Ganondorf’s voice has been the talk of the Legend of Zelda community since it was revealed a couple of Tears of the Kingdom trailers ago. At that time, fans had a pretty good idea who that voice actor was (or who they hoped it would be). Well, it turns out those fans were right all along.
Matt Mercer recently confirmed via Twitter that he is portraying Ganondorf in Tears of the Kingdom. Some of you may know Mercer from his hit D&D web series, Critical Role, but he also has extensive video game voice acting experience. Fallout 4, Persona 5, Overwatch, Destiny 2, Red Dead Redemption 2…Mercer’s roles aren’t always big, but there’s a very good chance you’ve heard his voice in one of your favorite recent games.
Mind you, many fans were convinced that they heard Mercer’s voice in that Tears of the Kingdom trailer as soon as Ganondorf spoke. They were so confident, in fact, that they essentially accepted Mercer’s casting as a fact long before that information was confirmed. While Mercer certainly boasts a distinct voice, the certainty of his casting is about more than recognizing his voice; it’s about recognizing why Mercer deserves this role.
Not every Zelda fan in the world dreamed of Mercer one day playing Ganondorf. Actually, names like Keith David and Ron Perlman appeared more often whenever the subject of “dream casting” Ganondorf came up. However, Mercer’s name came up often enough, and Mercer has made his desire to play Ganondorf quite clear over the years. He even once cosplayed as Ganondorf in the There Will Be Brawl webseries: a noir parody of the Super Smash Bros. universe. Mercer has also been an outspoken fan of the Zelda series for quite some time and is, generally speaking, a pretty beloved member of the gaming, role-playing, and…well, many other nerdy communities.
Does any of that strictly matter when it comes to casting? Not really. Someone being a fan of an established role is always nice, but it’s not always necessary. Actually, being a fan can sometimes come back to haunt actors. Expectations are high, it’s a property you care about, and the reception of your role is sometimes more closely related to the reception of the product itself. Casting is incredibly difficult, and the answer isn’t always the most obvious choice. There are countless examples of obvious fan casting choices that probably would have been worse than the “Why them?” actor we actually got.
Yet, it really does feel like Nintendo made both the obvious and right choice here. While we’ve heard very little of Mercer’s performance so far, the reception to the very idea he might be Ganondorf says it all. Fans only need to hear Mercer speak a couple of lines as Ganondorf, and the idea of him stepping into the role suddenly made sense to thousands of Zelda diehards who are (as much as we love them) known for being quite picky about their expectations for the franchise.
Nintendo doesn’t always make the right decisions. I’ve written way-too-long articles about some of their famously wrong decisions over the years. From refusing to release old games in a modern way to sitting on beloved franchises for decades, Nintendo is often stuck in their ways in ways that hurt fans the most.
Yet, the decision to cast Matt Mercer as Ganondorf is Nintendo at its fan-friendly best. They didn’t cast the biggest name they could find as Ganondorf (looking at you Chris Pratt) and instead went to an experienced voice actor whose passion for the role is matched only by the passionate reception to his involvement in the project. Many aspects of Tears of the Kingdom feel like a celebration of all things Zelda, and Matt Mercer playing Ganondorf only enhances the idea that the highly-anticipated sequel could be just that.