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“I’ll be killing you on stage today, so let’s get on with it” – a day in the life of Troy Baker

“I’ll be killing you on stage today, so let’s get on with it” – a day in the life of Troy Baker

We recently had a chat with videogame voice acting’s second-born son (first is Nolan North) about the day-to-day life of being a sort-of celebrity.

Given that you don’t always know how gameplay is going to work before you record, do you ever have an issue getting into character?

The most important thing is that you begin with a very, very clear concept of what the character is and what their goals are. At the very outset of inFamous: Second Son Travis Willingham – who plays Delsin’s brother Reggie – and I went to Sucker Punch and spent the weekend with [game director] Nate Fox. All we did in that time was discuss the specific beats of the story, what they wanted to tell with the game and understand the relationship between the brothers.

Through discovering those goals and those relationships, Travis and I found key anchors we could use to pin these characters down. That allows you, once you set foot on the stage, to be in character to such a point that you understand their decisions and thought processes.

So, you’re still surprised when you see the character in the game, you’re like ‘okay… so /that’s/ how it really looks in the game’. However, you’re not necessarily surprised by their actions and how what you’ve recorded is used because you understand the character so well by that point.

Do you always make a point of building that rapport with your fellow actors?

I try to as much as I can, yeah. It varies, though… sometimes all you can do is say ‘Hi, I’m Troy. I’ll be killing you on stage today, so let’s get on with it’. Because we’re seeing performances in games not only rival but, in some ways, surpass what we’ve seen in TV and film (depending on the quality of the show or movie), it means that trust is such an important thing now. You need to trust those people you’re working with completely and I’m constantly working on my humility and putting my trust in other people.

Sometimes you have lots of time to build that trust and sometimes you only have a little time, so I think it’s really on you as the actor to make sure that you’re comfortable and confident enough in your preparations to do the character you’re playing justice.

Is more trust needed with games than live-action because you don’t always know how it’s going to look at the end?
That’s a great question [laughs], I don’t think I’ve been asked that. In TV and films there’s a lot of trust due to what happens in the editing room – sometimes the movie that was shot is better than the one that got put out, and sometimes the final movie is better than the one that was shot. And that’s all down to good or bad editing.

With games, though, so much of it is theatre of the mind because you’re putting a lot of trust in this new technology that is going to take what you’ve done as an actor and make a game out of it. You have to trust that the tech and the people running it are going to capture the nuances of your performance, and it’s not until you start seeing yourself in the game that you know whether or not it all worked out.

I don’t know if game acting requires you to commit /more/ trust than TV or film, but it certainly takes as much trust.

Read the full interview in issue #243 of Play, on sale April 24th!


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