Troy Baker, the man behind the voice of BioShock Infinite’s protagonist Booker DeWitt, was told to “drain the swamp” by Ken Levine. What does that even mean?
BioShock Infinite looks set to turn the BioShock we know on its head. Not as much in the way it is played, since the series’ core design tenets are still very much present and accounted for. No, where BioShock was set in the murky depths of the Atlantic Ocean with Rapture, BioShock Infinite soars through the sky with Columbia. Where BioShock had a silent protagonist, BioShock Infinite will feature a fully voiced lead in the form of Booker DeWitt (pictured above, left). This change was called “an inevitable development” by Ken Levine, the game’s creator, and naturally requires the talent of a good voice actor. Cue Troy Baker.
Speaking to The Escapist, Baker elaborates on his work for BioShock Infinite. He’s no stranger to voice acting for games, having previously done Two-Face in Batman: Arkham City and Vincent in Catherine. But being asked to voice Booker was a shock to him, if only because there was a voice to voice. ”My first step was to freak out and ask Levine what the hell he was thinking! I’m a huge fan of BioShock and the thought of shaking things up on such a fundamental level was horrifically disconcerting,” Baker said.
Baker received lots of guidance from Levine, but one thing stuck out for him. “Ken has drilled a phrase in my head: ‘Drain the swamp.’ Something about that phrase really resonated with me. Basically, it means to strip myself of all the ideas I have and normal choices I would make to try to make something better and just trust the writing and more aptly, trust the character.”
For more information directly from the game’s voice actors, check out this video where they discuss the characters they’ve helped bring to life. Baker is also working with Naughty Dog on the recently announced The Last Of Us. He’s responsible for voicing Joel, one of the two survivors.
Voice work in games is receiving some proper attention, and not just from development studios. Recently, Star Wars: The Old Republic was named ‘the largest entertainment voice-over project’ by Guinness.
Keep an eye on BeefJack for our preview of BioShock Infinite later this week, and of course the latest BioShock Infinite news as well!