The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has been out for almost two months, and it’s still tearing up the sales charts, rebounding to the top spot even after big releases like Diablo IV and Final Fantasy XVI. Every day, more and more players around the world are getting a chance to experience the emotional journey that is Tears of the Kingdom‘s story, and more and more players are getting the chance to see the growth, depth, development, twists, and turns present in the story of the series’ namesake character, Princess Zelda.

With all of the excitement still surrounding the new game, we thought it would be a great opportunity to sit down with Princess Zelda’s voice actress Patricia Summersett, in her first convention appearance since Tears of the Kingdom‘s release, to hear her thoughts on the new Zelda title and on what it’s like playing an iconic character like Princess Zelda once again.


The following interview was conducted on Sunday, June 25th, 2023 by Nick Miller, Junior Editor at Zelda Dungeon, and Adrielle Munger, Zelda Cast Producer, at TooManyGames 2023 in Philadelphia, PA. Patricia Summersett is an actress, writer, and musician, best known to Zelda fans as the voice Princess Zelda in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Zelda Dungeon: Thank you so much for being here. Are you enjoying the convention so far?

Patricia Summersett: “Oh, very much, yeah. It’s been very busy, actually.”

Do you enjoy meeting with fans?

“I do, yeah. Every day I get some highlight stories that are really fascinating and interesting, where I meet some people who are very excited to be there, and I know I’ve made their weekend.”

And the timing is perfect with this convention because Tears of the Kingdom just came out, so you’re still fresh on everyone’s minds and they’re so excited to see you.

“It is! This is my first convention after the game release, so I’m now getting all of the Tears of the Kingdom stuff coming at me. It’s fun.”

Are you playing the game at all?

“I haven’t actually opened Tears of the Kingdom yet. It’s sitting on my counter and I’m just staring at it. I’m like, ‘That’s funny.'”

That’s so funny because it’s so beautiful and moving, and you do a great job in it.

“Thank you!” [laughs]

And I’m sure it’s a funny experience because you lived in it, and you’re living in it now.

“…playing it is only downhill from there.” [laughs]

Well, I’m sure from your perspective, playing the game for the first time must be an experience. Do you know the full scope of the story or just what you yourself had recorded?

“Just what I recorded, which, you know, alludes to a lot of other elements of the story because [Zelda] is quite involved. We work with the stuff that we’re given which is the stuff that we need to know to do a good performance, and everything is generally very secretive for good reasons. Not everybody should have access to that because if one person leaks it, you know… Hopefully they can trust us, but you never know.”

What was it like sliding back into this role again, as your third time playing Princess Zelda? What was your experience like and what are your impressions on playing this character?

“I felt like coming into it for a third time has been… It’s funny, the word ‘relief’’ came up several times for me, because I’ve spent so much time living with this character and representing this character for other people, and you just sort of carry around a big character in your head like that for years. And then to go back in and revisit it in a concrete way with a team and a script — you can actually get back into the acting chops of it — has been so satisfying. It’s been only awesome. [laughs] It’s felt like the best.

“And in terms of what I prefer: People often ask me at the table, ‘Which game do you prefer doing?’ And I’m like, ‘Well, it started with Breath of the Wild so that’s where everything comes from…’ But ultimately in the end, right now, I’m really preferring being on the other side of a third game. I don’t know, there’s something so deeply rewarding about coming back in for a third time and doing it again.”

This is now your third time playing Princess Zelda. Can you tell us a little bit about how your approach towards the character has changed? Or did this feel more like a homecoming?

[laughs] “It does feel like a homecoming! Without going into too many details, I do feel that there is a kind of natural evolution both with time and age, and coming into wisdom, and just everything that occurs with the character that then gets to evolve over a series of games. It has some sort of timeline to it naturally.

“And then also there’s the aspect of having lived through a pandemic with everybody. I bring that to all characters that I do but definitely Zelda as well. I just think about where it started — from a first game with no information — and where it’s gone — to a third game with lots of information and background context both in the fictional world and in real life. It’s just really fascinating and very pleasing to be able to have that as part of the process.”

When you first read Tears of the Kingdom‘s script, how did you feel about the direction they took Zelda as a character?

“Well, I sort of got it in chunks as we were going along. When certain things came up, I did some silent squealing [laughs] because it was so exciting to see what we were going to record. I was like, ‘This is really- It’s going all the way in. It’s really deep storytelling.'”

It really, really is. It’s such a departure in many ways from Breath of the Wild in terms of the storytelling. There were moments in Tears of the Kingdom where I thought, ‘Nintendo wouldn’t do that,’ and boy, did they!

I also think the way they wrote the script too is just so smart because the players aren’t going to be getting the story sequentially. It’s really impressive that the writers were able to make that work.

“Isn’t it fascinating? I actually find the way that they do classic storytelling — and all the elements of it are classic storytelling, down to the things that are in the game, the symbols that are in the game, particularly [in Tears of the Kingdom], without saying what they are — it’s something that we already understand universally. We understand what is being faced. And yet where they decide to be innovative with it is a really interesting calculation that they’ve been able to make. They did it so well. You’re like, ‘How did they do that? How did they put those things together in that way?’ It’s really cool.”

On my playthrough, getting all of the story beats out of order, it felt like I was putting everything together with a red string.

“I like to think that you had a big map on your wall. I want to say The Pelican Brief but that’s probably not the movie we’re talking about. Maybe Bourne Identity.” [laughs]

Or the meme with Charlie Day in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. [laughs]

Without going too far into spoiler territory, in Tears of the Kingdom we got to see a darker side of the princess. What was it like playing that kind of role?

“Surprising and very fun. I already feel like Breath of the Wild Zelda was a darker, more nuanced version of Zelda in general. They decided to flesh out that part of her. She had cynicism to her, she had jealousies and insecurities that you were able to actually witness in the cutscenes. And to take it where they’ve taken it in the sequel, without saying what that is, as somebody who really loves any time I get a chance to exercise my acting chops in that sense, it was super cool. I was like, ‘Ooh, how are we going to tackle this? This is going to be really interesting!’

“There were some calculations to make in terms of what range that would require. But also they’re always pretty clear about what they need and want, and they’ve done all the thinking through. So I can pose a question, and I’ll usually get a very thought-through answer that’s been oiled and massaged by several people.”

In the past, you’ve talked about how voice acting is sort of a siloed experience, where you’re not really working directly with some of the other voice actors. Was it similar for Tears of the Kingdom? Can you talk a little bit about that process?

“It always is for this kind of thing, which is a localized dub. When I speak of the people I’m working with, it’s really the team — the director, possibly the casting director depending on that game, and maybe the writer or a producer. All the people that are in charge of the creative story may be sitting in on a session and weighing in while the session is going.

“It’s also nice to have such a team that weighs in, and you do get an understanding in the moment of what might be working or not working. So, it’s taken care of pretty quickly and massaged in the room.”

I understand that you recently had an experience where you were talking about the relationship between Link and Zelda, and some outlets took your comments out of context.

“They took it way out of context. It was completely not what I meant at all. They wanted the headline. They knew better, and they did it anyway, and then everybody picked it up. It was a nightmare for me.” [laughs]

And for the record, we didn’t do that.

“I know you didn’t do that, which is why we’re talking today.” [laughs]

I mean, respect and admiration for being able to navigate this process. I’m sure it’s not easy.

“Thanks. You want to think that it’s like, ‘It’s okay and it doesn’t matter,’ but it does. It matters a lot. Yeah, it’s a funny thing. It’s funny where it matters and where it doesn’t.”

While we’re here, is there anything you’d like to clear up about your comments?

“I still have my statement posted to my Twitter [laughs] in case anyone has any questions about it, and people still don’t look there. They’ll still ask me questions like, ‘I heard that you think that…’ And I’m just like, ‘Look at my statement. It’s pinned to my Twitter. It’s clear as day!’ [laughs]

“Relationships are ambiguous, you can bring what you want to it. That’s the beauty of it. I’ve never implied anything other than that. Sometimes in these interviews, I talk about myself and my idea of relationships, which I think got a little confusing in the interview.”

I understand that. With Link being the silent protagonist, the player has to project a little bit of themselves onto his character so the relationship could be whatever the player makes of it.

“Totally. Absolutely.”

Here’s a fun fan question that you can answer if you want: If you could have voiced Zelda in any other game, what would it be?

“Somebody asked me that in a panel the other day, and I was like, ‘I don’t usually get asked that. It’s so fascinating.’ And I said Twilight Princess Zelda. I was like, ‘That’s what I’m feeling right now.’ And I think it’s also because I write in Twilight Princess Hylian, so I feel more of an affinity with that game. I think about that game probably the most.”

What do you mean you write in Hylian?

“I write in the Twilight Princess Hylian script. So it’s like glorified calligraphy. It’s letter to letter, and its very beautiful. You can find it online.”

I didn’t know that! I knew about your music. You were just in Montreal at the Fringe Festival, right? How was that?

“It was great. We got rained out, but people still showed up, under tents in their rain jackets. We sang and some water poured on the keyboard.”

That sounds like it might work for some of your music.

“It actually did. We have a song called ‘Rain and Robin.’ We have a few songs that reference rain. There’s something very peaceful about singing in the rain.”

Since you’ve voiced Zelda, how deep have you dove into the series as a whole? Have you played many of the other games?

“I have not played all the other ones. I haven’t played Majora’s Mask. I’ve watched Wind Waker, but I haven’t played Wind Waker. There are several I haven’t played. The ones I have played are the original [The Legend of Zelda], Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, Breath of the Wild, and I plan to play some Tears of the Kingdom. I’m not going to try to beat them. I just don’t have time. I can’t go into the vortex.” [laughs]

So as a last question, is there anything coming up that you want to tell us about, with your music or creatively that you’re working on?

“I’m looking forward to doing more shows with our band. We just released an album a month ago, and that was really lovely. And we just got the vinyls a couple weeks ago. They’re really off-brand from everything else. [The cover] is an image of a sculpture of a woman that’s like this big, this little granny sculpture. It’s Montreal-based artist [Julia Agnes], and she just does riveting work. We were like, ‘It’s super interesting, and we’re going to put that on our cover.’ And we love it so much, so that’s what we did.

“So there’s that, and I am working on some other games. I’m developing a screenplay as well. There should be a reading for it soon. It takes place in upper Michigan where I’m from. I’ve been essentially researching deer, which is a really big thing in my family. It’s a really outdoorsy family, so that’s been really fun. I’ve had an excuse to research some outdoor subjects that I enjoy.” [laughs]

Thank you for taking the time to sit down with us. It was a wonderful opportunity and we really enjoyed it. So again, thank you from the whole Zelda Dungeon team!

Readers can look forward to hearing a portion of this interview on a future episode of Zelda Dungeon’s podcast The Zelda Cast. Subscribe to the podcast right here or on your podcast platform of choice. Patricia Summersett was previously featured on The Zelda Cast back in 2020, so check that episode out right here if you want to hear more of what she has to say on Breath of the Wild and Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.

If you’d like see more from Patricia Summersett, you can find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and her website. And you can find her music right here.

So, what do you think? Did anything Patricia Summersett said broaden your perspective on Tears of the Kingdom? Was there anything that surprised you about the voice recording process? Have you learned how to write in Hylian script? Let us know in the comments!

Tagged With: No tags were found for this entry.