Voice acting in RPGs may be more trouble than it's worth

Discussion in 'NMA News and Information' started by WorstUsernameEver, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. Izual

    Izual Pipe rifle & chopsticks

    Sep 18, 2009
    This is a revolution.

    This is the future.
  2. Moonrabbit

    Moonrabbit First time out of the vault

    Apr 20, 2012
    What I'm getting from this is 'Voice overs are hard, lets not do them.'

    I have a lot of problems with this.
    I'll agree that the main character in an RPG that is meant to represent 'you' should not have a voice.
    I'd take it a step further and say that any character whom you take the reigns of completely should not have their own voice or personality, at least during game play.
    In most games, the story is happening around you. You are going to come to different conclusions and form your own opinions and about the events.
    Your reactions can differ from what your character's script might read.

    Examples of story telling working well with a medium like this is Halflife and Portal.
    In halflife, you are doing everything Gordon ever does, the script plays out in a way that he never really has to say anything. They even poke fun at it.
    In Portal, there's also no real reason to ever talk back to GLADOS. We're not even sure she'd be able to hear Chell.

    Examples of what I dislike would be Mechwarrior 4:Mercenaries where your unseen player character is completely unlikable in his voice and dialogue.
    Also, not a video game, but something that can definitely be experienced in a game with scripted dialogue is when you're watching something like Dr. Who or Sherlock, where the character is supposed to be absolutely brilliant, yet the viewer is noticing things they miss or come to correct conclusions while the character is still struggling with it.

    A scripted dialogue for a player character, voice over or none, can also be frustrating when the character doesn't have the option to say anything close to what you'd like them to. Or says something really stupid outside of your control.

    Beyond the main character though, particularly as graphics and everything else about games improves. To leave voices out could only be attributed to laziness or an inability to adapt to a changing medium.
    If what they're saying is; 'The way games are developed now, it's very difficult to get the voice acting to work.' Then developers and producers need to start making accommodations to allow it.
    You can't make a movie without actors. Even if there was a real threat of CGI replacing them, they'd still need voices.

    If you're making a game from an isometric view where the graphics aren't as intense, text is fitting. Those games can definitely be fun, even compared games with cutting edge graphics. Which goes without saying to fans of the original Fallout games.
    Though seeing some of the talking heads, particularly the Master is very rewarding.
    But that's not modern game design. It's acceptable, it's fun. But I don't want to wander around in a hyper-realistic world with visually stunning, mute characters and text bubbles popping in front of them while there's no voices.
    Imagine playing Fallout:NV or Mass Effect with the dialogue system of Skyward Sword.

    Having said all this, they definitely need to put more effort into getting good voice actors. If the choice is between no voice overs or bad ones. I'll definitely choose no voice overs. But it's not ideal.
    To this day, when I hear bad voice acting, I have flashbacks to the Kings Quest 5 CD-rom.

    If people are mistaking your fictional, carefully designed accent as just a bad attempt at a real world accent, then that's a break down in the story telling.

    Fallout 1 and 2 play like books with graphical representation. Any details are included in text. So speech works as text.

    But if the game plays like a movie(not necessarily games that are essentially long cinematics) then you need to cover all the same bases movie makers do.
    The emphasis here shouldn't be on whether or not RPGs should have voice overs. It's the graphical format of the game that I think makes the difference.
  3. Per

    Per Vault Consort Staff Member Admin

    Apr 1, 2004
    I'm getting: "Voiceovers have a poor return on investment. Resources are finite. Let's invest elsewhere."