“Is that Nolan North?” Yeah, I mean, it probably is. But that’s not to say that North and friends dominate the whole gaming industry when it comes to voice acting. It’s just that, well — they get around. A lot. From the triple-A titles to the lashings of indie newcomers, chances are you’ve recognised a few tones here or there. And that’s normal — especially in video games. Like the film industry, competition is arduous, and studios will always resort to the gaming equivalent to Hollywood A-listers more often than not.
Of course, there’s a reason why certain voice actors bag almost every contract in the gaming world. Not only are they a trusted source that can be relied upon to deliver strong voice work, but they’re also cherished by millions across the industry, too. Both players and developers will always praise a select few when it comes to talent — and that’s okay. Sure, they dominate the video game platform, but we honestly couldn’t fault their contribution to the industry over the last however many decades.
5. Ashly Burch
Okay, so while Ashly Burch isn’t considered to be a platinum status voice actor compared to our upcoming entries, several performances that spring to mind from Birch are definitely worth pointing out on this list. Not only has she brought endless waves of praise through her outstanding portrayal of Aloy in the Horizon: Zero Dawn and Outer Wilds chapters — but also through her appearances in other roles, too.
Whether it’s Tiny Tina in Borderlands, Chloe Price in Life is Strange, Cassie Cage in Mortal Kombat, or even Sam in Afterparty — chances are you’ve heard one of Burch’s contributions over the years. But in case you haven’t been keeping an eye on the ever-expanding portfolio since her 2012 debut, then you’re more than likely going to bump into it soon — what with one of the most anticipated games on the Horizon.
4. Steven Blum
If you haven’t heard of Steven Blum — then you’re about to. While not as celebrated as some of the other triple-A voice actors in the world of gaming, Blum has contributed to just as many top-tier games over the years. Ever since 1995 where the actor took the reigns of Sid, the mullet-wearing biker in Full Throttle, the catalogue has only continued to expand with various noteworthy performances.
From Crash Bandicoot in Crash Nitro Kart to Wolverine in X-Men: Legends, Grayson Hunt in Bulletstorm to Garcia Hotspur in Shadows of the Damned — Blum has fused his iconic deep tones into various award-winning works over several decades. Through the power of his iconic deep pitches, almost every developer has looked to Blum to portray some of the mightiest characters in the history of gaming. Ares from God of War speaks volumes for that alone, to be fair.
3. Troy Baker
It’s 2021, which means, as a gamer, you’ve probably spent the last few years listening to Troy Baker. Or, at least one of his many personas as captured in video game format. Just take The Last of Us, for example. That’s our beloved Joel right there. But that’s not the only award-winning performance that Baker has captured in the industry. In fact, with hundreds of contributions over the years, it might just be a weighty challenge trying to list them all in one small space.
Troy Baker, along with two fellow voice actors that we’ll cross in a moment, have all pitched in on various best-selling titles over the years as a team. However, as a lone wolf, Baker has voiced the likes of Vincent in Catherine, Booker in BioShock: Infinite, Delsin in inFamous: Second Son, Rhys in Tales from the Borderlands, and Talion in Middle-earth: Shadow of War. Oh, and did you know that he also voiced Pagan Min in Far Cry 4? That one definitely took us by surprise, alright.
2. Laura Bailey
Chances are if you’ve sunken into the role of a female hero at any point in the last two decades — then you’ve probably encountered one of Laura Bailey’s many performances. Starting out as Rayne in the Bloodrayne franchise on PlayStation 2 and Xbox, Bailey soon found a home within the industry with plenty of other opportunities opening up to her heroic tone.
Of course, you’re more than likely aware of Bailey’s award-winning portrayal of Abby in The Last of Us: Part II. But other than that, you might’ve heard a familiar voice or two in World of Warcraft as Jaina Proudmore, The Boss in Saints Row, Helena in Resident Evil 6, Lady Comstock in BioShock: Infinite, Kait Diaz in Gears of War, and, of course, Mary Jane in Marvel’s Spider-Man. And yes, there are hundreds more that we ultimately don’t have the space to list. However, if you’re keen to read the full list, you could always take a look here?
1. Nolan North
Yes, it’s Nolan North. Whether you know him by name or not is sort of irrelevant — because you’ve most definitely heard one of his many characters that spread across the gaming community. Breaking out into the gaming industry back in 1999, Nolan North made his debut role in Interstate ’82, the vehicular combat hit that found sanctuary on PC.
Following on from this breakout character, North went on to voice the likes of Nathan Drake (Uncharted), Desmond Miles (Assassin’s Creed), David (The Last of Us), Tony Stark (Marvel’s Avengers), as well as hundreds of other roles. Oh, and how could we forget that North also voiced the Hero of Bowerstone in Fable 2? Yes — all three words. All in all, Nolan North has contributed towards a hefty portion of video games over the past twenty years, and, is still very much packing in the monologues for plenty of upcoming releases, too.