Patches is unique in Elden Ring not just for the levity he brings but also for the familiarity of his voice. William Vanderpuye has voiced Patches in every Soulsborne title except for one, Dark Souls 2, in which Patches was excluded. This makes both Patches and Vanderpuye the most recurring character-actor combo in FromSoftware’s games.
This makes sense when considering that Vanderpuye’s performance has made Patches an iconic character for the series. Patches’s weasely, high-pitched voice makes his silly yet sinister intentions explicit from the start. Despite this, his voice and demeanor entice players to let him go on with his antics, as his whimsical charm feels like a sacred thing in games pervaded by bleakness. Between how hard Elden Ring can be and the macabre tone of the Soulsborne series as a whole, Vanderpuye is able to bring through Patches a sense of lightheartedness even if it is through a series of cruel schemes and jokes.
Considering how iconic Patches has become, FromSoftware should probably limit itself when it comes to other recurring characters and voice actor combos in the future. What makes Patches and Vanderpuye so special is that they are one of the few consistencies players can rely on between titles other than the reuse of weapon animations. As such, bringing more recurring characters could tarnish Patches’ effect in games like Elden Ring by making it feel less special.
Excluding other recurring characters does not necessarily mean other voice actors should be prevented from performing in future FromSoftware games or Elden Ring sequels. In fact, newcomers to the series like Pippa Bennett Warner (Malenia), Anthony Howell (Morgott), and Simon Gregor (Rykard) have all become fan favorites and have proven themselves to be versatile actors. Additionally, voice actors Martha Mackintosh (Melina), Johnathan Keeble (Maliketh), and Con O’Neill (Mogh) have been in several FromSoftware games, and Ryan Morris (Goldmask) is only second to Vanderpuye when it comes to FromSoftware appearances.
The only difference between these actors and Vanderpuye is that they do not play a minor NPC like Patches who adds to the game through his peculiarity to it. The others all play either bosses or main characters who make sense within Soulsborne‘s tone. Having them come back in the same role in the same way as Vanderpuye for a sequel to Elden Ring would thus not have the same effect, especially because many of them canonically die.
With that being said, Elden Ring provides great voice acting across the board. Even if other characters are not as simultaneously annoying and charming as Patches in Elden Ring, the vocal performances of the actors bring them to life and flesh them out. Hopefully, many of them will come back in a sequel to Elden Ring but for new, different characters.
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