I was at E3 2010 when I heard the news that Roger Craig Smith would be taking over as Sonic’s voice actor. As I sat in a corner of the convention center and hurriedly typed out an article about it for Sonic Stadium, I was only feeling one thing: excitement. This, on top of playing Sonic Colors – easily the most promising Sonic game I had experienced in years – really made it feel like SEGA was working hard to revitalize the character.
I had been left… dissatisfied with Sonic’s previous voice actor, Jason Griffith. While he improved in his final years, I felt that he lacked range. Ryan Drummond’s performance, meanwhile, was starting to sound worse with age, though I largely chalked it up to the voice acting standards going up substantially ever since Drummond last played the character in 2004. I had been wanting someone new for years, and with this announcement, my wish had finally been granted.
I wasn’t disappointed. From Sonic Colors onward, Smith quickly became my favorite of Sonic’s game voice actors, and he only got better from there. Smith brought a wide range of characterizations to Sonic: he could be jokey, sassy, and sarcastic. He could play Sonic like a big brother or an immature teenager. He could make Sonic sound heroic, or like a goofball. And given that Sonic himself went through a wide range of stories (from purely humorous to more serious) during Smith’s tenure, he was given plenty of chances to display his range.
Roger Craig Smith was the kind of voice Sonic desperately needed, especially for the last decade. He essentially defined the character for modern audiences, in much the same way Charles Martinet did for Mario in 1996. Regardless of who comes next, he will always be the person who defined Sonic’s video game voice.
You will be missed, Roger.