Ladin voiced Ellis in Left 4 Dead 2. The actor also voiced and did motion capture work for Cole, Infamous 2's main character. "They are extremely different, but they do have one quality that is undeniably the same," says Ladin about the two characters. "They are ordinary guys thrust into extraordinary situations."
With Ellis, Ladin had considerable room to stretch his legs, saying the character was one of the most enjoyable ones he's played. "The developers at Valve really encouraged me to improvise and be spontaneous in the booth so once we got into the sessions and I got rolling, Ellis took off and was a ton of fun", says the actor.
In the game, Ellis is a bit of a chatterbox, constantly talking about hair-brained adventures he had with his buddy Keith. The Texas native drew upon ranch hands he'd met and close friends he had for inspiration. "When I read him the first time I did have one specific person in mind," says Ladin, "but as the process took shape and as I worked in the voice booth with the game developers I made him my own and started to breathe some real life into him."
Infamous 2 was a different story. The character of Cole appeared in the first Infamous. However, Ladin's replacing the actor from the first game meant the character got certain visual tweaks. "So I was asked to step in and make him my own, but there were of course parameters because the first game had somewhat established the character," says Ladin, adding that the game's developer was incredibly open to his take on Cole.
While Infamous 2 is slated for this June, no word on when Valve will return to Left 4 Dead. "I would love it," says Ladin. "Unfortunately it is not up to me. Maybe with enough clamoring from all your readers to Valve, we can get Ellis his own game!" Only if Keith's in it.