I interviewed Halsin’s voice actor, and I wish I had the courage to be unhinged

Dave Jones is a nice man with a great voice and big dad energy.

I interviewed Halsin’s voice actor, and I wish I had the courage to be unhinged
Screenshot: The Panel From Hell

Dave Jones is too nice to be in a virtual interview with me, largely because he makes me want to be nice. More upsetting is the fact that it works! Through sheer geniality, Jones’ good guy persona becomes infectious and goddammit, now I just want to make Mister Halsin’s Voice Actor proud of me. So for this entirety of the following interview, and for Jones’ sake as much as mine, I become too polite to be a freak. I’m sorry Rascal faithful, I’m a coward. Put me in a zoom call with Andrew Wincott or Neil Newbon and it’ll get weird, I swear. But as for Mister Jones and me? We did end up having a very nice talk.

He’s talking with me because NAVA–the National Association of Voice Actors–ran a charity stream event on June 22 to benefit its activism, and Jones played Baldur’s Gate 3 alongside two other voice actors from the video game (BAFTA-award winning Cissy Jones, who plays the Absolute and Josh Wichard, TAV 1) and a streamer (who is also, it turns out, just starting a voice acting career). “NAVA is amazing,” Jones said, when I ask him about the event. “It's a great space for voice actors to gather and pool resources. Basically we look after and promote the advancement of people’s careers and voice acting in general.”

Watch the NAVA Day of Play live stream on their Twitch Channel.

One of the big issues that NAVA is tackling is AI, which has been increasingly used in video game production in unethical ways that threaten to undermine the human voices at the heart of the art form. “There was an incident only a few days ago where, unbeknownst to [the voice actor], the production company was asking the sound guys if they can just run the files through AI in order just to do pick up lines,” Jones recalls. “It's absolutely terrible. That's not what we do.”

Click here to donate to NAVA and support voice actors and the legal fight against synthetic voices in the acting industry.

This isn’t the first time that AI has been used to replace voice actors. Over the past few years AI voices have been on the rise, and it’s only gotten worse with how OpenAI has cemented itself into the public consciousness.  Jones states that “They are, in that respect, stealing our voice to use for their work.” The NAVA day of play is focused on games—like Baldur’s Gate 3—that heavily feature voice acting. 

Jones voices the archdruid Halsin, and even folks who haven’t played BG3 probably know the character. “Did you see the trailer?” became Jones’ constant refrain. “Yeah, I play the bear.”