#1 Edited by FrostedMiniWheats (52 posts) -

Voice acting in video games. It's dicey. An awful lot of video game voice acting is... not good. And even if the voice acting is good, often times the writing is not good. And even if both the voice acting and writing are good on the same project, if the voice is presented simultaneously to written text it often becomes a drag to wait for the voice actor/actress to catch up with my reading speed. And even if all of that is gotten right, it can still go sour if voice clips are re-used too frequently through a game (I want to find out who had the idea that JRPG characters need to shout the name of their attack every time they use it and strangle him).

I would also submit that recent games have proven that voice work is absolutely not necessary to do decent storytelling. Be it the comedy of Mario and Luigi RPG, the melodrama of Ace Attorney, or the mystery/conspiracy story in 999. These games are all best in class in their genres, and I'm not sure that any of them would benefit from dialogue being read aloud to the reader.

Also consider entering a new hardware cycle which will drive AAA development costs up yet further. The Japanese side of the industry is also feeling a pinch, less because of high spec hardware but instead because the handhelds that are so successful in Japan aren't as big in the West. Many of their biggest localization projects these days are for handheld games which they're forced to sell for less money than console titles which require, from a localization perspective, similar investment.

So my conclusion is that maybe we should start asking for less voice acting or at the very least place less importance on the feature. It can easily go wrong, narratives can work well without it, and at a time when the market is so tough we see more studios close every week cutting out this extra development cost could lead to more developers staying above water and quicker development/localization periods. Which seems like a lot of benefit to us consumers.

Certainly I wouldn't take this to an extreme - some games really need voice acting to work well (can you imagine DmC without it?) - but maybe we got a little focused on getting voice acting because we can have it rather than because projects necessarily need it.

Thoughts?

#2 Posted by wemibelec90 (1622 posts) -

Voice acting in video games. It's dicey. An awful lot of video game voice acting is... not good. And even if the voice acting is good, often times the writing is not good. And even if both the voice acting and writing are good on the same project, if the voice is presented simultaneously to written text it often becomes a drag to wait for the voice actor/actress to catch up with my reading speed. And even if all of that is gotten right, it can still go sour if voice clips are re-used too frequently through a game (I want to find out who had the idea that JRPG characters need to shout the name of their attack every time they use it and strangle him).

I would argue that you shouldn't have subtitles on when you really want to get the most out of voice acting. I find that I skip things WAY too often when I have subtitles on over voice.

I would also submit that recent games have proven that voice work is absolutely not necessary to do decent storytelling. Be it the comedy of Mario and Luigi RPG, the melodrama of Ace Attorney, or the mystery/conspiracy story in 999. These games are all best in class in their genres, and I'm not sure that any of them would benefit from dialogue being read aloud to the reader.

It's true that some smaller games can do quite well without voice acting, but it is expected nowadays. Too many people don't want to play a game with no voice acting, especially not AAA games that should have the funding for VO.


Also consider entering a new hardware cycle which will drive AAA development costs up yet further. The Japanese side of the industry is also feeling a pinch, less because of high spec hardware but instead because the handhelds that are so successful in Japan aren't as big in the West. Many of their biggest localization projects these days are for handheld games which they're forced to sell for less money than console titles which require, from a localization perspective, similar investment.

The big Japanese games that come out over here can afford to be translated into English. The smaller games, mostly handheld stuff, doesn't usually have VO anyways. These games can stick to text and still do quite well, I think.

I'm fine with no voice acting in a wide variety of my games, but it has certainly become an expected feature for modern games. It would feel extremely out-of-place in many types of games and would probably be a major turnoff for some people. Consider the fact that games can't quite have characters that can tell you everything from the way they emote (we're close, but not quite there yet). Because of this, voice is very important in selling a character.

#3 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

Voice acting in the west is what is dicey. Yakuza games have consistently outclassed western titles when it comes to voice acting and well, actual acting. A higher class of production values overall.

American games in particular are getting really fucking annoying by constantly using the same voice actors over and over again. (some have a pretty good range like Nolan, others not)

#4 Posted by Winternet (8014 posts) -

If you're going to have dialogues in your game, you might as well have voice acting.

#5 Edited by believer258 (11785 posts) -

I can do without it but if they've got the budget for it, why not? It can't be something that's incredibly expensive, unless you hire a bunch of celebrities.

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