It would be an understatement to say that I am tired of arguing about NFTs, but I will happily call out those who defend them with their whole chest. The newest crypt-bro supporter on the block is Troy Baker, the voice actor famous for playing serial murderer Joel from The Last of Us and crazy Far Cry 4 dictator Pagan Min.
In the dead of night, Baker announced a partnership with Voiceverse NFT, who, according to their website, want you to pay obscene amounts of money and kill the Earth to own your voice. Or a voice. Screw personal vocal chords, the future is digital speech; the website also highlights the ability to “breed” voices together. Y’know, like Pokèmon or dogs.
Obviously Baker faced near immediate backlash. Not just for promoting Voiceverse, but also for snarkily stating “You can hate. Or you can create.” The declaration is in incredibly poor taste, as Baker wholly ignores the months of valid criticism over the technology and mission behind NFTs. These monkeys—in this case a slightly disturbing chibi Baker and his voice—cost inordinate amounts of energy to create and can easily be right-clicked and saved for free.
Fans, friends and enemies alike rushed to Twitter to grab their golf clubs and take swings at the voice actor. Many rightly pointed out that Voiceverse exists to make Baker obsolete: the entire platform hinges on creating custom audiobooks and podcasts with your favorite voice. Put bluntly, they want to kill voice acting by allowing those with the most money to own the best, most seductive voices and make content with them.
The rest of the quote tweets are filled with memes and jokes, most of them comparing Baker to Joel and the fate that befalls the beloved mass killer. The remaining few are artists combining their hate and creativity (someone tell Baker it is possible) in the form of drawings denouncing NFTs.
Baker has already kinda-sorta-not-really walked back on Voiceverse. Apparently, the backlash has given him a lot to think about, and it reminded him that he just wants to tell stories to whoever will listen. How the hell blockchain vocaloids would help a voice actor tell stories anywhere that isn’t a cardboard box under a bridge is beyond my comprehension, but maybe that’s just me.
Whether or not Baker continues his partnership with Voiceverse is up in the air, but there is one thing to celebrate: the man got ratioed. And that’s something we can all unite behind.