5. John Marston (Rob Wiethoff) – Red Dead Redemption
As a small town Indiana man, it wasn’t hard for Rob Wiethoff to find inspiration for John Marston. The gunslinging gentleman outlaw was voiced by another non-gamer with massive talent; John Marston being his only voice acting role. Without the scratchy, slightly drawling voice of Rob Wiethoff, John Marston could never have been a believable late 1800’s desperado. Luckily, Rob Wiethoff gave his all to bring John Marston to life before leaving the acting world for good to return to his small town life and family. This of course, is not unlike the good-bad guy who spent the entirety of the game fighting to get back to his family. This singular landmark performance of Wiethoff’s really made Red Dead Redemption into the stand-alone Western game that it was always meant to be.
4. Trevor Phillips (Steven Ogg) – Grand Theft Auto V
Trevor Phillips is absolute anarchy. Fueled heavily by drugs, alcohol, violence and satiating his own motives, he is a wildfire. He is the uncontrolled id, the broken, bloody knuckles and the hair trigger of Grand Theft Auto V’s trio of protagonists. Social acceptance is something left in the dust far behind Trevor because he just doesn’t fucking care. A video game character to hit such extremes could easily have been too wild and not likable, but voice actor Steven Ogg created an absolutely interesting character with his incredible performance. Ogg raged and breathed Trevor’s psycho-charisma to life. Anticipating the moments where Trevor jumps the spectrum from normalcy to lunacy was a weird, hidden pleasure. Whenever the hot-headed meth addict took the screen in GTAV, it was impossible to look away at whatever destruction or revelry he found himself in. Trevor isn’t only a testament to how vivid and great GTAV is, but to the Ogg’s solid performance and what it takes to create such a compelling character.
3. Andrew Ryan (Armin Shimerman) – Bioshock
Is a man not entitled to great performances in his video games? “Yes!” says the man in Rapture. The third spot for top performances in video games goes to Armin Shimerman for his role as Rapture’s mastermind and charismatic “villain” of Bioshock, Andrew Ryan. Descending into the underwater city for the first time, Ryan promises its denizens a city uninhibited by morals and censors, a city to match one’s ambitions and greatness. This first speech is but an ounce of the powerful voice Shimerman commands as the self-made Andrew Ryan. Each diary log sprinkles bits of Ryan’s madness as players creep through Rapture, but Shimerman’s performance tumults to a boiling point when players finally meet Rapture’s creator. Ryan, by the end of the meeting, lays dead on the floor, however his last words still seem to linger and chill the air, “A man chooses. A slave obeys.”
2. Nathan Drake (Nolan North) – Uncharted Series
In 2007, Naughty Dog unveiled a character who would become one of the greatest characters in PlayStation history – Nathan Drake. Nate is essentially the Indiana Jones of the video game world. He is a lovable, courageous wiseass with tremendous heart. While he wasn’t a particularly deep character in Drake’s Fortune, players were able to learn the depth of his character in the subsequent titles Among Thieves and Drake’s Deception. Players have learned of his origins, the depth of his relationship with Sully, and his rocky love affair with Elena. Naughty Dog promises Nathan’s darkest moments yet in A Thief’s End, where every facet of his character will be put to the test. Nolan North masterfully brings the treasure hunter to life in what is the most iconic role of his career. Nolan North simply IS Nathan Drake. There can be no greater compliment to a voiceover artist.