1. Joel (Troy Baker) – The Last of Us
In an extremely tight debate, Troy Baker’s role just barely beat out that of his mentor. The Last of Us featured some of the greatest voice over work and motion capturing ever seen in the video game industry. None more so was highlighted in the game’s protagonist, Joel. Before players see a moment of action, Baker’s comfortable performance within a home environment endeared us to this world. Within the span of a half hour, players are treated to a torrent of emotion ranging from love, to panic, to fear, and to tragedy. As the opening credits roll, you already understand why the game was given its title. However, Troy does not stop there. While Joel evolves into a bitter old man due to his loss, he continues to evolve as the story plays out. Players often feel angry with Joel, urging him to forget his bitterness and accept his new relationship with Ellie. We also feel personally rewarded when Baker portrays those small moments of newfound peace and acceptance with the young girl. The subtle sense of underlying anger, fear, and pain in Joel’s character is a testament to the phenomenal range of acting chops presented by the actor. We loved Troy Baker’s portrayal of Joel as it was a critical piece of The Last of Us’ puzzle.
The value of phenomenal voice over work cannot be overstated. While video games once survived without, it has become an integral part of meaningful storytelling within the gaming medium. We salute our voice actor friends for their fantastic work, and give a wholehearted thank you to all those fantastic roles who did not make our list.