The lights are on
During Comic Con, we had the opportunity to sit in on round table discussions with some of the voice actors in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. After beginning the interview by saying, "I’m Batman. I’m Batman. No, no. I’m Batman," in Batman's gravely voice, Troy Baker (Last of Us, Infamous Second Son, BioShock Infinite, Middle-earth: Shadow Of Mordor) talked about playing both Batman and Joker, how he quickly got over his jealousy of not playing Batman in The Lego Movie, and why he's on board with whatever Naughty Dog wants to do next – including a Last of Us sequel.
Game Informer: Who are you again?
Troy Baker: I’m Batman. B-A-T-M-A-N-D-A-R-K-K-N-I-G-H-T.
Who do you hear in your head when you think of Batman?
The nerd in me will always hear Kevin Conroy [Batman: The Animated Series] when you think of that voice, but I grew up on ’66 Batman. My dad was really cool about that. I remember Cesar Romero as Joker and all the iterations of Catwoman – Lee Meriwether, Julie Newmar, and Eartha Kitt.
What I love about this, is that the Lego universe – no matter if it’s Batman or anything in DC, even like Lord of the Rings or whatever – it knows the fact that it’s a parody so we have free reign to pull from ’66, or ’89, from the comic books, and all these different things and get payoffs for all these jokes. A little of each audience is going to get each one and say, “Ah, I know what that’s from.” And that’s pretty cool. We don’t have to worry about, “Well, he doesn’t sound too much like–” because we’re like, “Dude. We’re doing a parody.” I can sound like Christian Bale or Kevin Conroy, Adam West, or Michael Keaton.
What’s the transition like going form Joker to Batman?
You do an etch-a-sketch shake and refresh. It’s a welcome break because a lot of the stuff I do – especially when you talk about doing the Joker – is dark, heavy, it’s weighty. I walk out going, “God, I just need to spend some time with some puppies, sunshine, and rainbows.” But with this, I really just get to sit back. Travis Willingham’s Superman floors me every time. Josh Keaton’s hilarious. Scott Porter? Forget about it. Dee Bradley Baker? We’ve got a cast of people’s whose comedic timing is off the charts and all I have to do is just sort of sit there and be Dean Martin while everyone else is the Jerry Lewis. Everyone else is making great jokes. It’s kind of a welcome break for me. I’m used to doing such dark stuff, and this is the one comedic stretch I get to do.
What did you think of Will Arnett’s Batman in The Lego Movie?
When we first heard we weren't doing that, I scoffed and said, “I’m not good enough for the big screen!?” I’m not lying. I finally watched it on the plane, begrudgingly. I didn’t want to see it in the theatres [laughs].
It’s hilarious. And what he did was flawless. He was just that total *** Batman. Even before I saw it I knew he would do a great job. He’s got a really good knack for doing just voice-work. He knows how to channel that performance and make Will Arnett, Will Arnett. I absolutely loved it.
It’s a different tone than your Batman.
Yeah, they’re pushing him way more Christian Bale. It’s like Christian Bale and Clint Eastwood had like, a love child. Like an angry, angry love session child. It speaks to the whole Batman universe that it can sustain multiple iterations. We can go from Adam West in ’66... if Michael Keaton could play Batman, we got a strong franchise, brother. And Lego can look at that as one big work and Lego can have fun with it.
What do you think of the idea that Naughty Dog might explore a Last of Us sequel?
First of all, if they do it then they’ll have a really strong story to tell and I’ll believe in that. From a developer standpoint, it’s really expensive to build a world and build assets. When they say it would be foolish not to [make a sequel], it’s like, “Guys. We’ve got it. Why not use it again?” But I think the thing that stands to [Naughty Dog's] credit more than anything, even as expensive and as hard and everything as it is to build a world, those people are so committed to telling a good story, that they would look at it and go, “Tear it down. We’re good,” and not come back to it and do something new and push themselves. Either way it goes, it’s going to be perfect. I’m just excited to play remastered. That’s a good plug, wasn’t it?
Dee Bradley Baker has provided his voice for myriad games including Saints Row IV, Diablo III, Batman: Arkham City, Gears of War, Halo, and Portal 2, just to name a small handful of the games he has appeared in. Often, he is brought in to create the monster noises. In Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham he plays the role of Brainiac, a character he is excitedly embodying in the image above. As we began our interview, Troy Baker called from across the room to ask if he created the giant Lego Brainiac sitting next to him in his hotel that morning. He didn't, but he did admit that he is the sort of person to spend an inordinate amount of time building something like that. On this occasion though, he was using his early free time to play Left 4 Dead.
Dee Bradley Baker: I was killing zombies this morning in Left 4 Dead 2. I’m a lot of the main creatures in that – the Charger, the Spitter, the Jockey. It’s such a gross little character, but it’s so fun. I bring my Xbox down and play with my buddy every morning and every night. Instead of going to the boring parties, I’d rather play video games.
Game Informer: You bring your Xbox 360 with you and play Left 4 Dead? That’s your game of choice?
Oh yeah. I love that game. There are a lot of games I am in that I love. I love Gears of War, I love Halo, and other games I am not in I love. But that one in particular – I just adore the gameplay. I love the voice acting, the reality of it, the lighting of it, just the shear artistry of the reality, and I love that there is no setup. There is no exposition. “Why do we have the infected? Where? How did…” No. They’re coming for you and you need to stick together and get through this. That’s all it is. It’s brilliant on many levels.
Yeah, all the story for the game is written on the walls.
Yeah, I love it. I absolutely love that game.
For more on Lego Batman 3, check out our report from the game's panel at Comic Con, which featured Adam West.
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