Kevin Conroy found recording the Arkham games frustrating: '‘What the f**k do they want me to say?’

An official Warner Bros. interview has resurfaced featuring the late Kevin Conroy, the actor best-known for his lengthy stints as the voice of Batman in the animated series and Arkham games, who died in November last year. While the topic under discussion is mostly his time on the animated show (and series co-creator Bruce Timm is also in there), Conroy at one point begins discussing his time on the Arkham games and not, it must be said, in a wholly positive light.

The full clip can be seen above (spotted by fandomwire) but the necessary context for this is that Conroy's just been discussing the difference in feel between recording for a radio play, where all the actors are in the same room together with their scripts, and the process necessary for recording videogame dialogue. 

"Then suddenly I had to do a game [and] they have to have each voice completely clean in it's own take," said Conroy. "You do four hours a day alone, in a booth, in a vacuum, creating the character, keeping the character’s voice alive, and then creating the situation for each line… and then they want it three times. You know, ‘Give it to us angry! Oh, keep that anger and give it to us with a little irony! Oh, we love the anger and we love the irony, now just sweeten it with a little bit of love.’

"By the time you get out of there you’re pulling out your hair, you’re going, ‘What the fuck do they want me to say!?’ So you do that for four hours, and then you get an hour for lunch, and then you do four hours more! And that goes on for a week, just you."

It should be said that Conroy is having a bit of a grumble about the process necessary here, rather than criticising Rocksteady or the games. And you can see how, for a voice actor who began his career in more traditional media, the transition to the more clinical and all-encompassing scale of being the lead in a big budget videogame must have been jarring at times. It wasn't just one week, after all, but over and over.

"And then you get a couple weeks off while they're writing more stuff, then they bring you back in," said Conroy. "Arkham Knight, the third in the trilogy, took two years to put together and it was 37,000 lines of dialogue!"

Whatever he may have felt about being in that booth alone, Conroy's performance in the Arkham games remains fantastic, and that trilogy stands as one of the definitive versions of Batman in no small part thanks to his contribution. The man himself said "I can't believe they're not going to do another one" in 2017, but one final curtain call remains: Conroy will return as Batman this May in Rocksteady's Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. 

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."