To celebrate Nolan North’s birthday, we wanted to take a look back at some of the characters that he’s lent his voice to. If you haven’t heard of Mr North, then first of all shame on you, but secondly you’ve most likely heard him if not of him. He’s voiced so many main protagonists, but also a lot of the little guys. According to his extensive IMDB list these include characters from “Crackhead” to “Fisherman” all the way to “Guard #1” and beyond.
The range of Nolan North is incredible. You may be familiar with the likes of Nathan Drake, but the way he changes his voice to characters such as the Penguin or Dr Richtofen, you’ve most likely heard the man many more times than you think. We very much appreciate what he’s done to elevate and bring increased realism to his characters – and thereby to the games themselves – so we wanted to celebrate his achievements to date and hopefully for many years to come.
Talking of years to come, he recently announced that he’s working on a new ‘big, big project’ with Warner Bros. Entertainment, but kept quiet about any further information.
Marlon Random (LittleBigPlanet 3)
While Marlon Random isn’t a main character, just one you see along the way, he’s a part of Sackboy’s story none-the-less. Random is described as a bit bonkers and believes his life is a movie as he roams around the swamp with his Elvis-style hair cut. He is, then, a fitting role for Nolan, who seems to enjoy the more “out there” characters.
Corrupted Cores (Portal 2)
The Corrupted Cores are a very minor part of the Portal world, though their squeaky, wacky voice does provide some of the most amusing moments of the game. Fans will most likely remember the Corrupted Cores at the very end where one is spinning past the camera continuously saying “we’re in space” as it passes.
General Zod (Injustice: Gods Among Us)
Just one of the playable characters in Injustice: Gods Among Us, General Zod is an enemy of Superman and part of the fourth pack of DLC for the game. He’s a brilliant strategist who has similar powers to Superman, given how the Earth’s sun affects the bodies of Kryptonians.
Will Grey (Dark Void)
Though Nolan did voice the playable character in Dark Void, the Capcom-published game went a little unnoticed and didn’t release to great reviews. For that reason, it never got a sequel or the publicity that many of North’s other titles received. Set before WWII, Dark Void sees William Grey flying through the Bermuda triangle to find himself in “the void” fighting an alien race while making use of a futuristic-looking jetpack suit.
Hades (God of War)
Nolan was replaced as the voice of Hades for the rest of the series, and only had a minor part in the original game anyway. With a deep, rough voice you may not know it’s him, and given the minor part he voiced this is one of his lesser known pieces of work.
10. The Boss (Saints Row IV)
Saints Row has always been a game that likes to take the piss a little. As a nod to the fact that Nolan North has appeared in so many games, when creating your playable character in Saints Row IV, if you choose a male character then your voice options are Male 1, Male 2, Male 3 or Nolan North. Interestingly, another voice actor who’s been getting a lot of attention in the last couple of years is Troy Baker. Troy provides the voice for Male 1 in both Saints Row: The Third and Saints Row IV. It’s not the first or last time that these two iconic voices have been part of the same game.
9. Black Hand (Shadow of Mordor)
Not content in always portraying the good guy, Nolan provided the voice for the main antagonist of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor in the form of the Black Hand of Sauron. Black Hand plays a large part in the story of the game, being the one to kill the family of Talion, the game’s protagonist, leading him to seek revenge. Serving his lord with absolute loyalty yet being a master of betrayal and deceit, this villain is certainly one you want to avoid if you value your life.
8. Penguin (Batman: Arkham Series)
Oswald Cobblepot is probably the one on our list that will raise the most eyebrows. It’s certainly not obvious when playing the game who voices him given how much the Penguin’s deep, cockney voice differs so much from North’s own. Turn your nose up all you want, but it’s the truth; he voiced the sadistic gang leader in each of his Arkham game appearances as well as their spin-offs (though he didn’t appear in Arkham Asylum) and even in the Assault on Arkham animated movie released in 2014.
7. Dr. Edward Richtofen (Call of Duty: Black Ops Series)
From Call of Duty: World at War through to Black Ops III, Nolan’s been the man behind the mentally unstable sociopath Dr Edward Richtofen known as The Butcher. Though an antagonist in the Zombies storyline, Richtofen provides plenty of amusing phrases as a playable character in the games’ Zombies mode. Not the kind of Doctor you want performing your surgery, he’s a fan of torture and violence whilst listening to the screams of his victims before he takes their life is something of a pastime. He also has an unhealthy obsession with zombies and spleens.
6. The Prince (Prince of Persia 2008)
2008 saw Prince of Persia rebooted with a new protagonist, story and a change of graphical style. We were fans of the title and it was well received by the majority of the industry, though it was never granted a sequel. Instead, Ubisoft went back to its roots in 2010 with Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands to coincide with the release of the movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal, which also didn’t spawn a sequel. As a result, this was a one time deal for Nolan who voiced The Prince himself – though this was just a nickname as he was not actual royalty.
5. Martin Walker (Spec Ops: The Line)
Similarly to Prince of Persia, Spec Ops: The Line released to mainly positive reviews, yet never received a follow-up game. It was praised mainly for its narrative, in which the North-voiced playable character, Martin Walker, goes from being a loyal soldier to descending into madness. The game has four possible endings, though none of them end very well for Captain Walker. The Line was originally released in 2012 but was released for free on PS3 as part of PlayStation Plus in March 2013. It’s an enjoyable third person shooter which we recommend going back and playing if you never got the chance the first time around.
4. David (Last of Us)
One of the rare big-named titles that doesn’t have Nolan North as the main character; instead Joel is voiced by Troy Baker and Nolan is left being the freaky guy that attempts to slaughter Ellie for food. It’s not surprising that he made an appearance, given how the Last of Us and Uncharted are both developed by Naughty Dog. David was also another one of those characters where Nolan changed his voice to be a bit creepier, and as a result it’s not so obvious that it’s him, showing the range he has as an actor.
3. Deadpool (Deadpool / Various Marvel Games)
There’s no doubt Nolan North had fun playing Deadpool; you can tell from just playing the game how much he enjoyed it. Deadpool has two voices in his head and as a result Nolan got to show us his range, from the high-pitched silly voice to the deep, more mature sensible one, that usually got ignored. In the comic books, Deadpool can break the forth wall, and this translated across – so he knows he’s in a game whilst playing it. If you go over to the phone in Deadpool’s pad you can even call Nolan North for a quick chat about doing the voice over.
2. Desmond Miles (Assassin’s Creed)
Anybody who knows anything of Assassin’s Creed knows about Desmond Miles. He’s the guy that goes into the animus to relive the memories of his ancestors from the original Assassin’s Creed up to Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. If you know your Creed games, this means he’s appeared in the first six, which is the longest series that Nolan has voiced a character. He also provided the voice for Abbas Sofian in the original game as well as Adam, an ancestor of Desmond, in the flashbacks of Adam and Eve.
1. Nathan Drake (Uncharted Series)
How could Nathan Drake not be number one here? He’s a huge part of the PlayStation family and no doubt the one character everybody knows Nolan North for. All three games were highly rated and a joy to play with a fantastic story, a great cast and innovative motion capture technology for the character animations. With Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End set to be the last adventure for Mr Drake, it’ll be a sad day for fans of the series – at least, before Nolan North starts his next big project.
These are just a mere handful of games that the talented voice of Nolan North has appeared in. He’s also done the odd TV appearance, the most interesting of which is an episode of Haven where he co-starred with Emily Rose, who voices Elena Fisher in Uncharted. So all that’s left to say now is Happy Birthday Nolan North, and keep up the good work!