We all know the big names in video game voice acting. The industry usually keeps the same group of individuals on a constant rotation from game to game. You may even recognise many of the same voices from anime, with the bigger names voicing dozens of characters a year. If you know your Phil Lamarr from your Jennifer Hale, your Steve Blum from Brian Bloom, then you know the calibre of talent and the reason they are heard time and time again. Here, we honour the top five best performances in this year of gaming.
5. Nolan North – Deadpool
While it was very tempting to put North’s role as himself from Saints Row IV, he excelled playing crazy super-character, Deadpool. Departing from his usual straight delivery as everyman characters Desmond Miles and Nathan Drake, North brought a new energy when cast as the hyperactive-hero. Even going so far as to joke about himself, his performance was almost universally praised as the game’s best point. Hopefully this will lead to a departure from his typecast role as the 20-something guy, and lead into more interesting material.
4. Adam Harrington – Bigby Wolf
Being the big bad wolf can’t be easy, especially if you are the sheriff of an elusive group of fairytale characters who are very quick to point out your previous mistakes. Walking the tightrope between forceful yet remaining calm against your inner demons is what brings Adam Harrington’s performance as Bigby Wolf to life. Hitting that sweet spot that captures Bigby’s conflicted nature was what made him so memorable, and we can’t wait to see how the character develops in future episodes.
3. Courtnee Draper – Elizabeth
Admit it, you fell in love with Elizabeth the second you saw her. This Disney princess locked in er tower captured the hearts of many earlier this year, and for good reason to. Better know for her live action roles, Irrational Games had the difficult task of making players want to save Elizabeth, even if most of the time she was really helping you. Say what you want about the gameplay, but very rarely did anyone disagree that Draper’s portrayal of this digital beauty, and how she interacted with the player, was something special.
2. Oliver Vaquer / Jennifer Hale – The Lutece Twins
Sure this is kind of cheating, giving the game two awards, but Bioshock Infinite was a world full of memorable and interesting character, Rosalind and Robert Lutece are the first two characters we see in once we start the game, and they set the tone perfectly for the rest of the experience. Seemingly detached from the world around them, and ever curious about your progress, Oliver Vaquer and Jennifer Hale utterly sell the two. While we won’t spoil the game, the couples increased role as you continue through the game always keeps you slightly off kilter, wondering what they know that you don’t, and why you seem to be an experiment to them. On a second playthrough their characters reach a new level, with every line layering on more foreshadowing. Hopefully we will see these characters return in the future, ready to blow our minds once again.
1. Troy Baker – Everything this year
Yeah, we are kind of cheating again, butTroy Baked has had one hell of a year. Covering roles like Booker DeWitt from Bioshock Infinite, Joker in Batman: Arkham Origins, Joel from The Last of Us, he has turned out fantastic performance one after the other. He also seems to show no sign of slowing down, featuring as Revolver Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain, and Delsin Rowe in next year’s Infamous: Second Son. With a wide vocal range, he has become the new name almost every gamer knows. He always seems to bring an amazing level of commitment and effort to each role. This year however, he has reigned supreme, something that at this rate will happen again next year.
As some games focus more on their narratives, hopefully this will lead to an emergence of further voice talent. Who knows what the next year will bring to the industry, but we wouldn’t be surprised if you saw and heard everyone on this list at least one more time.
Do you agree with our choices? Did we leave out your favourite voice actor, or do you think someone didn’t deserve their place? Let us know in the comments, or vote below in our poll.