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“The Last of Us” voice actor discusses lifechanging role in the video game series

Troy Baker visited Abu Dhabi to participate in the Middle East Film and Comic Con in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 9 to 11. (ANJ)
Troy Baker visited Abu Dhabi to participate in the Middle East Film and Comic Con in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 9 to 11. (ANJ)
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14 Feb 2024 08:02:42 GMT9
14 Feb 2024 08:02:42 GMT9
  • "The Last of Us" is one of the most popular games of the 2010s, selling over 1.3 billion units in its first release week in 2013
  • Baker, who played Joel Miller in the video game, also played roles in the English dubbed versions of popular anime like "Naruto," "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood," and "One Piece"

Manar Elbaz

ABU DHABI: Troy Baker, who portrayed Joel Miller in the popular video game series “The Last of Us,” shared during his Abu Dhabi trip on Saturday that his iconic role had a huge impact on his professional and personal life. 

Miller is the male protagonist in the 2013 game, where he wanders with a teenage girl named Ellie, the female protagonist, in a post-apocalyptic world in an attempt to create a potential cure for an infection. The character dies in the second part of the game, released in 2020, making Ellie seek revenge for his death.

Baker was heavily praised by critics for his powerful role that resonated with the players and the complexity of his character.

Speaking to Arab News Japan on the second day of the Middle East Film and Comic Con (MEFCC,) Baker said that he almost walked out of his audition for the role. “I saw so many people that would be great choices. (I thought) they were never going to cast me, Fortunately, the casting director stopped me…and then I got a redirect, and that’s when they circled my name,” he said.

“(The role) changed my life. The character had a tremendous impact on me personally and professionally,” he shared as he reflected on the role. “I’m here today because of it. It taught me a lot about who I am as as person. It made a better actor. I think it’s one of the greatest stories ever told.”

After the game was announced in 2011, it became one of the most anticipated games in the 2010s. Published by Sony Computer Entertainment, the critically-acclaimed game became one of the best-selling games as it sold 1.3 billion units in its first week. The series sold over 37 million copies worldwide as of Jan. 2023, and it received a live-action adaptation by HBO starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey. 

“We never expected the game to be this big,” said Baker. “I knew that what we were making was good, you could tell from the writing and the story. But we never imagined how global it would be and that there would be a series based on it.”

“Most importantly, I don’t think I could ever possibly have predicted the impact that it’s had on people’s lives,” he added. 

A two-hour documentary titled “Grounded II” was released on YouTube earlier this month that takes fans through the development of the video game. “It is a love letter (to the fans.) It shows how we made the game and all the people that worked on it,” Baker told Arab News Japan. 

Prior to the video game, the American voice actor played roles in the English dubbed versions of popular anime like “Naruto,” and “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.”

“It’s impossible to pick a favorite. For me, one of the first things I’ve ever done was “Trinity Blood,” and I think that’s one of my favorite anime of all time,” he shared as he reflected on previous roles. “It’s one season. It’s very self contained and deep. The pathos in it is incredible, and the characters are great.”

Baker also played characters in the dubbed version of “One Piece,” such as Helmeppo and Ohm. “The manga has such a huge impact everywhere, especially in Japan…you can find Luffy talking to you on the subway,” he said.

The actor also shared with Arab News Japan that he is a fan of the recent Netflix live-action adaptation of the iconic anime and its cast. “Inaki Godoy (who played the protagonist role and was also present at MEFCC) is amazing. All (of them) are amazing, and they will all go places.”

The actor was a headlining guest at MEFCC and hosted meet-and-greet sessions throughout the three-day event. He also participated in a panel on the first day, where he discussed his most memorable roles. Besides the UAE, he has visited other Middle Eastern countries, such as Kuwait and Bahrain.

“I’m always happy when I get here (to the Middle East) and it’s harder and harder to leave each time,” Baker said. “Thanks to the fans for being so warm, kind, welcoming, and hospitable.” 

While he has not been to Saudi Arabia yet, he shared with Arab News Japan that he looks forward to visiting one day.

Baker will voice the main character in the upcoming Indiana Jones game titled “Indiana Jones and the Great Circle.” In 2025, he will return as Higgs Monaghan in the video game series “Death Stranding.” 

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