The voice behind Final Fantasy 14’s G’raha Tia was so dedicated to the role, his tongue swelled up on the West End: ‘I had to record this in the day doing eight shows a night’

Final Fantasy 14 has a stellar cast of voice actors for its English version—backed up by some genuinely great translation from its localisation team. One such actor is Jonathan Bailey, who plays beloved catboy and friend to the Warrior of Light G’raha Tia, though he’s also famous for his role in Netflix’s Bridgerton as Anthony. Fair warning: I’m going to get into some story spoilers for Shadowbringers and Endwalker in a moment.

In case you’re completely unfamiliar—FF14 has a central cast of characters called the Scions of the Seventh Dawn, and G’raha Tia (formerly known as the Crystal Exarch) is one of them. Bailey has a staggering amount of dialogue to perform for the game’s cutscenes, and the character, a heartfelt confidant to your own self-insert, has left a major impact on the game’s players. Myself included, if you check my author bio at the bottom of this article.

In a recent interview with Bafta (spotted by our friends over at GamesRadar) Bailey shares an anecdote from his time voicing G’raha, while simultaneously performing on London’s West End. “This is G’raha Tia: Catboy,” Bailey announces, showing off a dice with G’raha’s little face slapped on it. “… Yeah, little catboy and the Crystal Exarch. He’s a very open, adoring, playful companion to the player.”

In a moment that’s relatable to anyone who has tried to ensure a baffled audience of family members and/or friends that yes, video games can make you cry, Bailey shares some glowing words regarding the game’s script: “The work, the writing, is almost Shakespearian,” he says, before quoting G’raha’s speech from Endwalker’s final hours. “I’m aware of how important this character is to so many people.”

So aware, in fact, that Bailey accidentally hurt himself juggling the roles while performing Sondheim songs on the West End. “I was so determined not to step away from this character that when I was doing Company, I had to record [G’raha Tia] for about a week while doing eight shows a night, and my tongue inflamed.”

Out of sheer curiosity, I went ahead and looked up some songs from Company—which I’m not familiar with—and found Bailey’s performance from a cast recording. Here’s a snippet from the song “Getting Married Today.”

No wonder his tongue started swelling. Bailey says that “there’s a few hours of [playtime] where I sound a bit lisp-y. That’s because of that and I apologise.” 

In case you wanted to find those cutscenes for yourself, Bailey joined Company’s 2018 production. Final Fantasy 14: Shadowbringers was announced in 2018, and released in 2019—so it’s very likely those lines (in which the cat’s tongue was got) can be found there.

It’s ultimately a lovely little anecdote—health issues notwithstanding—and a nice reminder that FF14’s voice actors care about their characters just as much as we do. Personally, I’m excited to see G’raha Tia again in Dawntrail, even if he told us he’s staying behind in the most recent patch. I’ve seen you eating a taco, Raha. I know you’re lying.

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