Nolan North and Troy Baker are two of the most well-known voices in video gaming. North is known for his portrayal as Nathan Drake in the Uncharted series, while Baker is known for playing Joel in The Last of Us as well as Nathan’s brother Sam Drake in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.
OnlySP had a chance to sit down with North and Baker at Supanova Comic Con & Gaming this year. Check out the full interview and transcript below.
OnlySP: Where do people best recognise you from at these conventions?
Nolan North: Retro Replay; I’m on brand. There’s a little game called Uncharted [that] I did. But let me tell you about Retro Replay.
Troy Baker: There’s a little game called Binary Domain that three people played. I think GameSpot or EB Games made them buy it.
North: It’s a giveaway.
Baker: It’s a giveaway, please. That team’s gone, so I can talk about them. It is funny though, when we come here, we don’t think that people will know what Retro Replay is, but then we’ve seen people in shirts, we’ve seen people give us fan art here, people came up from the live show that we did.
North: Proper gifts. Mugs.
Baker: We got new mugs.
OnlySP: Are you still feeling the impact of the Uncharted franchise all these years later?
North: Yeah, I mean, people like it. There are so many new games—great games—coming out, and people want a fifth Uncharted, but that ship has kinda sailed. It’s great that so many people all remember such an iconic franchise. I’m really proud to be a part of that kind of thing. But, y’know, actors are like sharks, you gotta keep moving or you die.
Baker: So what happens when a shark stays still?
North: Drowns. Just like that.
Baker: I’ve never heard of that before.
North: That’s how Jaws ended, the first one: he took a nap, and blood clot or something like that.
OnlySP: How did you feel returning to work with Ashley Johnson on The Last of Us Part II?
Baker: It was really cool, man, I’m not gonna lie. The first day we were on set was when we shot [the PSX reveal] trailer. We go through rehearsals and stuff, and we walk through it, and things get real serious all of a sudden, when we heard both of our voices. When you put everything together, that’s when Ashley goes away and Troy goes away, and you’re left with Ellie and Joel. And the mood changed on set. It was really cool.
It’s been a struggle. It’s been something that I think, when you walk in, there’s an arrogant part of you that’s like “Oh, you’ve gotta make sure that all the fans are happy, that they like this and that they think it’s as good or better than the previous.” We’re just focused on making a good game, telling a good story, and letting people decide if they like it or not.
North: Do you think people are going to be upset or surprised that it’s become a comedy?
Baker: People really liked the singing thing, so let’s double down on that. David’s back, doing the little can-can.
North: He’s got a pet monkey, it’s cute.
Baker: It’s tasteful, it’s within the world.
North: The big Clicker musical number.
Baker: It’s a showstopper.
OnlySP: Did you think that you would be coming back for a second game?
Baker: I think, knowing Naughty Dog, they set up franchises. Neil [Druckmann, creative director] kept telling us “I’m just working on this game.” And it wasn’t until about six months after we’d released the game, we were in London for the BAFTAs, and Neil’s carting around all of the BAFTAs, and we stepped outside and he goes, “So I think I may have an idea.” Cut to now, four years later—after that moment, he walked us through the story that he had and I’ve seen how much it’s changed and developed since then. So I think we turn that part of our brain off, because if we focus on the sequel, we’re not focused on the game we’re making. That’s a really good piece of advice from Neil: just focus on this one.
OnlySP: Did it feel the same while making the Uncharted series?
North: Well there is no such thing as [Uncharted] 1, so we didn’t know there’d be a second one. I remember just being excited to do the second one, and when that one really took off, [Naughty Dog] pretty much knew that there’d be a third and a fourth. It wasn’t until the fourth one kinda started that there’s no fifth one, and you’re kinda going, “Okay, what’s next?” But you don’t want to jump the shark, as they say. It was bittersweet to end the franchise, but we’re proud of what we’ve made, and if that’s the way that Sony and Naughty Dog decide to leave it, then I’m fine with that.
OnlySP: You recently said that you would not be returning for Borderlands 3?
Baker: I didn’t say I wasn’t coming back. I said I would love to come back. They [Gearbox Software] said I’m not coming back. Their timeline tells an interesting story. I think it’s interesting that Randy Pitchford tweeted out that I turned it down, and then he said he heard that I turned it down. I would fact check before I tweeted out to the internet.
North: I am also not involved.
OnlySP: You’re not taking his role?
North: No, you don’t do that. God help the person who’s taken his role.
Baker: What’s his address? [laughs]
North: I was in Tales From the Borderlands.
Baker: You were!
North: Where’s me? Where’s Patrick Warburton?
Baker: Who knows?
OnlySP: Is there anything else that you’re working on that you’d like to share?
North: Not Borderlands. Yeah, there’s a number of projects that we’re working on, that obviously with non-disclosure agreements we can’t talk about, but we’ve got a lot of great stuff. But Retro Replay has really been where our focus is, because we just enjoy it so much. We’re just having a good time, and [we love] getting in front of a camera and doing something that we’d do anyway.
Baker: [laughs] Getting in front of a camera and doing what we usually do.
North: Shirts and skins, let’s do this! [laughs] No, I don’t mean that. It’s late in the day, here in Australia. I’m suffering from jetlag. I don’t even know how this started.
Baker: We get to do stuff that not only we enjoy doing, but the best part has been watching this community that’s grown up from this. They’re latching on. “What is going happen” is one of our catchphrases, and that’s something that the community really responded to. They created it. So watching how they take what we do on a couch every Thursday and how that’s helped them to create this nomenclature—that’s the best part. The thirty minutes before each episode is my favourite part of every episode; YouTube has a Premiere thing were you get to chat before the episode starts. That thing has favourite thirty minutes, where we check in with all our friends.
North: And they check in with each other, too. The community is actually just feeding off each other. It’s been supportive, it’s been inspiring at times. It’s really cool. It’s nice to know that we’ve done something that’s actually turned into something that people look forward to. It lifts their week, sometimes. It’s been very rewarding, so we’re gonna keep making them.