Roger Craig Smith has some big boots to fill. While many fans were disappointed that Kevin Conroy would not be voicing Batman in Arkham Origins, it has not phased Smith, whose credits range from, Sonic The Hedgehog, to Ezio Auditore da Firenze (Assasin’s Creed series), to Captain America (Ultimate Spider-man & Avengers Assemble). In a recent interview with Buzzfeed, Smith talked about what its like playing Batman.
RCS: It’s fun, and I’m hoping its going to be a blast on October 25, but it’s also work and it’s pressure. We have a really good time when we work but at the end of the day you’re keeping it fun to create an energy that you want so that it’s not grinding. But it’s a tremendous amount of pressure to know you’re going to try to deliver a performance of a character that is so beloved by so many people. I try not to think about that. Everybody from the background artist to the writers to the motion capture guys gets to have their say on what this character will look feel and sound like. Of course, when I sit down and play the game I’m going to be as giddy as anyone else. I’ll be super, hyper critical as well.
Still, I get to add my name to a list of actors and I can’t believe my name is up there with theirs. What a huge honor and at the end of the day, what a blast.
Why do you think the character of Batman is so durable?
RCS: From a male perspective, it’s awesome to think that he’s a playboy, but it’s not good enough to just be Bruce Wayne during the day. He’s got a heart of gold or at least a conviction over right and wrong that is so solid. He uses all his gifts for good. I think that’s why it resonates with so many people. He’s like a Robin Hood in that he goes out and does things for all these people who can’t do it for themselves.
On the subject of the Batman voice, Smith had this to say:
RCS: It’s a weird thing. It comes from a place of attitude and character. It’s where I lean very heavily on a director and the writers and everyone that is involved in this process. It’s inherently collaborative. I work in my lower register a lot and we try to get a more controlled way of delivering things so it feels like someone who is in control and confident and capable. Beyond that I don’t think there’s one thing I do to sort of modify my mouth. Or I might not be aware of it. You’re trying to emulate a bunch of physicality but the only thing you can work with is your voice. That’s why we’re always pointing and moving our arms. I wonder if I maybe stick my chest out a little bit more, maybe look down a little bit more.
Finally, when asked about what he brings to the role, Smith was very humble.
RCS: I have no idea. I don’t try to think about that sort of thing. I don’t know really, I mean, we’ll have to find out on October 25th. I hope, if nothing else, that we hear a passionate Batman who is at a different time in his life than what we’re used to.
As far as like “bringing something” to it, I think that would sound inherently arrogant. You go in and you bark out your lines for four hours and you birth this vocal baby and then you hand it over to the audio engineers and they plug it into the game and I don’t know what the finished product is going to be. I have to lean really heavily on the creative director to help me create the character. There is nothing that I can take credit for because so many people are responsible for creating the character.
It seems we’re in for quite a treat come Oct. 25th. Have you pre-ordered your copy?