As a voice actor (a talented one at that), Matthew Mercer has lent his voice to some pretty great franchises/series/games over the years. He’s done plenty of Anime as all good voice actor’s have. He’s lent his voice to some popular games and animated series’. There are even some motion capture and live action roles in there. I’m sure you’re also wondering why I haven’t mentioned Critical Role yet. (I just wanted to make you wait). Of course, he is also a huge part of the TTRPG scene, as the Dungeon Master for the incredibly popular web-series Critical Role. So without further ado, let’s take a closer look at his work.
Matthew Mercer: Master of Voices
It’s pretty difficult to say the words “Voice Actor” without mentioning Anime at some point so we’ll get it out the way early. Anime. It’s a rite of passage for voice acting and Matthew Mercer has certainly done his fair share. I’m not exactly an anime aficionado but there are some shows that even I know and you can bet that Matthew Mercer is in there somewhere. Going back as far as 2012 he’s voiced: Yamato in Naruto: Shippuden and Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, Prince Demande in Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon Crystal, and Joker in Black Butler: Book of Circus. More recently, he’s also provided the voice of Levi Ackerman in Attack on Titan, Hit in Dragon Ball Super, the Narrator and Bemular in Ultraman and, in 2020, multiple voices in Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045.
Looking more towards general animation outside of the anime umbrella you’ll see some very different roles. On one hand, you have Leon Kennedy in Resident Evil: Damnation. On the other hand, you have Iron Man and Captain America.
Master of Games
Speaking of Leon Kennedy, it’s a good time to move on to Matthew Mercer’s video game roles. Obviously, this includes Leon Kennedy in Resident Evil 6. For those of you who love a multiplayer shooter you may recognise him as the voice of Midas in Fortnite. Oh and, of course, McCree in Overwatch. He’s dipped in to the Star Wars universe as Luke Skywalker in Battlefront II and even found himself in the Warlords of Draenor expansion for WoW as Kilrogg Deadeye. Although, this wasn’t his first appearance in WoW. He voiced General Vezax, Halion and Rexxard (also in Hearthstone) in vanilla WoW. He’s even had some roles in the DC universe as Nightwing, Deadshot, Mr.Freeze, Robin, and Anarky.
Those are probably the roles that I’m most familiar with. I won’t mention every role he’s had in a video game because it’s a list as long as my arm. Honest, I measured. Check it out if you get a chance, it’s an impressive repertoire. I didn’t even mention Fallout 4 and Final Fantasy XV, the list just keeps getting better!
Master of Dungeons
Okay, you’ve been patient enough, I’ll say it; Critical Role. Matthew Mercer has become one of the big TTRPG Dungeon Masters. He’s run games for Vin Diesel, Stephen Colbert and other celebrities such as Terry Crews through the CelebriD&D series. He also DM’s the Force Grey campaign with a great cast of actors including Joe Manganiello and Deborah Ann Woll. All of this has of course followed on from the absolutely overwhelming popularity of the web series, Critical Role. Starting on Geek & Sundry in 2015, it’s grown from a simple D&D stream to people’s favourite source of weekly entertainment. The show has since formed its own channel and spin-offs.
The cast – consisting of Marisha Ray, Sam Riegel, Taliesin Jaffe, Liam O’Brien, Laura Bailey, Travis Willingham and Ashley Johnson – have been on some incredible adventures and the fans have been lucky enough to be right alongside them. Epic things happen, disaster strikes, people are saved, bad guys are killed. It’s all the usual stuff but it’s so great to watch.
As the Dungeon Master, Matthew Mercer is responsible for creating the over-arching plot and setting which he guides the players through. I use the term guides because really it’s all up to them. Trust me, they really do explore the very boundaries of Matt’s imagination. It’s a beautiful sight watching him pull an NPC out of thin air and start improvising 10 minutes into a 4 hour long episode. It’s a testament to his amazing imagination and honed skills as a storyteller.
Using his skills as an actor he’s created some incredible places and people. For example, NPC’s like Gilmore and Pumat Sol have a huge fan base within the Critical Role community. If you haven’t seen it then please check it out, you won’t regret it.
A Beacon for Many People
Matthew Mercer and Critical Role have had a profound effect on many people’s lives. It’s easy to think of a game or show as just that. However, to many people it can be so much more. It has helped people to find themselves, learn about themselves and answer some very difficult questions about who they are and where they belong in the world. It’s even helped some people to just stay alive and I think that really needs some recognition. Matthew Mercer and the entire Critical Role cast and crew have saved lives by doing what they do and they’ve remained so admirably humble the entire way. In his own words, they have created a world that has “been a beacon for many people” and given rise to a wonderfully diverse and accepting community.
In an interview, Matthew Mercer explained how it felt to be at the centre of such a dynamic and loving community, after watching a message from a fan who thanked him for a lot. You can see it here, from 24:04. WARNING: Contains mental health triggers.
Matt’s response was “It’s a lot. I never expected any of this. None of us did. This game has been a very important part of getting through my difficult periods as well. And so the idea that other people have found that same connection and that it’s helped them as well has been really special. I’m just humbled. I think it’s a testament to the power of storytelling and I think it’s also a testament to creating spaces without judgement, and understanding that everybody is hurting, everybody wants to be happy, everybody is looking for somewhere to belong and looking for other people to tell them that they’re loved.”
Humbled and Humbling
Obviously the adoration from fans, especially those that see the show as such an important turning point in their lives, is a pretty big thing to be responsible for. The cast have accepted their place at the heart of the community with modesty. They have remained humble and always direct the focus back to the community. Back to the people who have changed their own lives. The show may be a catalyst but the people are the ones who have made the changes.
Just being a member of such a community is a very humbling experience in and of itself. I am very grateful to be a part of it and it’s taught me a lot about other people’s struggles. If you’d like to learn a bit more about Matt and his motivations, I would recommend watching this episode of Between The Sheets. It offers a great insight into how the show and the game have helped him with his own struggles. From there, you can check out the episodes for all the other cast members too. They’re a very insightful watch.
So, as a massive thank you, join me in wishing Matthew Mercer a very Happy Birthday. Thank you for everything you have done and the community you have helped to create, have a wonderful day!
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