What is next for Troy Baker? Let Him Play Nathan Drake.
I recently saw a video from New York Comic Con that showcased the phenomenal casting and acting of Troy Baker as the new Joker in Batman: Arkham Origins. Taking over for the retiring Mark Hamill is no small task but with a quick reading of one of the monologues from “The Killing Joke,” Baker proved once again that he is at the top of his game and–in my opinion–has supplanted Nolan North as the best voice actor in the gaming business. If you haven’t seen this brilliance check it out here:
[y=pAn49oUtHJE height=400]Taking on such an iconic character and nailing it even in that small reading made me think of all the wonderful performances we’ve enjoyed from him in the past year. Lead roles in Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us gave gamers a glimpse of what the medium could be with solid thought-provoking characters, very well written stories, and actors that brought it all to life. Here are a couple of my favorite scenes of the past year. *MAD SPOILERS AHOY*
With all that said there is one more character that I would love to see Baker take on…that character is Nathan Drake.
Now mind you, I would argue that without Nolan North’s embodiment of the Drake character and its subsequent success, this article and most of the ones surrounding the emergence of Baker would be moot. I think North elevated the visibility of voice actors tenfold after the Uncharted series garnered so much success. That success both seemed to be a blessing and a curse for games that later had characters voiced by him, though. For a couple of years it felt like every game would include his voice and in most cases they did. You could tell it was North right off the bat and that made some of those characters feel grounded in the worlds they inhabited, so much so that North’s numerous back to back lead roles even led to Giant Bomb’s tongue-in-cheek creation of the “Northie” award.
So here are a couple of reasons I believe that Baker would make a great fit for the Nathan Drake role:
- Baker has proven that he has outstanding range. He can go from the surly misanthrope Joel to the deranged lunatic in the Joker without losing a beat. I haven’t really ever seen that kind of cross-section of characters from North, except with perhaps glimpses of it during Spec Ops:The Line.
- Nathan Drake is a quintessentially unassuming, quick-witted everyman who can crack a skull and a joke with the best of them. I can’t really recall a role in which Baker has had to do that and I think it would be refreshing to see what his take on that kind of a character would be.
- After the third installment of the Uncharted series didn’t really live up to expectations, the infusion of a new leading man behind Drake could bring back the series in a big way. A new Drake game with a great Amy Hennig script performed by Baker might be just what it needs to regain its “game of the year” status.
I hope this article hasn’t come off as a Nolan North bash fest, as I really respect the work he’s done and especially the life he’s given to one of my favorite gaming characters and franchises. As I wrote in my Saint’s Row 4 review, he totally changed my created character and thus my experience with that game for the better just by voicing my avatar. But I think at this moment in the world of voice acting, especially within the gaming sphere, Troy Baker is the cream of the crop and I would love to see him combine his talents with the Naughty Dog staff.
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or on social media. If there are any other roles you think Baker might be a great fit for I would love to hear that as well.