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Arkham Origins brings back Joker, but not Mark Hamill

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Word on the street was that Batman: Arkham Origins would ditch the classic Batman voices, losing Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy in favor of some new blood. First, Mark Hamill claimed that Arkham City would be his last dance in the Joker's dusty purple jacket, and then reports came out that Kevin Conroy's voice wouldn't be coming from Batman's mouth (Conroy has since confirmed he'll be doing a voice in the game, but wouldn't say who it was). 

Funny thing about internet rumors... they're right more often than we like to admit. We've seen the game, and can confirm that the reports are true. Conroy and Hamill are both out for the characters they're known for, replaced with different actors. While the replacements are definitely AAA-level, the results are a bit mixed.

Conroy is being replaced with the wholly capable Roger Craig Smith, known for voicing Ezio in Assassin's Creed II and Sonic the Hedgehog in all of the blue blur's recent outings. While we're going to withhold final judgment on the job until the game is in our hands, we weren't in love with what we heard. He sounds similar to Conroy, and it's obvious he's going for that same tone, but he doesn't quite pull it off. He lacks the conviction; the confidence. Maybe this will play to the game's advantage--it does take place only two years after Bruce Wayne decided to don the cowl, and a little inexperience in his voice could sell that--but within the context we were shown, Smith sounds like someone trying to do a Conroy impression, and it ends up being kind of awkward.

The Joker's voice fares a bit better. Hamill has been swapped with Troy Baker, known for doing damn near every voice in damn near every game to release in the past few years. He was Booker DeWitt in BioShock Infinite, the default hero in Saints Row the Third, Kanji in Persona 4, and… yeah. He's in everything nowadays. From the section we saw, Baker totally nails the Joker. When the clown appeared and started instigating the caped crusader we assumed that Hamill had returned--he gets the tone completely. He even has the laugh down, something we assumed would be impossible to recreate.

Thankfully, we know more about the game than who is voicing who. If you're looking for more information you can check out our Batman: Arkham Origins preview, where we discuss the new weapons and locations we saw when we went hands-on with the upcoming open-world adventure.

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17 comments

  • Vincent Wolf - May 23, 2013 5:54 a.m.

    Yeah Baker also voiced TwoFace in City I think. And he did it flawlessly. I'm surprised at a choice, but what the hell, if he can pull it off, then he's a brilliant actor and I wouldn't mind him voice all characters in game including Catwoman.
  • mikehoncho - May 20, 2013 6:27 p.m.

    I'm thinking Conroy will narrate the game as future Batman since this is a prequel.
  • The Mad Prophet - May 20, 2013 5:29 p.m.

    Wait, Sonic has a voice?? I must be getting old... But yeah, I'm disappointed the "best" voice actors (IMO) aren't reprising their roles, but I'm hopeful that the replacements will be just as good.
  • Clovin64 - May 20, 2013 1:06 p.m.

    Troy Baker has rapidly become one of my fave voice actors over the past few years, and I look forward to seeing his portrayal of the Joker. He pulls off all his roles with enthusiasm and likeability. Not to mention he's a total dreamboat. *sigh*
  • antiAntag0nist - May 20, 2013 10:56 a.m.

    I can't say I have an issue with voice actor swap considering who they got to replace Conroy & Hamill. Having recently discovered who Troy Baker is and his past work including his awesome role as Booker DeWitt, I'm sure he'll be great. Roger Smith seems like he will be good as well. Ezio is a great character and well, I don't hate Sonic's new voice; it is quite the improvement over previous games. Overall, I'm looking forward to the end result.
  • BladedFalcon - May 20, 2013 7:45 a.m.

    I'm starting to get tried of people making such a big deal when voice actors are replaced. Going as far as to claim the product or the experience as a whole will suffer because of it. Yes, I get it, Hamill and Conroy are Iconic in their roles, and yes, it would be preferable to have them, but unless they were replaced by amateurs or the voice actors in Heavy Rain, I really don't see how a game would suffer overall because of that. What matters first and foremost is the game-play, the experience and the story. Voices, as nice as they might have been, are still secondary. Additionally, change is inevitable people, and sometimes change might be good. I still remember when the Internet as a whole shat bricks when it was announced that Heath ledger would play the Joker... And look where we are now.
  • BlueScorpion91 - May 20, 2013 8 a.m.

    I usually agree with you, but Hamill's voice as The Joker is that enjoyable to listen to that it makes me worried that the new voice actor won't be as good and that them voice notes won't be as fun. But the only other time I cared about a certain actor change is David Hayter not being Big Boss, although I know that they have to merge him with Richard Doyles portrayal as Big Boss in MGS4, so I'm not too fussed.
  • BladedFalcon - May 20, 2013 8:45 a.m.

    *shrugs* just try to enjoy the new voice acting for what it is? In both cases that you've mentioned, you're already pre-judging something without even knowing how it will actually pan out. Besides, if the dialog is well written, then the jokes should hit the mark even if it's not the same voice you're used to, so long as it's competent, and in this case, it will be.
  • slimjim441 - May 20, 2013 9:26 a.m.

    This is where I put in my two cents. I'll miss Conroy and Hamill as much as anyone else, maybe more. Batman: The Animated Series WAS my entire childhood. As sad as it is to see them go, I can live with it. While I've never heard anyone who could rival Conroy's Batman, there have been some damn good Jokers out there, and if anyone can do it, it's probably Troy Baker (who's popularity and frequency of appearances are becoming quite intriguing). What's wrong with Heavy Rain's voice actors? On the note of voice-casting being a secondary objective to a game's quality, I'd like to point out Silent Hill 2 compared to its HD recasting. 'Nuff said. (Troy Baker says the day again!) But still, no Conroy Batman. Fine. No Hamill Joker. Fine. It's not these things that have me worried, although admittedly somewhat saddened. It's not even Rocksteady's lack of involvement. It's the lack of Paul Dini. I really don't know if the story, which, as you even stated, should be 'first and foremost' on the list of importance, will hold up. I guess it can't be too bad, as long as Grant Morrison isn't involved.
  • BladedFalcon - May 20, 2013 10:23 a.m.

    "What's wrong with Heavy Rain's voice actors?" Um.. seriously? How about weird, inconsistent accents, lack of emotion (specially in the child actors) or exaggerated intonation when it's not needed. It's definitely not the worst thing I've ever heard, but it's all over the place, and it's one of the most notable examples of big budget games with less than stellar voice acting. Also, regarding the HD remake of silent hill, from what I've heard, different voice actors was the least of that HD remake's problem. What made it suck probably had to do more with the fact that it looked uglier and and ran worse worse than the original for some baffling reason. And yeah, no Paul Dini is worrying, but as you said, THIS is what journalists and people in general should be more concerned about rather than the lack of Hamill or Conroy.
  • slimjim441 - May 20, 2013 11:42 a.m.

    Of course child actors suck; that's what they do. I'll admit to a point about your speculations and criticisms on Heavy Rain's voice-acting, but it really wasn't that bad. Also, I was referring to how the new cast of Silent Hill 2 saved the remake. Granted, the collection still has its flaws; for intents and purposes, it's really just an excuse to play 2 and 3 on your PS3 so you don't have to pull out your PS2, but I still need mine for Castlevania and Kingdom Hearts anyway. But I digress. After a patch or two, the Silent Hill HD collection runs at least just as smooth as it did on PS2, whether it looks better or not. Honestly, I felt MGS3 and Okami were some of the only games that REALLY benefitted from the HD treatment. But yeah. Paul Dini. Needs to be there. I'm skeptical. Time will tell.
  • BladedFalcon - May 20, 2013 2:05 p.m.

    Well... you have Emily from Dishonored, granted, she was voiced by Chloe Moretz who is not only an awesome actress, but not that little anymore, but still; You CAN have child characters with good performances if you put your brains into it :P And I know Heavy Rain wasn't THAT bad, like I've said, there's much worse. (Case in point: Chaos wars, link below.) But still, Heavy Rain really could have had a much better casting, for one thing, they could have casted proper AMERICAN actors to play AMERICAN roles :P And well, I dunno about the patch, but even if the new cast was better than the original, to most people it certainly didn't make up for the rest of the problems, which IS exactly my point: Voice acting IS a secondary feature, not unimportant, but it definitely takes a backseat to gameplay, story, graphics and performance.
  • BladedFalcon - May 20, 2013 2:07 p.m.

    (BEHOLD! probably the worst case of VG voice acting ever!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAtC1SzWSXg
  • slimjim441 - May 20, 2013 4:03 p.m.

    That was horrible. Why did I even sit through all of it? What even is?! Mega Man 8 might still be worse though.
  • BladedFalcon - May 20, 2013 4:08 p.m.

    >:3
  • BlueScorpion91 - May 20, 2013 6:48 a.m.

    Lol, I read a story last night on CVG that Conroy said he was coming back. Maybe he just revealed the next-gen game.
  • BlueScorpion91 - May 20, 2013 6:57 a.m.

    Link to the story: http://www.computerandvideogames.com/407074/batman-voice-actor-will-return-for-arkham-origins/

Showing 1-17 of 17 comments

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