A Plea To Nolan North

Dear Nolan North,

I’d like to begin by saying congratulations on the fine work you’ve done over the years. Your voice has brought life to many characters that might otherwise have been nothing more than gruff, one-dimensional soldiers or nondescript idiots that I couldn’t care less about. You replaced the voice of Salem in Army of Two: The 40th Day and brought more character to the role than any back-story might have done. You made Desmond Miles seem more like an average Joe than any real Joe Bloggs could have and, of course, you made Nathan Drake one of the most charming characters a game has had in a long time.

I think the reason that your voice is used so much is because you sound like the everyman; just a regular guy who happens to be in extraordinary situations, or just so happens to be excellent at killing people. You’re like John McClane in Die Hard; it makes the player relate more to the game because of the overall average guy-ness of your voice. You sound like a guy another guy could go grab a pint with. You know what I mean?  And while, honestly, it is a genuine pleasure to find your voice in strange places (such as the defective personality cores in Portal 2 and that protagonist in Resonance of Fate), I have one little, teeny tiny request.

Please, please, retire.

I don’t mean this in a nasty way, of course. As previously mentioned, I’m a huge fan of the work you’ve done. But you’ve been at this too long. Hearing your voice is like when Bruce Forsyth turns up on my TV repeating the same three catchphrases he’s been using for the entirety of his career. It just makes me want to turn it off and try and forget it ever happened.  You know that saying about having too much of a good thing? It’s just like that. Your voice is in practically every bloody game I play these days, even if you’re only credited as ‘additional voices’. Sure, your voice might get messed around with in post-production so we can’t tell it’s you, but after the credits roll and your name scrolls past my eyes, I feel dirty. Literally, Nolan, I have to run off for a cold shower to wash you off me.

When you’re not taking up the additional slots, you’re marching in on the main characters. That guy who you replaced as Salem in Army of Two? He probably has a wife and kids to feed and you took that paying gig away from him. I’m not saying he was a great voice actor, but hell, everyone needs a job, and you’ve got plenty of others lined up.  Also, what’s this about you being the new Jackie in The Darkness II? Was the other Jackie not good enough? I thought he filled the role perfectly, but now you’ve got to waltz in and take his job when you’ve already got Uncharted 3 and the portable spin-off to fill your coffers? How would you like it if someone just went into Naughty Dog one day and stole your role, eh? You’d be pretty pissed off, I imagine. Now just think how the original Jackie feels, six years after his game got released.

Why do you do it, Nolan? Is it for the money? Does being a voice actor even pay that well? If it does, then why the need to keep doing it? Are you perhaps a little fame hungry? Is that it? Do you want to make sure that everyone knows who you are, even if it is only through your voice?  Because if it’s the latter, than well done, mate. I’ve permanently got your voice stuck in my head for the rest of my life. Every time I read a book and the main character is a typical American guy, it’ll be your dulcet tones that fill the audio void in my head. Every time I load up a new game, I wonder aloud to myself whether or not you’re going to turn up somewhere.

So I ask again, please, just stop. Hang up your microphone, headset or whatever, take your paycheck, and go and live on a tropical beach somewhere. Spend some time with your family. Take up golf. I don’t know, it’s your life. Just please, stop providing voices for every game ever made.

Yours faithfully,


Last five articles by Ric



  1. Rook says:

    I’ve heard this before; people moaning about Nolan North voicing many characters that it seems to be the ‘in’ thing to jump on the band wagon. I know I’ve played other games besides Uncharted that he has done voice work for but maybe I’ve enjoyed the games too much to focus on his voice as a sticking point. It irks me to hear people complain about this when the guy is obviously just good at his job.

  2. Edward Edward says:

    See, I’m actually a fan of the man’s work, and I met him briefly at Eurogamer this year, but I can see where you’re coming from.
    The problem is that most people just want him to be Nathan Drake again, rather than do anything actually unique, which is a shame. Still, I reckon if he got more chance to stretch his chops rather than have to repeat himself over and over, he’d be more appreciated

  3. Andrew Highton says:

    His voice for some reason can fit any character, he’s like Morgan Freeman in that he can make anything interesting, similarly Nolan North makes any character better. If he’s got a natural talent then it’s not his fault he gets snapped up by so many games craving his voice.

Leave a Comment