5 of the Best Voice Actors in Games
Since I was very young, I recognized certain voices on my favorite shows as being performed by the same person. As I got older, I learned just how talented these actors are. One great example is Hank Azaria of The Simpsons, who voices at least a dozen regular characters like, Moe, Chief Wiggum, and The Comic Book Guy. Needless to say, The Simpsons has one of the greatest casts in history. Seth Macfarlane, the creator of Family Guy, is also an insanely versatile voice actor.
As great as those actors are, they are well known. It's often the ones who don't appear on TV that have the longest resumes. For those reasons, and more, I support these actors in the SAG-AFTRA strike. Some of their voices (like Homer Simpson) pop in my head when I think of just about anything, making it tough to imagine a world without them. It might seem like an insignificant thing to lose but for me, and many others, they've been a big part of my life.
In recent years, video games like Call of Duty have started using well-known actors from movies and TV. While this makes the games more like blockbuster movies, there isn't always a guarantee that the actor will give the same Emmy-winning performance in a game as out. Veteran voice actors sometimes don't have the red carpet looks to be motion-captured in games, but they set the bar for the screen actors trying to step into their shoes. So without any further delay, I'll name five of the best voice actors in games today.
#1: John DiMaggio
Games he is best known for; Gears of War series (voice of Marcus Fenix).
Also known for; Futurama (voice of Bender), Adventure Time (voice of Jake the Dog).
"I don't like it when celebrities get voice work. But then again, if I was the producer, I wouldn't want a bunch of no-names doing my show and have to worry about word-of-mouth. I see both sides of the story."
#2: Jen Taylor
Games she is best known for; Halo franchise (voice of Cortana), Left 4 Dead (voice of Zoey).
Also known for; the voice of Cortana on Microsoft devices.
"You know, when I was initially cast, something the guys at Bungie said to me was, 'This character is in your head all the time. She is your best guide and the best aid that you have — the only guide and the only aid really. So we don’t want her to sound naggy, we don’t want her to be a pain.' They wanted her to be like the girl next door, your best friend that you want to hang out with.
And she's that and so much more because she is so smart. Obviously, she knows more than we could possibly know. It's always fun to play a character that is powerful in that way."
#3: Mark Hamill
Games he is best known for; Batman: Arkham series (Voice of The Joker).
Also known for; Star Wars (Luke Skywalker), voice of The Joker in DC Animation.
"I never saw myself as much of an actor. I wanted to be a cartoonist like Charles M. Schulz and create my own world and be able to have a studio at home and not commute and be able to be with my family. I just didn't have the skills to pull that off and so I've gravitated toward theater because I like all of it."
#4: Troy Baker
Games he is best known for; The Last of Us (voice of Joel), BioShock Infinite (voice of Booker Dewitt), Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (voice of Ocelot), Far Cry 4 (voice of Pagan Min).
Also know for; Voice of The Joker in several DC Animation productions.
"I don't ever want it to be about me. A friend of mine told me, 'The difference between fame and notoriety is fame is when people know you, and notoriety is when people know your work.' The first one is not respectable, but the second one is, because that leaves a legacy."
#5: Nolan North
Games he is best known for; Uncharted Series (voice of Nathan Drake), Assassin's Creed Series (voice of Desmond Miles), Shadow Complex (voice of Jason Flemming), Batman: Arkham Series (voice of The Penguin), Destiny (voice of Ghost).
Also known for; General Hospital (Chris Ramsey '97-'03), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-Nickelodeon (voice of The Kraang), extensive work with Marvel.
"The Penguin from Batman: Arkham City is a real departure from what I'm most known for. People actually didn't realize it was me. That's the one thing about doing voice over work that people don't realize, and you can interview anybody in this industry, you have to be a good actor as well as having a good voice."
There are several more notable voice actors worthy of mention, but the ones I've listed have the most extensive resumes, acting range, and well-known games. Their performances often help make the games they are in great. I should also mention Kevin Conroy (voice of Batman), Tara Strong (voice of Harley Quinn, Twilight Sparkle, etc.), Frank Welker (he has possibly the longest voice acting resume being the voice of Scooby-Doo), and Peter Cullen (voice of Optimus Prime).
Celebrity voice actors are often used to spruce up a marquee, and attract attention, but it's the career voice actors whose names you might not know, that often bring life to the characters they portray. After reading this article, I hope you'll take notice of the credits from your favorite games, and animation. You might notice the same names appearing dozens of time, often for more than one voice.