Nolan North Is Way Better Than Peter Dinklage In Destiny

Nolan North Is Way Better Than Peter Dinklage In Destiny

Today’s big Destiny patch brings an immediately noticeable change: Actor Peter Dinklage’s famously mediocre performance as little robot Ghost has been entirely replaced by with new audio from veteran voice actor Nolan North. Good news: North sounds great.

Polygon won the “Which gaming site can make the first comparison video?” race, putting together this thorough compilation/comparison of Ghost’s best-known lines as read by both actors:

Some of the differences are subtle, some are more pronounced. The overall effect is remarkable: Nolan’s Ghost is easier to understand and carries his lines better more deliberately than Dinklage did. North’s line readings are also more consistent, while Dinklage’s often came in at different levels and sounded like they were recorded in different places. North even manages to (sort of) add some shine to unsalvageable classics like “Careful, its power is dark.”

It will be nice to hear Ghost chattering again after he was so conspicuously silent during the last two expansions. I’ll have more thorough impressions of the 2.0 update as soon as I’ve played more.


    • I’m not sure whether Nolan is doing a voice, or they synthesized it a little higher, but it kinda sounds like how an AI would speak maybe? But, like other people have mentioned, it’s either the script or how he’s trying to read it, that isn’t coming across as better. It could be the fact that the voice actors are disconnected from the game when they are reading it – unless they have a monitor in studio showing the voice actor what part of the game the line is from.

    • Yep… I don’t think he’s any better. Its as if he’s trying his hardest for it to sound different to Dinklage’s performance.

      • I am actually so glad I’m not the only one that thinks this… he sounds ridiculous, worse than dinklage for sure…

        A better question is when did Bungie become so bad?

        • When were they good? :\

          ok maybe a bit harsh.
          But honestly, I think Bungie are way over hyped.
          Just my opinion of course, but I have actually liked the look their newer stuff.

          Oni was kinda cool, while I hardly remember the game, I can remember struggling to get through it because of some TERRIBLE design choices.

          Halo was kinda cool because it was a little different. But when you really think about it, there is a lot of pretty terrible stuff in the single player side of the game – bad levels, bad enemy design (some were ok, some REALLY bad). The reason it was so popular is because of multiplayer – the combat is one thing they did really well – weapons were fun, they looked cool and felt powerful – movement was fluid and fast. Plus in multiplayer you don’t really see all the ‘bad parts’ as much; as in, no terrible enemies and the horrible enemy placement and pacing, etc. The levels were also better from memory – they worked much better for PvP than in single player.

          I don’t really remember much about any of the Bungie games because I’ve honestly never felt like they were particularly good.

          I would like to try Destiny – I was pretty excited before it’s release. Considering how I feel about other Bungie games I think that says something – I think Bungie actually do quite well with gun combat. Destiny didn’t look like it would disappoint in that aspect! and they made some internal changes that filled me with hope of seeing better stuff from them. 🙂

          • Full disclosure opening – I like bungie. I like halo as a franchise.

            Define bad enemy design.
            It was popular as multiplayer, as sci fi fps, as a kick in the pants to PC gaming.
            Define horrible enemy pacing.
            I’ll give you bad level(s) with the caveat that it also has a level of such high quality, it’s used to demonstrate how fps levels should be made, in pacing & difficulty.
            Bungie actually didn’t start building campaign missions around pvp stages until Halo Reach.

            You’re not going to find guardian, the pit, blackout, or blood gulch in a campaign stage, unless my memory is being particularly selective today, but I concede, my favorite thing in this series is multiplayer, followed up by goofing around in campaign, breaking out of maps. I think you’re bang on with the gun combat. Bungie’s feel for weapon swinging and ADS has always felt a better pace for me than other FPS.

            They’re definitely over-hyped since Activision took them in. We all knew they were selling their soul to another father company, to make a game for more than one console; maybe half the good blood is still at 343i but I also find that idea hard to swallow after being on the receiving end of Halo 4 and Halo MCC.

            Looking back at the first year of Destiny; Bungie have made mistakes with the game but it’s also the first time they attempted to release a quasi-mmoFPS. Halo 2 was much better than Halo 1. I hope they repeat themselves in this comparison.

  • So what if I don’t buy in to this whole generation of objectivity thing where we all believe common qualitative truths? Seems like we’re constantly just reinforcing people’s prejudices in every direction. (please look up the definition of prejudice without sighing or dismissing or pretending it’s impossible to commit it if you’re part of any particular social or cultural group that absolves themselves of accountability – so, everyone – seriously, the amount of you that could understand the definition by now would be perfect if you stopped all the dismissal)

    So curious as to why people need their preferences legitimised with tone, language and ignorance.

    • Kinda wondering at the “easier to understand” comment in the article; he sounds pretty much the same to me (albeit like he got kicked in the balls). My problem was always the script, not the delivery. But, “American prefers American accent/inflection/pitch/speech patterns” is hardly a surprise.

  • Yep North is much better. The writing is still pretty horrendous at times, but at least now the VO doesn’t stick out awkwardly.

    • Yeah I think you are the odd one out puck, Nolan sounds like a high pitched teenager, gimme dinklebot back any day

      • I think everybody’s just clinging to what they’re used to now. I think anybody’s who’s new to Destiny will have a very different take on the matter.

        I mean, North’s dialogue isn’t great, there’s not much you can do with that writing. It’s just fine.

        But Dinklage, wow, it’s just BAD, like cringy bad. It’s both hammy and bored and… amateurish frankly. Every line makes it clear the actor didn’t know wtf he was saying and didn’t care.

        I think once the dust settles, all the reactionary “I like the old stuff better than the new stuff” people will reconsider their opinions.

        • no its not about people clinging on to what they like, the new bot sounds like a tween age kid on his first space walk, Dinklebot however was brilliant. He is was supposed to sound like a dispassionate and flat droid, with moments of dry humour. Better than a perky child, that finishes every sentence with an upward infection.

          for me Nolanbot will always come across as my second favourite band doing a cover version of a mostly decent original song. Ultimately one cant help but think I would rather listen to the original, flaws and all.

          • Okay, fair enough.

            Remember when the Destiny Beta hit and everybody was thinking: “WOW, Dinklage is awful. Surely that’s placeholder audio that they’ll re-record for the final game”? It seems you (and everybody else in this crazy comments section) was actually thinking: “WOW, Dinklage is brilliant”.

            Or did it kind of grow on you over the past year? If you loved it right off the bat, awesome. If it grew on you, then I think it’s more likely to be something you’re now used to and have a fondness for, as opposed to something that is actually good.

            When I hear Nolanbot I can almost think: “That’s a little robot talking”
            When I hear Dinklebot, clear as day I think: “That’s Peter Dinklage forcing out his lines while sitting in a recording studio and wondering who wrote this awful dialogue”.

            Looks like it’s just me though.

          • I have always love Dinklebot and had absolutely no idea what anyone was going on about. The same can be said for any mass internet hysteria thing these days. EG the new lightsaber. My reaction was “smirk, that was different not sure if I like or hate that, either way I will wait until the film comes out”, now i dont even need to see the film to love it and already it feels iconic to a new generation. where the whole of the internet went into raving meltdown of stupidity.

            Sorry but Dinklebot always mad me laugh, I felt the voice was perfect, the material itself however wasnt. Nolan just feels like a bad cover version. It might be different when he start doing lines of his own but from what I have seen on patrols, he is quiet and terrible.

      • There is still a problem with the delivery, but as shown by Nolan North’s performance, it’s more a fault of the direction they were assigned for the Ghost character, and not the actors themselves.

        • i feel the opposite listening to Nolan makes me value how brilliant Peter is so much more. So much more subtlety in Peters work, sadly to an untrained ear it comes across as flat.

  • Nope, do not like… man i’m going to get slammed for this but IMO Nolan North is incredibly overrated.

        • i never played The Latst Of Us, but im not surprised he was in that game.

          Might as well play
          Nolan North: The Experience.
          You play as Nolan North, as Nolan North narrates the life story of Nolan North who must face the evil Nolan North, Produced by Nolan North and Directed by Nolan North. Starring Nolan North as Nolan North. Clothing and Makeup by Nolan North. In gaming stores nearest Nolan North.

          IGN 10/10 because they love anything Nolan North

          • 100% agree with this

            Kinda sounds like assassins creed I.e. Same thing over again, miraculously gets good decent reviews because they added some dumb gimmick feature…

            I do like assassins creed, just sick of nolan north now… Ffs they had his voice as an option for Saints Row…

          • Pre-order now for the Nolan North Edition. Comes with exclusive “No lan is an Island” mission.

  • Feeling like a little bit of a fanboy attitude for north coming through? I like him, but seems like you guys have a thing for him :\
    Listening to it… i actually prefer dinklage. North seems a little whiny to me, I was expecting something WAY different to be honest. Would hardly go so far as to say its ‘remarkable’ anyway

  • This story’s been up half an hour and we haven’t had the obligatory “People still play Destiny?” comment. Bad internet, no doughnut.

  • I don’t care who they use, the script is appalling, and the direction Dinklage got appears to be as good as the script.

  • Slightly off (but still on) topic, I managed to be out and about so ducked home to check on download of the update. 30 hours left *insert frowny face Siri*

    SO using the power of reddit found changing settings to opendns and a quick pause/unpause sped up my download time with now a constant decent speed (for my house) and I’m down to only 6 hours left. (PS4)
    Just for info if anybody else has crappy regional internet like me and wants to play the game tonight.

  • You can always tell Nolan North’s voice, he is much like Tara Strong in cartoons so that whenever they need a generic character voiced they go to them, to the point that it now breaks immersion.

    My Jedi Consular sounds like Nathan Drake

  • North sounded surprisingly unprofessional to me. If I didn’t know it was him, I would have though it was just some random guy on YouTube doing the voicing.

    Also, even though the script is just all over terrible, Dinklage managed to give it a certain sense of gravity that North’s lack. With Dinklage, even if the lines were bad, you knew the situation was supposed to be taken seriously. North’s sounds a lot more lighthearted.

  • I don’t know what people are going on about.

    Seems almost exactly the same in delivery and tone, except some parts where North sounds flatter other parts where he plays it more overacted or cheesy-melodramatic, which is NOT an improvement.

    Dinklebot was FINE. He is an AI, not a person, he’s not supposed to sound like Robin Williams, nor does it he play it in a HAL kinda way. He plays it droll with a hint of sarcasm, which comes off pretty good considering the script is crap.

  • “We may want to move back.”
    Nolan, but only just. Dinklage’s was good too.

    “We’ve woken the hive!”

    “This should lead us right to the grave. The world’s grave… not ours.”

    “There’s so much… they’ve broken the Beckenstein limit!”
    Dinklage, but both did a terrible job.

    “Not to unsettle you, but I’m tracking the sword by the light of the guardians it’s killed. It’s further below.”
    Nolan had it until the second sentence, where Dinklage wins.

    “Careful. It’s power is dark.”
    Nolan, but a little too hammy.

    “Here’s what I have on the Cabal: 800 pounds and highly militarized. They blow up planets and moons just for getting in their way… just so you know what we’re dealing with.”
    Different, but both bad. Dinklage: Bored. Nolan: Weird at the end.

    “Access key? I don’t need an access key. DOS is more complicated… Oh. I think I initated a failsafe.”

    “OK the Skywatch is just on the other side of the steppes. And it’s surrounded by fallen… well. I’m ready if you are.”

    “What is this? Lots of motion ahead. I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”
    Nolan to start, but Dinklage beats him on the second sentence.

    “There’s a wizard here. You have to kill it!”

    “Detecting Vex. Like we’re surrounded.”

    “Nonono! It’s the Vex – better find some cover!”
    Eennnhhh…. Dinklage?

    Urgh. No more. I’m tapping out. These lines were pretty awful. But I definitely don’t see a clear Nolan improvement here. Dinklage came across as bored and flat in most of these, Nolan seems prone to overacting, overcompensating for his predecessor.

    • I have a feeling they only replaced him because they couldn’t get Dinklebot back.
      Rather than have that disjoint between changing voice actors mid-way, better to just replace him entirely

      I think Dinklebot did a far better job though.
      The script is just… awful, but I think his delivery is pretty ok.
      Not great, but ok.
      Nolan’s is too hammy the entire way through (too expressionate and corny sounding).

  • I got to say, I prefer Dinklage. They could have got Scarlett Johansson to be the ghost she would have killed. See movie Her.

    I wish we had a choice because Id pick Dinklage any day of the week.

  • Someones going to be sue by Disney and it’s probably going to be me…. but I think it sounds like C3P0. I’m not a fan.

    Dinklage version sounds more human like. Which is what you might expect for robots of advanced life forms, with the technology for interplanetary travel. Also his voice is manly, robot to get the job done.

    North’s is more lighter pitch, more robot like and has directive more to highlight the humor in lines. Comes off more I’m just a side kick tell me what to do.

  • Way better than Dinklebot? Give me a break this video does nothing but prove how amazing Peter was in the role. I like Nolan but this voice is truly awful. Peter’s voice had power, it was overly understated like a tiny robot should sound like. It is a machine not a human. Nolans has to much emotion and ‘light’ in his voice. it has little power or substance.

    Give me Dinklebot any day. The difference between the two’s acting is night and day. A little subtlety goes a long way.

  • 🙁 I think Dinklage delivers most of those lines much better and naturally. Some of the tones on Nolan’s deliveries don’t sound right, plus he makes ghost sound like weeny.

  • Nolan North’s delivery sounds almost comedic. And those weird… pauses… what’s that… about?

  • After watching this comparison has just confirmed what I already know. The writing in destiny absolutely blows. Peter dinklage made it bearable for me but Nolan has just made it annoying. I don’t hate Nolan’s voice acting its just that his acting makes the problem so much more obvious.

  • I thought that re-casting the voice and re-doing all the dialogue was a good opportunity to change the imperial units over to metric, but no, they stuck with using imperial units 🙁 They still used miles and pounds instead of kilometres and kilograms.

    Anything in the lore that explained why The Traveller decided to use imperial units rather than metric?

    • Same reason that in some movies set in space all good guys have American accents and bad guys have British accents.

      *eagle scream*

      • But when you start the game, don’t you wake up in Russia? Meaning that you are Russian, or something? Or just an American tourist who happen to ‘die’ in Russia, to be resurrected by the Ghost?

        • Serious answer is I think a whole lotta folks died in the attempted exodus. Those were colony ships trying to escape the war, up on those gantries. And judging by the wrecks, I’d say most refugees didn’t make it. Stands to reason that ‘nations’ as we know them stopped existing when the shit hit the fan.

  • doesn’t change the fact that Ghost is absolutely pointless and the missions are still the same repetitive shit.

  • They weren’t all that different for a whole lot of those readings. I never got the whole drama over the voice acting, Dinklage read the lines as best he could I’m sure. Playing the game it’s difficult to actually understand what the lines were trying to achieve, especially that awful ‘wizard’ one.

    I enjoy both actors work, but I didn’t enjoy Destiny’s story at all.

  • Yer i dont think the problem ever sided with dinklebot being the VA. I always thought it was the writers, just what the hell are you supposed to do with “careful its power is dark” or “That wizard came from the moon”.

    I think the main reason they got nolan on board is that dinkle didnt want to come back and they had essentially written out ghost for the last two dlcs. For what ever reason they deemed it to important for the content going forward.

  • The only problem I can spot with Dinklage’s delivery is you can hear that he’s genuinely dumbfounded that he’s reading a script that bad. Nolan North is used to how bad video game writing can be by now, so doesn’t sound like he’s about to burst out laughing with every word.

    And Dinklage was in Knights of Badassdom.

  • I hate Nolan’s voice, It actually makes me think Peter was great. I wanna mute the f###ing game evrytime I play story mode now

  • Although i think Noland sound a little better. Nothing but an entire rewrite will be able to improve shit blisteringly awful writing.

  • As some one who has never played destiny before I just have to say 32 things:

    1> I preferred Peter Dinklage’s voice (is it just me or does Nolan sound alot like 343 guilty spark?)
    2> The writing must’ve been garbage.
    3> My guess is Bungie stuffed this up with the direction. I think they wanted distance ghost from 343 guilty spark (halo) as much as possible originally (I can imagine them saying Peter can you say that again but more robotic and with less emotion)

    Also as a side note Peter has done voice acting for other things (ice age 3) so it seems weird for him to be the weak link (the writing seems much worse and I’m speculating on the bad direction, though there were problems working within activision as Marty O’Donnell can testify)

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