The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was a momentous project undertook by Nintendo and as with any big project, the game productions was shrouded in huge secrecy. So much so that the voice actors did not even know what they were auditioning for before going in.
Previously we have known that the voice of Princess Zelda was also kept in the dark when auditioning. However, in an interview with Cat With Monocle, it is also confirmed that the voice of Daruk and Yunobo, Joe Hernandez, was held to the same secrecy.
Cat With Monocle: How did you get the roles of Daruk and Yunobo in Zelda: Breath of the Wild? What did you enjoy the most while recording as these characters?
Joe Hernandez: Originally, I was sent the audition around March of 2016. As is the case with some high profile video games, we were never told specifically what we were auditioning for. I remember the specs calling for a British/Mid-Atlantic voice, which was in my wheelhouse. I remember nothing in any of the audition copy made reference to Link, Zelda, Hyrule, etc. so again, we were a little in the dark as to what project it was.
Now, if you ask any voice actors out there, rare is the day that the entirety of info is shared with talent by the time they audition. Some of that is done by design, because they don’t want any important info getting leaked, but another reason is that so much of the games are still in various stages of development, so things can change drastically, (Daruk wasn’t called by that name when I had gone into audition).
The casting director had given me a sort of Lord of the Rings direction as to the world in which these characters lived. He wanted me to think of my character as this big, larger than life kind of gentle giant, (a la Gimli in LotR). it helped set the tone for what I had read for and allowed me get specific with his voice and characterization. After the initial audition, I was called back again to re-read for them. Shortly thereafter, I was told that I had booked it and we didn’t begin recording until August/September of that year.
This goes to show the amount of secrecy that the developers want to maintain to provide the element of surprise to the gamers when it finally goes out.