Fans rally behind a voice actor who claims he wasn’t asked to return for Uncharted 4 to voice the character he made famous, but Naughty Dog claims the actor was offered the role and turned it down.
Debonair thief Nathan Drake might be able to talk himself out of just about any situation, but the same cannot be said for developer Naughty Dog. The company first drew the ire of fans after announcing a delay on the highly anticipated Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, before ultimately following that delay with yet another delay that pushed the game back into May. Then the developer found itself on the end of a stolen content accusation, after developer Ubisoft came forward to reveal that an Uncharted 4 trailer featured pilfered Assassin’s Creed concept art, once again leading to Naughty Dog apologizing and making quick changes to the trailer.
Now, Naughty Dog finds itself in yet another PR nightmare, as fans are rallying behind a scorned voice actor who claims he was not approached to return to voice the character he made famous.
Hardcore Uncharted fans that dipped into the beta for Uncharted 4’s multiplayer mode noticed that Uncharted 2 antagonist Harry Flynn was a selectable character, but the duplicitous British treasure hunter sounded slightly different. Fans began to speculate that a new voice actor may have been hired to voice the fan-favorite character, leading to gamers bombarding Flynn’s original voice actor, Steve Valentine, with questions on his role in Uncharted 4.
While Valentine remained quite on the subject initially, the voice actor eventually took to Twitter to clear the air. In a tirade spanning nine tweets, the actor confirmed that he was not in Uncharted 4, and stated that he hadn’t even been approached by Naughty Dog to reprise the role. Valentine clarified that he had nothing but respect for the Naughty Dog team, but felt that executives within the company did not respect voice actors and had left Valentine in a precarious situation, stating:
I'll say this. This is my business it's how I support my family, my kids etc. worked my entire life at it. Some execs, don't respect that— Steve Valentine (@Stevevalentine) March 7, 2016
Fans were quick to support Valentine, leading to an outpouring of negative posts flooding the official PlayStation forum. Naughty Dog community strategist Arne Meyer stepped in to respond to the accusations on the forum, countering that the company actually had offered Valentine the role, but the decision to cast another voice actor boiled down to money, with Meyer stating:
“In this case, we made the best effort to make it work, but ultimately couldn’t strike a deal that both sides were satisfied with. Sometimes that happens in this industry, among many others.”
While Meyer said that Naughty Dog was willing to let bygones be bygones, he clarified that the support behind Valentine would not cause the company to bring the actor back to voice Harry Flynn for Uncharted 4, writing:
“We did our part to make it work and it didn’t work out when it should have, when we were casting the roles and negotiating agreements. Unfortunately, the opportunity had long passed us by, even back in December, and we won’t be re-recording any multiplayer voices.”
Valentine has since taken to Twitter to apologize for making the matter public, but fans continue to shame Naughty Dog for not sticking with the actors that helped to bring life to the franchise. With rumors abounding that Uncharted 4 will be the final Uncharted game, it’s possible Valentine won’t get the opportunity to return to the series again. But with additional content planned for the hotly anticipated title, it’s possible that more work for Nathan Drake, and even Harry Flynn, could be down the line.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End releases May 10, 2016 for PS4.