Voice acting in video games has come a long way in the past few generations of consoles and sometimes the performances of voice actors both through their spoken word and the motion capture performance that they bring to the table can make or break a game. Highly story-driven experiences likeThe Last of Us or Beyond: Two Souls place a heavy importance on the characters and actors can have a huge impact. Here are VGU’s nominees for the top voice actors by performance.
Troy Baker as the Joker (Arkham Origins)
Arkham Origins told the story of a young Batman who is faced with the greatest challenge of his career when Black Mask hires eight assassins to kill him on Christmas Eve. While the Joker is not immediately the main villain of the story, his introduction and importance to the end of the story are crucial to the plot and Troy Baker did a phenomenal job in this role.
Mark Hamill’s iconic portrayal of Batman’s arch nemesis had been a staple of the Batman: Arkham franchise but when Hamill decided to stop voicing the Joker, there was a lot of skepticism about a replacement. Troy Baker won over many fans with his recital Joker’s monologue from the comic book “The Killing Joke” at New York Comic-Con and his performance in the game was equally fantastic.
Steven Ogg as Trevor Phillips (Grand Theft Auto V)
The Grand Theft Auto series has had a lot of crazy characters over the years butGrand Theft Auto V’s Trevor Phillips has been one of the most memorable and insane of the lot. Brought to life by Steven Ogg, Trevor is a raging lunatic who somehow still shows signs of sympathy when lives are lost needlessly and has more than just one layer to his personality.
Ogg brought a fantastic energy and insanity to the role of Trevor that resonated with gamers and made scenes with him in it that much better. The main dynamic between Trevor and Michael is a focus point of the game and Ogg’s performance elevates many scenes to a whole new level. Trevor is one of the most interesting characters to watch and much of that is because of Ogg’s performance.
Michael Biehn as Rex Powercolt (Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon)
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is a love letter to the action movies of the 1980s and it needed an interesting voice performance from its main hero. Rex Powercolt is brought to life by Michael Biehn, who you probably know as either Kyle Reese from Terminator or Cpl Hicks from Aliens.
Biehn brings a recognizable voice from the 80s that fits right in with the vibe of the game and lets you totally buy that this ridiculous, neon-clad world is really happening around you. The game is a lot of fun and part of that is the authenticity of getting someone like Biehn for that character and not just some random voice actor with no ties to 80s action movies.
Roger Craig Smith as Batman (Arkham Origins)
Much like Mark Hamill, Kevin Conroy has become synonymous with the voice of Batman. While other voice actors have tackled the character, many people will immediately recognize Conroy as Batman and that is a tough act to follow. Roger Craig Smith (known for his voice work as Ezio in the Assassin’s Creed games) took over as a younger and less seasoned Batman inArkham Origins. The result was a great performance.
Smith took a lot of what was great about Batman’s character and melded it with the thought that this Batman is not as experienced or as compassionate as Conroy’s Batman. The noticeable difference in the tone of voice and the performance sets up a whole new take on the character that is truly fascinating and is a highlight of the game.
Troy Baker as Joel (The Last of Us)
Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic game The Last of Us had an engaging and well-written character in Joel. But all that writing and potential needed to be brought to life and Troy Baker did just that for the character. Joel was a survivor of a horrible world who became tasked with getting a young girl named Ellie to a group called the Fireflies.
Joel has a lot of depth to his character and while he is the “hero” of the story, he also has a very shady past that brings into question his status as a true hero. His actions in the game can be ruthless but none of them are without reason or provocation. The moral grey area that Joel tends to live in makes him so interesting and Baker’s performance captures all of that and enhances it in many ways. This is an easy character to mess up but fortunately Baker’s top notch voice work made Joel even deeper and more interesting to follow.
Those are VGU’s nominees for best voice actor in 2013 but what do you think? Let us know by voting in the poll below. We will have the poll for this category and four others open until Thursday night and we will announce our pick and the poll winner on Friday.