Genshin Impact Heizou Actor Kieran Regan Explains His Curious Journey Into Voiceover

Genshin Impact Heizou Actor Kieran Regan Explains His Curious Journey Into Voiceover
Screenshot via Genshin Impact’s YouTube Channel

Written by 

Chris Penwell


27th Jul 2022 12:00

Life takes you in all different directions - in Kieran Regan's case, he started to pursue acting midway through college. Now, he's the voice of a beloved detective in Genshin Impact, Shikanoin Heizou. But he needed a little bit of a nudge before leaping deep into the industry. 

The Nudge That Started His Career

Kieran Regan Heizou Voice Actor
Click to enlarge
Image via Kieran Regan

That nudge that set off Regan's career came from his professor, David Ruis. Originally, Regan was going to be a graphic designer and photographer, and it was his Bachelors, but Ruis encouraged Regan to audition as he was good at public speaking. Regan proceeded, and at the first audition, he admitted that he can't remember what happened during it.

"I never auditioned for anything in my life before," Regan said. "I didn't know that it was possible to audition because I thought you had to have like a degree in theatre."

Regan began to fall in love with the medium. "From there, it was kind of this whirlwind of trying to do as much acting as I could, before I left school or graduated," he said, explaining that he only had a year and a half of college left. He in fact was so dedicated that he made the puppets that were used in the show, thanks to his knowledge of graphic design. 

Despite Regan not majoring in the dramatic arts, he made an impact as he was cast in a play called The Christians that only featured five actors. Around 70 people auditioned for the parts. In addition, he had to act out multiple ten-minute monologues, making his part super challenging to fulfil. 

COVID Changed Regan's Trajectory

Critical Role YouTube Channel
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Screenshot via Critical Role’s YouTube Channel

But then COVID struck. As he was beginning his work on As You Like It, the theatre shut down. He needed a new way to showcase his love of acting. 

"That was really stressful because I just found this thing," he said. "Why do I now have to let it go?" He didn't give up, however. Instead, he found a new avenue in his career, voice acting, through the popular D&D series Critical Role. 

Voice actors like Matthew Mercer (Persona 5) and Laura Bailey (Fire Emblem: Awakening) take part in the popular streamed show, and Regan knew about the industry through their interview series Between The Sheets. 

Ready and inspired, Regan built a recording booth from his coat closet and placed his monitors, computer, and most importantly, his microphone, in it. "My joke was that I always had to stay skinny or else I wouldn't fit," the voice actor said. In fact, he was able to buy a really good microphone off his stimulus check during the pandemic, which ended up being a great investment. 

When he started his career in voice acting, the cops were actually called to his apartment due to his believable performance. "Someone thought I was dying," Regan said.

He was soon fired from his day job at a print factory after the Black Lives Matter movement lost steam, and then realized that voice acting could be his main gig, not just a dream. He auditioned for two roles and cinched both of them - one was for an audiobook, which paid for that month's rent, and a role in a game that required him to have a New Zealand accent. That was when the ball started rolling. 

He kept getting audiobook narration gigs to make ends meet, and then he received a call from his agent. "Hey, when are you moving out to LA?" More prominent studio roles were available in this California city, so he moved out of Kansas and took up residence in Los Angeles. 

A Perfect Role In Genshin Impact

Shikanoin Heizou Genshin Impact
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Screenshot via Genshin Impact’s YouTube Channel

At this point, the Genshin Impact role came up. He received an audition opportunity in his inbox, and when he took his first look at the art, he knew the game he hopefully was about to work on. 

Regan found all of the Genshin Impact voice lines on a YouTube channel and began to analyse it. He heard the cadence, the sound of the game, the vibe, and the personality being delivered through each pop-up line under the characters' profiles. Regan also received the voice lines of the Chinese actor for Heizou, and he was surprised by how "suspiciously close" it was to his voice.

"In my audition, I very specifically used breaths at certain points of the line to convey thought and pacing," Regan said. "And then I stumbled every now and then just in case something like, caught, you know, Heizou off guard." The audition was cleverly crafted by the voice actor, and Regan eventually was given the part of Heizou.


While Regan performs this role, he considers the sound people make when they're thinking. "Your voice almost has to go inward," he explains. 

"As Heizou is a detective, he's often thinking about clues, and he's not talking to anyone else; he's talking to himself as he figures it all out in his head," Regan said. "And then once he has it figured out, he's like 'AH, got it', you know what I mean?"

Heizou is not particularly a social butterfly. Instead, Regan views him as someone who dedicates himself to his intuition. His intuition, according to the voice actor, "might lead them down a path that no one else thought of." However, it can bite him as well socially, because Regan says "he's abandoning all of his Detective brethren and [sends] a bad name to the general public." Heizou apparently can't be controlled by the head detective, similarly to how Sherlock Holmes is compulsively looking for clues, despite the social repercussions. 

When asked how Regan relates to Heizou, he says that they're both curious about the world around them. He explains that when Heizou sees something as different or weird, he has an intuition to investigate it. Meanwhile, Regan gets his curiosity from his graphic design and photography. "When I was doing that, you have to be curious," he said. "You have to be able to look at things in a different way."

He later said, "I mean, I wouldn't be in voiceover if I wasn't curious."

Thousands of Fans All Of A Sudden And Being An LGBTQ+ Actor

Heizou Genshin Impact Voice Actor
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Screenshot via Genshin Impact’s YouTube Channel

That curiosity has accelerated his career dramatically over the past few months. For example, his Twitter page has blown up from around 800 followers to almost 17,000 since he was announced to be the voice of Heizou. That has been a positive and negative for Regan. 

"It's very stressful. I mean, someone, like, found my phone number," said Regan. Not knowing how popular he would become on Twitter, he posted his photography online with a phone number attached to it. A Genshin Impact fan found it and started texting him. Others are happy that there's LGBTQ+ representation in the cast of Genshin Impact, and that didn't strike Regan's mind. 

Being an LGBTQ+ actor does have its pros and cons, however. In a positive light, it gives Regan roles others don't have access to because casting directors don't want straight people auditioning for gay people, according to him. "But it also alienates me from certain roles, you know what I mean?" Regan said. "It's like, oh, he's gay; he hasn't lived that experience."

"If you cast me on a project, I am going to be carrying my lived experience as someone who's gay into the role," Regan explained. "If I give advice to like new voice actors, it's to live the most life you can because that is […] how you find new emotions." He says if you feel authentic, you'll tell a better story. 

For example, Regan says that he was able to use his experience climbing through the mountains of rural Idaho and imagine the world of Genshin Impact through that lens. He uses it to empower his performance. 

Despite the weird texting encounter with a fan, Regan says he appreciates the Genshin Impact community a lot. "The fan base has been so kind and so generous to me," Regan said. He's even said that they're "almost protective" of him, especially after a fan found his phone number.

"It's been nothing but praise and support and love and at a time when I needed that," Regan said. "I'm so grateful."

If you get Heizou under the Wish system, you'll want to ascend him to make this hero stronger. In order to do that, you'll need to find Runic Fangs and Onikabuto as resources. We've covered their exact locations on GGRecon.

Chris Penwell is an experienced video games journalist with a Bachelor in Communications. He loves to play narrative-focused games like Kingdom Hearts and Beyond Good & Evil.