Written by Rick Warren / Gfn2112
While artists and writers have key roles in making the characters in a game come to life, voice actors have the potential to make those characters special. A good performance can elevate a story to another level, and a great performance can make that story a classic. When a skilled voice actor takes a role, they make their character their own and fill them with personality. With this list, I’ll be sharing five actors who do this on a consistent basis. Take a look!
5.) Ashley Johnson
She may not have many huge video game roles, but whenever she plays a character, Ashley Johnson delivers. She did a great job playing the adorable robot Gortys in Tales from The Borderlands, and I was happy to see her as Spider-Gwen in the now-offline Marvel Heroes. However, I’m sure everyone knows her best performance. Ashley played one of my favorite characters of all time in The Last of Us: Ellie. Whether Ellie was joking around, scared, or distant, her mood came off perfectly in her dialogue. There was never a line where I thought “that could have been done better”, or “this feels wrong”. I was invested in The Last of Us, and Ellie’s story, from beginning to end. Every time I think about this amazing game, I remember that Ashley Johnson’s performance is a huge part of why I was invested. I can’t wait to see where she takes Ellie in TLoU Part 2.
My favorite character played by the actress: Ellie
Up next, an actress that has played so many characters I like, I had trouble picking a number one...
4.) Laura Bailey
With a great performance as Nadine Ross in last year’s Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Laura Bailey added to an already impressive list of great performances. From Injustice 2’s Supergirl to Street Fighter’s Chun-Li, to Infamous’s Fetch and Tales from The Borderlands’ Fiona, Laura has played main characters and supporting characters brilliantly. When it came time to choose my favorite performance from her, though, I found myself coming back to her role as Catwoman in Batman: The Telltale Series. Further, the more I think about it, the more I feel like this is my favorite version of Catwoman ever. Selina Kyle has always been a complicated character with a range of motivations, and Laura Bailey nails her character’s complicated nature in her performance. Selina always comes off as conflicted, as even when she does bad things or says she’s not a good person, her true character shines through. Batman: The Telltale Series does a great job of mixing classic Batman lore with unique ideas, and though this Catwoman isn’t wildly different from the normal version on the surface, she’s played so well that eventually she does seem that way.
My favorite character played by the actress: Catwoman
In the third spot, the actor behind my favorite video game character...
3.) David Hayter
As one of the most iconic characters in video game history, Snake would be expected to have an iconic voice... and he certainly does. The gravelly tone David Hayter provides for his character fits perfectly, becoming just as memorable as the classic bandana and cardboard box. Whether it was the raspier, older version of Solid Snake or the younger, pre-Big Boss Naked Snake, Hayter put care into every one of his performances as the character. He was also a proud fan of the MGS series, something that is always cool to see. I truly wish he would have given the final monologue from the “true” Big Boss in the Phantom Pain; Hayter deserved one final go at Snake, and MGS fans deserved to hear it. Either way, I’ll never forget the character or the series they were in, and I’m thankful to David Hayter for making him extra memorable.
My favorite character(s) played by the actor: Big Boss / Solid Snake
In the second spot, the voice of a PlayStation icon (and plenty of other characters) ...
2.) Nolan North
Nolan North is awesome. Whenever he’s interviewed I always make sure to watch it, because every time I do, I laugh. Nolan’s great sense of humor shines through many of the characters he’s played, from the villainous Edward Richtofen to the fourth wall-breaking Deadpool. Though he’s often asked to “play himself”, Nolan North has a surprising vocal range. That range is shown clearly in both the Arkham Series, where he plays Penguin, and The Last of Us, where he plays David. Still, his best role stands above everything. Nolan North is Nathan Drake, the PlayStation icon. While the main reason I don’t want an Uncharted movie is that the games are so film-like already, Nolan North’s performance is another. Much like Robert Downey Jr. has become synonymous with his role as Iron Man, Nolan North has become synonymous with Nathan Drake. Sony should definitely have that in mind going forward.
My favorite character played by the actor: Nathan Drake
Finally, in my top spot...
1.) Troy Baker
Booker DeWitt. Pagan Min. Rhys. Bruce Wayne. The Joker. Talion. Sam Drake. Ocelot. Joel. These are just some of Troy Baker’s voice acting performances, and they can speak for themselves. A genuinely cool guy who maintains a career as a musician and interacts with fans regularly, it’s hard not to like Troy Baker. It seems like he can do anything, whether it’s a believable accent or a spot-on impression of Mark Hamill’s Joker. More so, matching Ashley Johnson’s stellar performance in The Last of Us is something nobody else in the industry could do. Nobody except Troy Baker. He’s someone whose name alone can sell games, joining a select few in the gaming industry, and he deserves every bit of praise he gets.
My favorite character played by the actor: Joel
That’s all for this week's Top 5! Check back next week for another, and check the comments for a series of honorable mentions. Thanks for reading.