Genshin Impact’s brand new 1.3 patch, released earlier this week, added new characters, new activities, and a whole new event, but it also took something away: Barbara’s voice. Barbara is a playable character who’s basically a pop star, and before 1.3, her peppy demeanor reflected that. Now her delivery is more muted. Many fans are extremely opposed to this change, but instead of kicking down developer Mihoyo’s doors about it, they’re going after the target that makes the least sense: Barbara’s voice actor.
Though the new Barbara sounds like she was voiced by a completely different person, anime and video game veteran Laura Stahl actually voiced both versions. As some fans have observed, that’s impressive as hell! But many others have slid into her mentions and DMs to ask why she, personally, made the decision to alter the voice of a character she has no real control over, essentially harassing her for being good at taking notes from a director.
“I can’t ask them to change it back,” Stahl wrote on Twitter. “I don’t know why the change was made. Nor could I tell you if I did. Plz just enjoy the game and stop asking me. Thanks.”
The change is relatively small, but notable. Barbara’s lines in combat—which consist of simple grunts and brief call-outs for bigger attacks, like, “Come on, we can do it,”—now sound less enthusiastic. Where before, it almost sounded like Stahl was straining her voice in places to get across just how into it Barbara was, the new version sounds cutesier and more demure—a vocal type Genshin Impact pretty clearly has a thing for, based on how many other characters speak the same way. Barbara’s voice isn’t egregiously off, but in the context of the character’s exuberant animations, it is a little odd. However, her voice is now more aligned with the way she’s talked in cutscenes and promo materials since the game released.
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While a few lines might not sound like much, keep in mind that players hear them repeated thousands of times over while smacking and blasting their way through Genshin’s gargantuan world. Still, is it worth harassing somebody—especially a voice actor—over? No.
Kotaku reached out to Mihoyo to ask why it made this change, but they did not reply. Stahl also did not reply to a request for comment.
Fans have taken to making memes about nu-Barbara, depicting her with dead eyes and depression, among other things. A highly upvoted thread on the Genshin Impact subreddit compares her to “a granny at bingo night.” But many fans think their comrades in big-ass anime arms need to cool it.
“While I think almost all of us agree that the old voice lines were better, everyone has to remember that it isn’t the VA’s fault for the change,” reads another highly upvoted Reddit thread, this one imploring Genshin Impact players to stop harassing Stahl. “Mihoyo is the one who changed it... No matter your stance on the new voice lines for Barbara, do not harass or berate her VA. The people who are targeting her for this are disgusting.”