SEGAbits Interviews the Voice of Sonic, Roger Craig Smith

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66ABsC1IOG0[/youtube]

We don’t often post about other website’s podcasts, but this is something I’m confident you guys will want to hear. SEGAbits interviewed Roger Craig Smith just a few hours ago, asking some stellar questions about his time as his role as Sonic, in both the games and in the upcoming Sonic Boom TV series.

They do spend some time asking him about his role as Batman (as they were originally contacted by his PR for a Batman centered interview), but the vast majority of the interview is spent talking about his time as Sonic. They asked him some great questions, including the differences between Boom Sonic and SEGA Sonic, his debut as Sonic at Alton Towers, his thoughts on past Sonic VAs, and his history as a voice actor among other things.

So check it out and enjoy! In case you don’t want to listen to it yon Youtube, I’ve included the download links below.

[Download] [RSS] [iTunes] [Archive]

38 Comments

  1. I’m so conflicted about this guy. I love him as a voice actor, but absolutely hate his sonic.

    1. He’s getting better as time goes on.

      Although I don’t prefer his Smartallick, douchey personality over the more laid back and confident style of Jason Griffith Sonic.

      1. I couldn’t agree more. He is getting better, though I’m not too confident he’ll be up there with Jason Griffith.

      2. Bear in mind, the writing he’s given also influences how he acts. Not a perfect excuse, but it can’t always be blamed on the actor. They can’t deviate from the lines too much or the company gets mad, I imagine. Unless you’re Mike Pollock making smart comments while filming for Sonic Colors.

        That was just brilliant in every definition of the word.

        I will say, I prefer Roger and Jason both over Ryan, but I can’t figure out if I prefer Jason over Ryan or the other way around. They both have their strengths and weaknesses.

  2. Man, Roger is such a cool dude. I see everyone saying Ryan Drummond will always be the greatest Sonic, but to me, Roger takes that cake and adds a whole bigger layer beneath it. The current Sonic voice cast is certainly my favorite, and I am glad to have this dude be the leading role. But boy, do I remember the moment I first heard him in Sonic Colors’ cutscenes. Before the game was released, it just seemed so unreal… but then afterwards, I really grew to think that Roger was perfect for the role, with Kate Higgins being a fantastic accompaniment. He also does Thomas from Regular Show, as well as Wonder Blue from The Wonderful 101 (am I the only one who’s played that?), so I connect a bit more with this man than I have with Jason or Ryan. It’s so relaxing, really.

    1. …I’m sorry, did you mean to say “I think Roger Craig Smith is the most famous guy in the world”? Because I swear, several English teachers came to my house and told me that they sensed a disturbance in the Grammatical Force.

      And if that is what you meant, no, I’m pretty sure he’s not the most famous person in the world. Not everybody plays video games and watches TV, or goes to Pizza Hut.

    1. THOSE GODDAMN VIDEOS.

      I CAN’T. THE PART WHERE AMY SINGS ABOUT GOING TO GO GET THE SONIC CLONE OMFG I COULDN’T STOP LAUGHING

  3. I really enjoyed listening to this interview, he seems like a really awesome guy 🙂 I thought the idea of a Sonic Generations 2 with Japanese & American Sonic meeting was hilarious XD

    Roger is my favourite Sonic because of the effort and energy he puts into the character. I know a lot of people prefer Ryan Drummond but honestly I think the only difference between the 2 voices is that Roger’s voice is slightly lower. While reading comparison comments it seems like the difference in pitch is the main issue for fans but I don’t understand that because at the end of the day although their fictional these characters still age so it’s only natural that after all these years characters voices will change. At the end of the day he still sounds like Sonic, he just has a deeper more mature voice. Sonic himself however is still as childish as ever lol

  4. His voice doesn’t have the youthful tone I preferred from Drummond, but he’s 10x better than Griffith. But then again anyone’s better than Griffith, Jaleel White is better than Griffith, if Jaleel White were ever to be sick and couldn’t could appear to the recording session for an episode Carl Winslow (Another star from the show Family Matters aka The Steve Urkel Show) could have subbed in for him and done a better job at voicing Sonic than Jason Griffith, and if your a true fan of the FM series imagine Waldo Faldo flying in to sub in for Steve, he would have done a better job than Jason. Linda Elerby could do a better job than Jason Griffith, and if you disagree because she’s a woman then I will rebuttal by calling you sexist. Rapper Lil B could a superb job a voicing Jason Griffith, so good that Jason would apologize for his past performances by writing a letter to everyone who ever listened to him. You could probably do a better job than Jason Griffith, that’s right YOU.

    TLDR; Roger Craig Smith is the best voice actor for Sonic we’ve had in years.

    1. Lies….I literally cried when Griffith was fired.

      After the first season of Sonic X, he was flawless in his stride. Especially in Sonic Unleashed, the pinnacle of an awesome Sonic voice. A perfect match for the younger tone of Sonic. At least to me. He just had the displeasure of being in some of the worst Sonic Games out there. (Not unleashed, I honestly believe it is very underrated. Not perfect, but underrated.)

      Drummond was cool too though. Although he sounded a little misplaced from the mood sometimes.

      1. I say Griffith’s best preformance was Black Knight along with Unleashed. He managed to nail Sonic in both cocky and emotional parts of his scenes.

        1. Jason pushes Sonic’s cockiness too hard. Ryan had a subtle realistic tone. Jason just reminds me of the loud kid in class who everyone wants to shut up.

          1. Agreed 100%. I feel Jason sounded WAY too forced as Sonic, whereas Drummond and Smith sound significantly more natural.

          2. Really? If I’d have to say, I think Roger is the one that pushes the cockiness too hard and it doesn’t help that Colors was just a joke-fest of a plot and that Lost World couldn’t even keep Sonic consistent with his personality. Meanwhile Jason had games like Black Knight and Unleashed that weren’t just “JOKESJOKESJOKES” for the writing and had actual story to it.

            Ryan did pretty good in Adventure 1&2 along with Heroes, but there were a few scenes that were a bit lacking in the acting section to me.
            Imo, all 3 are way better than Jaleel.

            Now if we can just get more of Laura Bailey as Blaze I’d really appreciate it, you have the best voice you can ever think of for an amazing female character like Blaze yet they do not use her as much as they should be.

          3. This is just so 100% accurate.

            While I still consider Ryan to be the best English Sonic, Roger is definitely a close second. He’s been doing a great job and I really do enjoy his work versus Griffith who only ever made me cringe and immediately switch the voices to Japanese if I was able to.

            Roger is here to stay and I’m very much glad to have him.

    2. The hell is wrong with you!? Voicing an opinion is one thing, but what you’re doing is challenging anyone who actually liked Jason as a voice actor to think any differently than you. You don’t like Jason, I get it. Just say it instead of randomly throwing daggers in the air in the hopes that somebody will feel insulted by it. Because that’s what I think you’re doing. You could have just said that you preferred the other actors instead of Griffith, but no, you thought you had some point to prove, so you wanted to sound like some kind of clever jackass to make it sound like you’re smarter fan than the rest of us and that you know what you’re talking about more than any fan who actually does like Griffith’s portrayal as Sonic. I liked Griffith, and I realize that his style of portraying Sonic wasn’t for everyone, but that doesn’t mean that I have to go around and bash Ryan Drummond, Roger Craig Smith, and Jaleel White’s acting capabilities just because I prefer Griffith more than any of them. You can have your opinion and you can express it, but you have keep your emotions and words in check when you’re saying what you think. And don’t say that you were giving “constructive criticism”, because that was anything but constructive. All you did was say that anybody could have done a better job, you didn’t try to list the strengths and weaknesses of anybody. And “You could probably do a better job than Jason Griffith, that’s right YOU”? Seriously? Now you’re just insulting whoever is reading your comment. As far as I’m concerned, you’re not trying to voice an opinion, you’re trying to piss people off.

    1. Holy crap, he does…

      I can never under this.

      Actually, he also looks like the the douchey talk show radio guy from Frasier as well. Clooney is cooler though.

    1. It’s an unjustified hate, Roger is legitimately doing good. People go used to Jason, he never got good. Compare his clips from Unleashed to Ryan’s Sonic Heroes. Ryan was just the all around better Sonic the whole time.

      1. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer Jason over Ryan, but really?

        Sonic Heroes is a horrible example for Drummond. His performance was much better in Adventure 2 than Heroes.

        And I don’t hate Rodger. He proves to be the most talented overall. (Still love Jason the most though. He got me through hard times…)

        If anything, I hate the modern writers. They wrote Sonic up to be such a jackass in the latest installments outside of Generations. He’s slowly changing from the character I grew up with and it sucks horribly.

        1. Yeah seriously, if you’re going to try and compare Jason and Ryan’s voice work against each other, you could at least try picking a BETTER example for Ryan. Sonic Adventure 2 or even Sonic Adventure would be better examples than Heroes (I wont even mention anything about “teamwork” or things being “tight” or “happenin'”). I mean, to me, Unleashed was Jason’s best work as Sonic yet and Heroes was probably Ryan’s weakest. Whether you’re trying to make Ryan look good or Jason look good, you should still try to make it a fair comparison.

      2. I never “got used” to Jason, I loved Jason. He was the first voice for Sonic I ever heard. To me, Jason Griffith WAS Sonic, the same way that Mark Hamill was the Joker to most people. He sounded like the perfect mix of cocky, youthful, free-spirited, kind-hearted, passionate, and fun-loving, adventure-having hedgehog I ever heard. To me, it was very strange to ever hear anyone else voice him. I still remember my first reaction after hearing Ryan Drummond’s first ever line as Sonic in Sonic Adventure, “Oh yeah! This is happenin’!” (“……..what the hell?…”). If anything, I got used to Drummond, and once I did, he wasn’t too bad to listen to, he still captured the modern qualities of Sonic in a pretty decent way, though mostly in the fun and adventure-loving aspects, as well as the cocky attitude. Anything that required Sonic to actually sound serious or understanding, eh, he kind of fell a bit flat (I shall never un-hear the “Super Power of TEAMWORK!!”). Still, he wasn’t bad for Sonic’s first words in the 3D gaming world, and I feel he did serve a good role in helping establish some of Sonic’s core personality traits, much like Jaleel White’s, though slightly less annoying. Jaleel White, he was probably the hardest for me to get used to. You have to understand, from my stand point, after having heard relatively level toned teenaged voices for Sonic, White’s nasally and high-pitched voice for Sonic was a bit off-setting, especially after I was already familiar with his role as Urkel. It made for a different kind of Sonic to listen to, but oddly not too different from what I already knew. Sonic’s traits were the same, I think they’ve always been, it’s just that with each actor and scriptwriter, certain traits are emphasized more than others. For White’s case, they really wanted to push the fact that Sonic was “kool”, cocky, fast, funny, and very very sassy. While from a modern standpoint, hearing that kind of voice portray Sonic today would feel like 10 steps in the wrong direction, but in terms of it representing a younger and less mature Sonic, I think it suits the character rather well. It’s still Sonic, it’s just a younger and more innocent and naive time, so it would make sense of Sonic started out sounding that pesky and annoying. Among voices for Sonic, White would still rank fourth for me, but he’s still a very honorable mention, as in many ways he WAS Sonic’s first voice, and definitely a voice for a generation. As for Roger Craig Smith, just like Drummond and White, his first line really threw me off after being so used to Griffith’s style of Sonic. Why they wanted Sonic to sound more mature when if anything he’s acting even less mature than he was in previous games before Colors was beyond me, but after hearing all of those pitfall “WHOOOOAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!”‘s, I could confidently say that by the end of Colors, I got used to Smith’s voice. And honestly, I think that it was a nice logical choice after Griffith. Griffith is still my favorite, but in terms of a cocky and slightly older sounding Sonic (especially after a birthday celebratory game like Generations), he definitely fits the mold of what Sonic should sound like. And it’s probably no coincidence that he sounds like what most original fans of the first Sonic would sound like today. And that’s when it hit me. The progression of Sonic’s voice over time has almost mirrored the growth of the fanbase. Jaleel White’s nasally and sassy voice was what appealed to the kids growing up who wanted to hear what Sonic would sound like and wanted to be like Sonic. Ryan Drummond’s loud and cocky voice was what most kids by the time they hit 13 or so would probably sound like, and their interests in extreme sports and dangerous stupid stuff would most likely be developing by that point. Jason Griffith’s mellow yet noisy voice built on what the last two actors provided (still plenty of that awkward shouting and writing that all of you Adventure and Heroes fans were possibly kind of into), but also brought in a subtle passionate overtone when the going got tough and the life-lesson was learned, somewhat reflecting the fact that by the time anybody was 15-17 they will have begun realizing that there is more to life and that there are some things that they need to take time and appreciate. Roger Craig Smith’s deeper and snarky yet humorous voice seems to fit the level of maturity that any kid who grew up with the original Sonic would have by now, being about college-aged and more free to express one’s self. One can often start to be nostalgic by this point, but upon being on the beginning of being an adult, they also feel like they are more entitled to say whatever the hell they want, still hanging onto what they had learned before, yet trying to discover themselves now for the first time. I’m not sure if anybody really identifies with this, but I can certainly say that this is how I identify with the evolution of Sonic’s voice over time. And yeah, I realize that Griffith’s Sonic voice wasn’t perfect, neither where the other actor’s. There definitely were some lines that I felt he over-emphasized and some explanatory lines sounded admittedly annoying and infamous. However, half of that blame goes to the writers for making such lines to begin with, as well as voice-directors for not trying to get a better take out of the actors. Jason just tried his best with what he was given, and I can really sense that in his work as Sonic. And to be fair, the same problems have existed with every other actor of Sonic, even with Smith today (especially today, as the writing has been acting like a huge weight upon the shoulders of Smith’s otherwise remarkable performance as Sonic). I stand by the idea that whenever somebody reads or imagines anything involving Sonic, it’s in the voice of the first actor they ever heard as Sonic. Those who grew up on White may still refuse to hear anyone else’s voice in the comics, those who read the text conversations in Sonic Rush will probably still hear Drummond’s voice shouting in their heads, and those who will watch Sonic Boom will probably be reminiscent of the days when Jason Griffith was just starting out on Sonic X. I’ve started with Jason Griffith as my first and still all-time favorite Sonic voice actor, but after branching out, I have come to find reasons to love and respect all of the previous voices and portrayals of Sonic over the years (even Martin Burke’s, whose voice probably tops everyone else’s in terms of over-the-top shouty snarkyness), and have come to accept each of them within the confines of the game or show they have portrayed Sonic in. I agree that Jason wasn’t always perfect, but that doesn’t mean he never got good. Sonic Unleashed remains to this day to be my most favorite Sonic game, and part of that reason was Jason’s phenomenal job as Sonic. That game was probably his best performance as Sonic ever, and with the exception of some Werehog lines, his delivery felt nearly flawless to me, as well as the writing (even if it could have used SOME work). At the very least, whether you like someone’s voice or not, you have to admit that the most important thing an actor can do for a character is make leave an impression on you, and I think that Jason did a decent job with that, even with characters other than Sonic. It’s very hard for me to imagine anyone else as Shadow (even Saix himself), and while it did sound annoying, Jason’s voice for Jet fit the character pretty well (Jet sounds annoying because he’s supposed to be annoying. Job well done on that part), and the Werehog…well, it was what I was expecting. I mean, would you have preferred to hear Shadow or Knuckles’s voices come out of that thing? Everyone is always going to have their different opinions and tastes in terms of who does a character’s voice better, but the one thing that I feel has always remained true is that with each actor, they did a steady job of settling into their role as Sonic. Whether you agreed with their portrayal or not, you can at least see that each actor found their special way of interpreting the character and towards the end of each of their terms they already had a comfortable idea of how he should sound. To say that that progression or evolution was never there for one actor feels like a bit of a bold and narrow-minded statement to me, as the way I see it, even Jason managed to refine his Sonic over time. And that final result will always leave a lasting impression on me.

    2. I don’t get it either man. I also don’t understand the love for Griffith :/ He was only ever “okay” in my eyes and that was only in Unleashed and Black Knight, which were his best but still not very good, to me at least. Drummond was fun though, even if the voice directing was awful. (“You’re gonna crash! Ah!”)

      Roger’s easily the best as far as I’m concerned, and I find it amazing that there are people out there who practically beg for Griffith of Drummond to come back when Roger’s been Sonic’s voice for almost four years now. I mean, come on people. Not liking the voice is fine but wow.

      1. I and other fans of Griffith love him for the same reason Drummond fans love Drummond. It’s because for many of us Griffith was our first Sonic voice. It was kind of hard for him not to be too, what with a tv show and a video game series using the same voice actors back to back. He left an impression on us that way, the same way that Drummond left on fans who started with Adventure or started with the original games but never watched the original shows, the same way people did with Ash, Naruto, Goku, and so on. Whoever you hear first as the voice for a character, odds are you are going to be more used to them as that voice than others. My reason may not be the same as anyone else who likes Griffith’s portrayal as Sonic, but you have to understand that where most of us are coming from, he WAS Sonic.

        1. Eh, I kind of get where you’re coming from. I technically grew up with both Drummond and Griffith but as soon as I adjusted to Roger’s voice for Sonic (which for me was towards the end of my first playthrough of Sonic Colors) I vastly preferred him to any of the other voices Sonic has had, mainly because he can actually act (Griffith always felt incredibly forced to me, though that may have just been the voice direction). I hope Roger will be around for a long time though because I absolutely adore his take on Sonic, it’s just the writers I don’t necessarily like that much. They can write Eggman wonderfully but not anybody else it seems.

          It’s funny because most (not all) fans I saw seemed to absolutely hate Griffith’s voice when he was providing the voice for Sonic, then they replaced him and suddenly Griffith fans were everywhere. This fanbase is so predictable sometimes. To Griffith’s defense though, that’s probably because he did actually improve, even if I personally was never a big fan of his voice. He did a fantastic Shadow though, even if sometimes he sounded a little forced there too. I actually thought Roger sounded forced in Lost World though, which is weird because he normally never does to me. He sounds much more natural in Boom though, which is good.

          1. Half of the quality is due to the voice director and the writer for the script/dub. Since Jason is one of 4-Kids main voice actors, he has to try his best to make a lot of those dubs sound convincing. I think it’s safe to say that 4-Kids’ interpretation of Japanese work is far from artistic genius. I’ve always regarded Jason’s Sonic as a softer and more passionate tone for Sonic, especially in comparison to Ryan’s rather loud and at times annoying Sonic. Ryan still sounded decent, but by the time Heroes came around, I felt he was forcing it a bit more than Jason ever did, although there were a few Riders and Zero Gravity lines that I felt weren’t done too well by Jason. Still, I feel that Jason’s voice for Sonic suited my tastes the best, and while Ryan and Roger are still good actors and I like their Sonics just fine, they don’t quite touch me as much as Jason’s did.

  5. I always enjoyed Roger,he’s not my favorite Sonic voice actor (personally I enjoyed Jason Griffins calm collective Sonic over Roger’s rendition) but I still enjoy the work he puts out.So Roger thank you for being a fun voice actor for so long and I hope your life is well mate.

  6. Personally, Jason Griffith will always be my favorite VA for Sonic. He gave Sonic emotion and, in some ways, depth, in many games, and I miss him greatly. However, none of the voice actors have been perfect. I get that. Jason has made Sonic sound a bit too…peppy? I guess? Where he over-enunciates every word. Though honestly, I don’t see why people hate Jason Griffith.
    To me, Roger’s acting was slacking in the first few Sonic games he was casted in. Sonic seemed to have the same tone all throughout in Colors, as well as Generations. He seems to be improving, however. I remember last year, at the Sonic Boom convention in St. Louis, they presented a clip from the game in which I thought, “Wow, is it just me or has Roger improved?” Although now, I think in Lost World he was just a liiiiittle bit over the top when it comes to sarcasm and feeling, yet at the same time the “feeling” didn’t fit. (Spoilers) “They’re going to turn Tails into a robot? That’s horrible!” Honestly, it could have been done better, to fit the darker mood of the story. Though I don’t deny I’m interested to see what he’s done different for Sonic Boom.
    Drummond seems to be a highly revered voice actor. Honestly, I just haven’t heard enough of him. From what I’ve heard in Sonic Adventure, I’m just not a fan, though I intend to check out Sonic Heroes, which seems to be his best work. It’s a shame he voiced so few games.
    But that’s just my opinion.

    1. I love and prefer Jason Griffith as well, but I still enjoy the other actors fairly well, to an extent. Ryan Drummond is probably my third favorite in terms of Sonic voice actors. While he isn’t the best voice for Sonic I’VE ever heard (just me guys, calm down), he still did a decent job portraying some of Sonic’s core character traits. In my opinion though, I tend to prefer his work in Sonic Adventure more than Sonic Heroes. Adventure felt much more mellow and not as “in-your-face” as I thought Heroes was, in terms of his voice quality. Adventure 2 was decent too, though it kind of showed the progression Drummond went from figuring out his voice for Sonic in Adventure to having Sonic shout everything as if it were important in Heroes. Nothing Drummond said as Sonic was significantly “bad”, but to me, his was probably the only voice for Sonic that I felt slowly dipped in quality with each game, which was weird as I saw that everyone else’s seemed to develop with time. It’s not that I think that it went from good to terrible or anything, it’s just that I tend to prefer his earlier voice work as Sonic more than his later Sonic work. I don’t know, maybe some people just liked that shouty kind of tone, and maybe that’s why they don’t like Griffith’s more mellow and passionate tone. Though if I were to be stuck with one voice to speak with for the rest of my life, I probably wouldn’t want Drummond’s Heroes voice.

  7. I’m not a fan of batman but sonic, he is awesome, but my opinion is this is gonna be tricky for him, he’s more use to the batman voice more often.

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