It’s easy to think that there’s a Troy Baker overload today. After playing Booker DeWitt in Bioshock Infinite back in 2013, Baker has been a voice in over 30 games, including Joel from The Last of Us, Talion from Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, and Pagan Min from Far Cry 4. And now, Baker will be joining up with another established juggernaut in the industry, Nolan North, to hunt for lost treasures in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End as Nathan Drake’s brother. While there is a point to be made about Baker’s voice being too common, the guy is just too good to be ignored.
It was revealed that Todd Stashwick was originally selected to play Sam Drake. It hasn’t been revealed as to why the change occurred, but whether it was simply a scheduling conflict or some shady backroom deals, it was probably for the better. While Stashwick has delivered some fine performances in the live action TV shows and movies he has performed in, he has only a handful of voice acting credits, many of which are simply “additional voices.” Even an incredible TV actor can fall flat when put in front of a microphone, much like Peter Dinklage in Telltale Games’ Game of Thrones and Destiny, so it’s just a safer bet to go with Baker in lieu of Stashwick. I’m sure Stashwick’s audition for the role was fine if Naughty Dog was willing to offer him the part initially, but when you can land a performer like Troy Baker, sometimes you just have to do whatever it takes to make that happen.
At the end of the demo shown off at the Playstation Experience, we hear two sentences from Nathan Drake’s brother, who Drake refers to as Sam, but I’m already in love with him, in a large part due to Baker’s performance. Hearing him say, “C’mon, we’ve got a treasure to find,” invokes one part brotherly love, one part excitement, and unmeasurably large amounts of charm.
It’s a tough call as to whether or any actor could deliver the performance necessary to play Sam Drake this early on, but Baker has a proven track record across a large range of roles. He could deliver firm wisdom like he did as Joel, be stern like Talion, or be absolutely manic and unpredictable like Far Cry 4’s Pagan Min.
I’m not saying there isn’t room for new talent in the industry. I would love to see the top dog’s throne get shaken, but Troy Baker has consistently killed it in every role he’s had, and shows no sign of stopping as Sam Drake.