As the music industry continues its commercial tailspin, and cinema's returns on 3D remain uninspiring, videogames just keep going from strength to strength. While the commercial figures are impressive enough – the UK market alone has been estimated to be worth £2.8bn – there's a more nebulous sense that the kind of futurist, forward momentum that different art forms have had is, for the time being at least, firmly with games, which currently enjoy the radical stylistic leaps, devoted fans and huge financial gains once cornered by authors, bands or films.
Riding this wave is Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, the latest chapter in Sony's 8m-selling action-adventure franchise. It blurs the boundary between film and gaming with a rolling, epic narrative (short version: fortune hunter Nathan Drake careers through various kingdoms, assailed by occult forces ), cinematic trailers and quotable dialogue. The release has been accompanied by the kind of stunts that are reminiscent of a big budget movie and scream, "This industry has money!" from an Ed Zwick short film, The Hero's Journey, to big-budget TV ads and desert treasure hunts for the keenest fans.
At the centre of all this is Nolan North, the man who "plays" Nathan Drake. Having appeared in Batman: Arkham City as The Penguin, Assassin's Creed as Desmond Miles and Prince Of Persia (as The Prince), he's the nearest thing the games industry has to a bona fide leading man.
So what exactly is it that you do?
I'm an actor. Whether I'm on stage, in front of a camera or a microphone, what I do is the same – although with videogames it requires a lot of imagination. Motion capture is basically theatre in Spandex; there's minimal props, and you need a willingness to make an ass of yourself.
How did you get into voiceovers?
I've always had a penchant for dialects. I remember getting detention and being told, "Have a think about where doing these funny voices might get you someday."
Are you allowed to improvise?
Absolutely. The designers record the gameplay and I have to just talk over it, improvise. I call it panning for gold – most of it's dirt, but you'll get the odd nugget.
Why do you think people are drawn to Drake?
The fact that he's flawed and he's vulnerable is important. That describes 99% of the population.
Ever get any grief from fanboys?
I don't really get bothered, as such. I revel in my anonymity. But when I'm at a specific event and gamers are there, they'll recognise me. At a recent convention in London we had lines of over three hours.
Was anyone dressed as you?
Oh yeah. Some guy even brought his baby in and they'd given his middle name as Drake. The husband was upset as he'd wanted his first name to be Nathan
As Northie season approach The Guardian interview Nolan North
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