Troy Baker has said that he believes Joel from The Last of Us is more of a villain than a hero during a chat at a recent comic convention. Baker played the role of Joel in the game, providing the voice and motion capture for the character. He is currently one of the more prominent voice actors working in the industry today.
Baker has played a number of major roles in some of the most high-profile AAA games in recent years. Booker DeWitt in BioShock Infinite, The Joker in Batman: Arkham Origins, Talion in the Middle-earth games and even Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid V can all be attributed to his performances. But, perhaps his most famous role was as Joel in The Last of Us. He portrayed the beleaguered and violent father figure in such a way that the character is still discussed and debated today. In fact, Joel and his motivations came up again during one of Baker’s recent appearances.
According to an article from Gamebyte, Baker spoke about Joel and his sense of morality at Manchester Comic-Con. After being asked whether he preferred to play “good” or “evil” characters, Baker responded that it’s not always so easy to make the distinction. “[In The Last of Us] you assume that Joel is the hero and David is the villain, but… everyone is the hero of their own story,” he said. “I firmly believe that David believes he’s doing what is best for his people, and he is the hero in his story.” David was the leader of a community of coordinated but cannibalistic survivors during the winter chapter of The Last of Us.
However, Baker believes that Joel doesn’t really deal in terms of morality. He explained that he doesn’t think, “Joel believes he’s a hero. If he was to lean anywhere I think that Joel would consider himself a villain, which is why he can say that he’s been on both sides.” He added in that, “he can say ‘I’m just a guy trying to get by. I’m not here to save anybody, I’m not here to upset anyone’s plans. I’m just trying to live one day at a time.’” With regard to the original question, though, Baker went on to explain that, “once you get to play the Joker, playing the ‘villain’ to the player’s perspective is way more fun. Way more fun.”
There’s certainly a lot of affection for Joel among fans of The Last of Us, even considering his questionable decisions. In spite of the character’s popularity, it is still not clear how or when Joel will appear in The Last of Us Part 2. We know that he will show up in some capacity in the sequel given the fact that Baker portrays Joel again, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens to him after the ending of the first game. Fans will just have to wait and see once the game is released early next year.
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