We had the pleasure to talk with Troy Baker last week, as he's the voice of Alex 'AJ' Janiček in the imminent Dirt 5. However, the man has stepped into the shoes of many, many well-known characters, both for voice acting and for full performance capture. Therefore, other than talking about Codemasters' racing project, in the Gamereactor interview above we talk about The Last of Us: Part II, where Baker is none other than Joel Miller, as the actor looks back at the GOTY contender, its relationships theme, and the reception it got from the audience.
"The same way the first day that we set foot on the stage for Last of Us: Part I, we had no idea, we knew that they were going to make something good, we had no idea [about] the impact that it was going to have", says Baker from home, a poster of TLOU decorating his answer in the background. "And that was the same mindset that we went [with] when we step foot the first day on the stage for Last of Us: Part II. You never know how a game is going to be received, and if you start worrying about 'what's the Metacritic', and 'what are people going to think', and 'what a YouTube pop comment is going to be', for me as an actor, I'm forgetting that there's a person that's living inside of this moment, and so that doesn't serve me, or the character, or the story, and ultimately it doesn't serve the game".
"So you kind of have to be... I understand why they put blinders on horses when they race, it's because you just need to see the track that's in front of you", Baker continues, with a very different racing metaphor. "And if this year has taught us anything, it's taught us this, that some times, what we have to do is make our world small and understand that everyone is in this thing together. And everyone's trying to find their best way to work through these problems. And your past successes don't necessarily mean anything right now, nor does your future failure. All that matters is the track that lies ahead of you".
TLOU2 is partly about that definitely, and Baker understands that "if we keep focus on that, and if we understand that how we're going to get through this race, how we're going to get down this track is together, that ultimately is what serves you best".
So, despite the (some times disgusting and disrespectful) backlash Naughty Dog got from a small part of the players, Baker firmly claims that "I'm damn proud of The Last of Us, The Last of Us: Part II especially; I've played it, I've finished it, I've rolled credits on it, and there's not a single thing I would change about the game. I feel like everything was so masterfully done that, if you pulled one thing away, literally everything is a linchpin. It is so carefully and meticulously crafted, and that is something I love about making games specifically".
In the full interview we also talk about story-driven games with mute characters and Baker's work philosophy in general.
How do you feel about TLOU2 five months after its original release?