PER­FOR­MANCE ART

EDGE - - PUSHING FORWARD -

There is some­thing sub­ver­sive to the cast­ing of Troy Baker as Sam Drake. Nathan Drake is played by Nolan North, for so long the hard­est-work­ing man in videogame voice act­ing, and Naughty Dog has cast the young pre­tender to North’s throne as Nate’s older brother. Yet put the two in same room and there’s no trace of an­i­mos­ity. It’s hard to get a word in edge­ways, in fact, and tougher still to keep the pair from veer­ing off on tan­gents. “It just seemed like a per­fect fit,” Druck­mann says. “Know­ing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Nolan and Troy, and how they’re al­ready like best bud­dies and almost like brothers, we knew we could play off that en­ergy on stage.”

Baker has been lend­ing his voice to games for a decade, but look back on his early ca­reer and you’ll find such in­trigu­ing roles as Mis­cel­la­neous Voices, Ad­di­tional Voice Tal­ent and Var­i­ous Sol­diers. It’s only in re­cent years that he’s hit the big time,

with star­ring roles in BioShock In­fi­nite,

In­fa­mous: Sec­ond Son and, of course, as Joel in The Last Of Us. For him, Un­charted has long been an ob­ses­sion. “When I first came to LA, all I wanted to do was be in Un­charted. I wanted to get shot by Nathan Drake. There was so much about

Un­charted that made me want to do this [for a liv­ing]. I’d done some other stuff be­fore, but I was like, ‘If that’s how they’re do­ing it, that’s how I want to do it.’ Which is some­thing I think the in­dus­try as a whole was say­ing. Ev­ery­one was like, ‘We want to do it the Naughty Dog way’.”

Few would man­age it. Naughty Dog’s ap­proach to voiceover work is more common among peo­ple mak­ing movies than de­vel­op­ing games, with ta­ble read­ings and re­hearsals at which North has a habit of mak­ing lit­tle tweaks to the script. It’s his right – as Druck­mann puts it, “Nolan owns Nathan Drake.” When Drake thinks wryly out loud as he clam­bers up yet another cliff face or con­tem­plates a yawn­ing chasm be­fore his mud-stained shoes, it’s of­ten the im­pro­vi­sa­tional re­sult of North com­ment­ing on a video of the scene that’s play­ing dur­ing record­ing. Cru­cially, for A Thief’s End, Baker and North have recorded their scenes to­gether in the same room at the same time, of­ten while wear­ing mo­tion-cap­ture suits.

Yet there is of­ten a very good rea­son for the way most com­pa­nies keep their ac­tors apart, as North makes clear while ex­plain­ing that this isn’t the first time he and Baker have shared a voice booth, although pre­vi­ously it was hardly on this scale. “The clos­est we’ve come was that

Trans­form­ers one [ Fall Of Cy­bertron], where I did Clif­fjumper and he did Jazz. Those two go on a mis­sion to­gether, and they put us in the booth at the same time, so we ac­tu­ally got to riff off each other rather than do it sep­a­rately. It should have taken an hour. It took about three.”

FROM TOP Troy Baker is the voice of Nathan Drake’s brother, Sam, while Nolan North reprises his role as the charm­ing ad­ven­turer

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