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Cpt. Olivia Rhodes

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Cpt. Olivia Rhodes is a character in the virtual reality adventure games Lone Echo (2017) and Lone Echo II (2021), from Ready at Dawn Studios.

Alice Coulthard portrayed Cpt. Olivia Rhodes with voice acting.[1], face scan[2] and motion capture.

In both games, the player assumes the role of Jack, a robot who assists Cpt. Rhodes. In Lone Echo, Jack and "Liv" are aboard a space station orbiting Saturn in the year 2126, where they must deal with a series of challenges related to a mysterious time-traveling ship that arrives from the future, infested with a deadly biomass. At the end of Lone Echo, Liv and Jack figure out a way to time-travel to escape imminent destruction. In Lone Echo II, Jack and Liv are 400 years in the future in a biomass-infested space station complex, where they engage in several time-travel adventures to build a device to destroy the biomass and prevent it from infecting the entire solar system, including Earth.

In a March 2019 article in Upload VR[3], Jamie Feltham[4] referred to Cpt. Olivia Rhodes as the best non-player character in a virtual reality game to date. In naming Lone Echo "Game of the Year" for 2017[5], Road to VR said the character of Olivia Rhodes was "the star of the show" and lauded how she believably relates to the player as a "living, breathing, ball-busting starship captain" in the immersive VR environment.  

In "Lone Echo Lets Me Experience A Beautiful Zero-Gravity Friendship,"[6] Mike Fahey's game review in Kotaku speaks at length about the startling sensation of having a digital person make eye contact and react to the player's actions and describes the bond that develops over the course of the game as a beautiful friendship.

In his 2017 review of Lone Echo for Adventure Games[7], Travis Fahs[8] said the relationship between Cpt. Rhodes and Jack is the heart of the story, characterizing Capt. Rhodes as "perhaps the first character I’ve seen in VR that truly manages to bridge the uncanny valley. As the story progressed, I cared about her, and I believed that she cared about Jack."

"Reality is never at risk: An Exploration of Telepresence and Embodiment in Virtual Reality Games[9]," a 2022 graduate thesis at the University of Copenhagen, explores VR immersion and notes that realistic voice acting and reactions to the player's actions, such as bumping into her or shining a light in her face, contribute to the feeling of immersion when in the presence of Cpt. Rhodes in VR.

That focus on ensuring the player bonds with Cpt. Rhodes and cares about her fate earned Lone Echo recognition as a recipient of The Emotional Games Award in 2018[10]

In an interview published in Road to VR in 2018[11], Ru Weerasuriya, chief creative director at Ready at Dawn, said that in creating Lone Echo, a key starting point was figuring out how to make an artificial presence believable and relatable to the player. Having worked with Alice Coulthard, who played Isabelle in Ready at Dawn's game, The Order: 1886, Ru said he knew Coulthard's mannerisms and sense of humor, and wrote the Olivia Rhodes character around the actor. In an interview with the VR and Fun[12] website's podcast[13], at 12:25 in the podcast, Weerasuriya said that the relatable personality of Cpt. Rhodes required several script re-writes. He said the first draft looked good on paper, but when people tested the game in VR, most said they did not like Cpt. Rhodes because she was mean. Weerasuriya remarked that it was the script at fault, not the actor, and he had to ask Coulthard to do new voice recordings of scenes that were already recorded. The first re-write toned her dialogue down, but it generated apathy - she was no longer interesting. So they did further re-writes to arrive at the final dialogue where users enjoyed being with and speaking with "Liv."

In a GameOnDaily videogame podcast[14] on April 13, 2020, Alice Coulthard discussed her approach to acting the Olivia Rhodes role. Beginning at 23:00 in the podcast, she said character development was of paramount importance for Ready at Dawn and the company provided her ample leeway to help shape the character. "They are very happy if I ad lib a little bit or put extra sounds - the more naturalistic and the more I bring my own kind of character to the lines the happier they are," she said.


  1. "Alice Coulthard | Actress". IMDb. Retrieved 2024-01-23.
  2. Peteuil, Daniel (22 January 2024). "Lone Echo - Olivia Rhodes". Daniel Peteuil - Senior Character Artist | Epic Games. Retrieved 22 January 2024.
  3. "Why Lone Echo's Olivia Rhodes Is VR's Best NPC Yet". UploadVR. 2019-03-08. Retrieved 2024-01-23.
  4. "Jamie Feltham". UploadVR. 2023-07-10. Retrieved 2024-01-23.
  5. VR, Road to (2017-12-22). "Road to VR's 2017 Game of the Year Awards". Road to VR. Retrieved 2024-01-25.
  6. "Lone Echo Lets Me Experience A Beautiful Zero-Gravity Friendship". Kotaku. 2018-01-12. Retrieved 2024-01-25.
  7. "Lone Echo review". Adventure Gamers. 2017-07-26. Retrieved 2024-01-25.
  8. "Articles by Travis Fahs". Adventure Gamers. Retrieved 2024-01-25.
  9. Fernández Mossner, Rickard (July 2022). "Reality is never at risk: An Exploration of Telepresence and Embodiment in Virtual Reality Games". ResearchGate. Retrieved 24 January 2024.
  10. "Here are the winners of The Emotional Games Awards 2018". Destructoid. 2018-03-12. Retrieved 2024-01-25.
  11. Magee, Matthew (2018-02-07). "'Lone Echo' Behind-the-Scenes – Insights & Artwork from Ready At Dawn". Road to VR. Retrieved 2024-01-25.
  12. "What We're Missing In VR Right Now". VR News, Games, And Reviews. 2017-10-21. Retrieved 2024-01-25.
  13. SJ AND FUN Episode 004 - Ready At Dawn Studios, retrieved 2024-01-25
  14. Development, PodBean. "The Some Drivel Podcast - Alice Coulthard (Lone Echo, The Order: 1886, Emmerdale) | Some Drivel". Retrieved 2024-01-25.

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