The Voice Of A Master: James Arnold TaylorS

I got a lot out of LucasArts' Clone Wars junket, but the best treat was meeting the man behind the voices of Tidus, Ratchet and of course Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Journalists were given about 20 minutes with Mr. Taylor (pictured, left) during the junket for a roundtable Q&A. Naturally, I had to let the TV critics get their questions in and most of the roundtable was really Taylor performing for us – going back and forth between the various celebrity voices he doubles for in animated series and movie trailers.

But eventually I got to ask a few video-game related questions. The first being, "Who's your favorite video game character you've voiced?"

This turned out to be a tough question for Taylor. Unlike dubbing for cartoons and movies where you either get to act out the lines with other actors like a radio play (Clone Wars), or only have a few lines at a time to cover for a movie trailer (Batman Begins, I think), video game dubbing is long and lonely work. Taylor said the script for Final Fantasy X was as thick as a phonebook and he'd do six hour sessions completely by himself in a recording studio.

It's pretty grueling work – but it also makes you bond with your character the way you would with a child. So it was hard for Taylor to choose just one video game character as his favorite.

"I love the Ratchet & Clank series," he said, referencing the upcoming Crack In Time that he just voiced. "But Tidus from the Final Fantasy series really put me on the map." Even now, almost 10 years since that performance, he's still getting fan mail for it.

For my part, I prefer him as Ratchet. Maybe I say that, though, because I first bonded to his voice as a QA tester on Size Matters. I spent almost three months listening to his every line over and over again, making sure the subtitles were accurate.

You can catch Taylor's most recent video game performance when Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes hits shelves October 6, or wait a few weeks and pick up Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time.

P.S. He voices the Fox Animation Domination TV bit and I never would have believed that if I hadn't heard him say the lines right in front of me.

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