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SYFY WIRE Rooster Teeth

Exclusive: Nolan North and Troy Baker take 'convention circuit'-born Retro Replay to Rooster Teeth

By Jacob Oller
Nolan North and Troy Baker

Two of the most prolific voice actors in video games have had their YouTube show acquired by one of the biggest players in the industry. Nolan North (who you may know as Nathan Drake from Uncharted) and Troy Baker (whose voice brought Joel from The Last of Us to life) have run the show Retro Replay, where the pals play old games on a couch, since Apr. 8, 2018. And they’ll be continuing the work they’ve done on that channel with Rooster Teeth, now that they’re joining the gaming-focused company’s Let’s Play family alongside such standards as Achievement Hunter.

Baker and North sat down with SYFY WIRE to talk about the partnership and its origins. Baker and North were doing the press tour for Uncharted at The Langham Hotel in London and discussing their careers over drinks — which will come as no surprise to fans of the show, the pair joke. This is where the idea for Retro Replay was born. Their friendship, which blossomed over years as the pair crashed each other’s panels, led directly to the show — but Rooster Teeth was also there from the early days.

“This has been a courtship that’s been brewing over the last year, really,” Baker said. “It’s the beauty of the convention circuit. I’ve been familiar with Rooster Teeth just because of nerd culture, but when Nolan and I started going to conventions together, we’re always about ‘the hang’. And there are some really cool people at Rooster Teeth, like [Director of Social and Community Marketing] Barbara Dunkelman, that are just a great hang. Once you start forming friendships with these people, it’s like, ‘I love what you guys are doing’ and they like what we’re doing, so how can we organically do this together?”

Now the entire library of Retro Replay — a show that is nothing if not about “the hang” — will be available through Rooster Teeth a full day before it hits other platforms. “Rooster Teeth is gonna open it up to a lot more ears and a lot more eyes,” North said. North, who’s never played Uncharted, has been ramping up to actually play part of the franchise that bears his likeness as part of a new Retro Replay series. Or as he puts it, “I’m exposing myself as a complete tool.”

“The second we dropped that first Uncharted episode, our numbers literally went up a hundredfold,” Baker said. With many, many chapters left to go of that story, those episodes will premiere on Rooster Teeth on Sundays, then hit YouTube a day later. This same policy applies to the show’s regular episodes, which will still be posted on YouTube every Thursday, but be available to members of Rooster Teeth First, their subscription video service, on Wednesday.

Thursdays will still be maintained as the show’s day to interact with fans. “If you want to chat live with us, you can do that on Thursday,” Baker explained of the more “intimate” community-focused sessions. “We want to give any of our subscribers, any of our members, any of our fans a chance to have access to who we are,” North said, “There’s always been that wall between the fan and the person they follow.”

North and Baker will also represent Retro Replay as special guests at Rooster Teeth’s convention, RTX, which runs from July 5-7 at the Austin Convention Center. “I don’t know what to expect,” North says of the visit, which is still in its planning stages, “but I didn’t know what to expect when I went to Disney World for the first time.”

This excitement comes from two veterans of the fan-facing world being given free reign to figure out their own way to reach their audience. “The standard Q&A panel — that’s not really our vibe,” Baker said, so evolving beyond the convention status quo is important. “Everything we’re planning out right now is finding interesting ways to engage the community.” Fans can look to other Rooster Teeth channels to get an idea of what that will look like, but North and Baker should only become more inescapable for game fans in the future.

Retro Replay’s next episode drops on Thursday.