microphone’s right in front of you. For this particular video game, I think the huskiness of the sore throat actually really helped the character. But yeah, once you’ve established your voice, you then can’t get ill.
I wouldn’t go to a dinner or a party or anything while I was recording. Because you do need to look after it.
How many takes does it usually take to nail a line?
Allegra: You’ll do each line maybe three or four times. Well, sometimes you just do them once, sometimes you do them lots of times, depends on the line.
Since you have voiced so many video game characters, did you face any major challenges while voicing Sophia?
Allegra: Challenges with this one? Emotionally, it’s much more subtle and delicate in the more difficult moments than a lot of video games. Some video games can be quite big, like you have big fights or big action. And so vocally, that’s fun. But when you have to be much more subtle and gentle like Sophia, it gets challenging. But I loved it.
Did you work with other voice actors on the game or interact with them at all?
I didn’t sadly. You don’t usually on a video game. Maybe you do in crowd stuff. I’ve never worked with other actors on a video game sadly. I would love to, I really would. But yeah, Sophia’s dialogue is entirely with P.
I have to ask. Do you play video games?
Allegra: I actually don’t. I’ve never played one. I used to play Mario Kart when I was about 10. And I loved that. Well, I didn’t have a Nintendo, but my sister had one where you could get like pets and dogs and look after them. That was more my video game side of things.
I realized with Elden Ring that I don’t need to play it because people play my character’s questlines. And well, they’re amazing games, but I’m a bit scared of violence. I don’t really like people dying. But I like watching my questline. I‘d like to watch Lies of P gameplay.
When you think of video games and your future within that industry, is there a particular role you’d like to play? Anything on your wishlist?
Allegra: So much. I am so excited about the future of video games. By the way, I don’t mean to sound disrespectful that I don’t play them. It’s almost out of respect that I don’t play them because I almost just want to appreciate them from afar and not like do it myself. Also, I feel I wouldn’t be good enough to do these things when everybody else is so skilled and so amazing.
But yeah, I really would love to play a character which has more dialogue, like two people going through something. I love the idea of The Last of Us, how it’s these two people communicating a lot. I would be really excited to do something like that.
I think there’s a very exciting future for video games. Like when Hollywood had its golden age in the 1950s and now look at it. I think we’re in the video game golden age and the future is just mind blowing. So yeah, I couldn’t be happier to have had the chance to make some and be part of some.
Are you now more actively interested or involved in the video game community?
Allegra: I think the video game community is wonderful. They’re so supportive and open about how they feel about performances. Some of the things people have said about my character in Elden Ring — it means so much that it affected them. Or, you know, they were taken by it, or it made them feel something. I think that’s so cool.
I love that they reach out; a lot of people reach out and say nice things and send things to sign and stuff. And I just think, ‘such a lovely community’. Really, really respectful.
Does Sophia have a message for all the gamers out there who are yet to play Lies of P?
Allegra: I can’t wait to hear what people think of the game, because it’s quite an unusual game. I mean, I’m not a gamer, but to me, it felt very unusual. It’s a very creative game, an intelligent game.
I don’t mean that to put anyone off or make it sound elitist in any way. It’s not. I think it’s definitely very accessible, but it’s not just about fighting people. I think it says a lot more than that.
I would say, remember it’s not all about you when you’re playing it. Maybe other people might need things too, as much as you need something. They need answers as much as you do.
Also, from Sophia: Maybe keep an open mind. Keep your wits about you.
Lies of P is available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S|X, and we’ve put together some useful beginner’s tips for Lies of P. Have you played it already? Let us know in the comments below.