Did you ever notice: the voices in Republic Commando?

Deeper than you might think.
Did you ever notice that all four of the commandos in Star Wars Republic Commando have unique voices? That would seem normal until you realize that they are clones, who are all supposed to have the same voice as Jango Fett who, (during the Clone Wars at least) was the only host for the clones to be based on. Knowing this, it would seem that the developers simply cast aside canonical accuracy for better gameplay (since it would be impossible to tell who was saying what if they all had the same voice) and maybe they did, but I think it goes deeper than that. Much deeper. And if you know the nature of my blog posts, you know that this is my cue to analyze this small feature in search of artistic meaning, so if you are going to be closed-minded about this then please leave.

Republic Commando, knowing that you've only ever heard clones speak in the exact same voice up to this point, wastes no time meeting you up with a squad member who has a unique voice from all the other clones. Now, since it would be impossible for him to have come from any other host but Jango Fett, it has to sink into your head at some point in the game that this isn't the way clones normally speak. The beauty of it is that, even though they do introduce your squad members very early on, the game allows it to slow-burn that these clones act like individuals. When you do finally realize it though (assuming you were enough of a Star Wars fan to know the basic prerequisites), it now explains volumes about how clones think and interact. It's not that the clones actually have different voices, it's that Delta-1138 (the character you play as) hears the subtleties in their voices that we wouldn't be able to hear, which manifests into a completely different sounding voice for him. This is where it gets interesting. The clones have been known to express individuality despite it being discouraged by the Kaminoans (long-necked beings who oversee the clones' growth), giving themselves names instead of the numbers assigned to them and (as seen in Star Wars: The Clone Wars) sporting unique hairstyles to give themselves personality. What this simple subject of individual voices raises though is, do the clones even need the hairstyles to differentiate from each other or is that just so that other people can tell them apart? Similarly, if Obi Wan was talking to all four members of Delta Squad would they all sound like Jango Fett to him? If my analysis is accurate, then yes, they would all sound exactly alike. It's kind of like if you look at a lizard or something, you really can't tell one lizard from another based on appearance, but obviously they can tell each other apart because they look for different subtleties in their features than we do as humans.

This question that Republic Commando raises, and the way it allows the player to ponder it for himself without ever directly approaching the subject is genius! The best part about it is that the game never answers the question, allowing you to ultimately decide what it means. This kind of active storytelling is really the direction that I think video games should be going in more in terms of their narratives, since everything else about video games as a genre is already active (as opposed to the passive mediums of film, literature and everything else that preceded it). You wouldn't get this caliber of food for thought that dances so lightly around subjects in anything but the most provocative pieces in film and literature (don't take out of context please). Granted, this is only one small piece of the game and not a whole narrative relying on this kind of storytelling, but it proves that this kind of thing can be done well in video games, and I think developers should go in this direction with the way they handle entire video game stories, instead of trying to use the structure of a film and wonder why an 8-hour game doesn't work when shoehorned into that style.


also inb4 why are you looking so deep into this. i warned you at the beginning that if you're not interested then leave, please don't leave comments like that.
23 Comments
24 Comments
Edited by SpikeDelight
Deeper than you might think.
Did you ever notice that all four of the commandos in Star Wars Republic Commando have unique voices? That would seem normal until you realize that they are clones, who are all supposed to have the same voice as Jango Fett who, (during the Clone Wars at least) was the only host for the clones to be based on. Knowing this, it would seem that the developers simply cast aside canonical accuracy for better gameplay (since it would be impossible to tell who was saying what if they all had the same voice) and maybe they did, but I think it goes deeper than that. Much deeper. And if you know the nature of my blog posts, you know that this is my cue to analyze this small feature in search of artistic meaning, so if you are going to be closed-minded about this then please leave.

Republic Commando, knowing that you've only ever heard clones speak in the exact same voice up to this point, wastes no time meeting you up with a squad member who has a unique voice from all the other clones. Now, since it would be impossible for him to have come from any other host but Jango Fett, it has to sink into your head at some point in the game that this isn't the way clones normally speak. The beauty of it is that, even though they do introduce your squad members very early on, the game allows it to slow-burn that these clones act like individuals. When you do finally realize it though (assuming you were enough of a Star Wars fan to know the basic prerequisites), it now explains volumes about how clones think and interact. It's not that the clones actually have different voices, it's that Delta-1138 (the character you play as) hears the subtleties in their voices that we wouldn't be able to hear, which manifests into a completely different sounding voice for him. This is where it gets interesting. The clones have been known to express individuality despite it being discouraged by the Kaminoans (long-necked beings who oversee the clones' growth), giving themselves names instead of the numbers assigned to them and (as seen in Star Wars: The Clone Wars) sporting unique hairstyles to give themselves personality. What this simple subject of individual voices raises though is, do the clones even need the hairstyles to differentiate from each other or is that just so that other people can tell them apart? Similarly, if Obi Wan was talking to all four members of Delta Squad would they all sound like Jango Fett to him? If my analysis is accurate, then yes, they would all sound exactly alike. It's kind of like if you look at a lizard or something, you really can't tell one lizard from another based on appearance, but obviously they can tell each other apart because they look for different subtleties in their features than we do as humans.

This question that Republic Commando raises, and the way it allows the player to ponder it for himself without ever directly approaching the subject is genius! The best part about it is that the game never answers the question, allowing you to ultimately decide what it means. This kind of active storytelling is really the direction that I think video games should be going in more in terms of their narratives, since everything else about video games as a genre is already active (as opposed to the passive mediums of film, literature and everything else that preceded it). You wouldn't get this caliber of food for thought that dances so lightly around subjects in anything but the most provocative pieces in film and literature (don't take out of context please). Granted, this is only one small piece of the game and not a whole narrative relying on this kind of storytelling, but it proves that this kind of thing can be done well in video games, and I think developers should go in this direction with the way they handle entire video game stories, instead of trying to use the structure of a film and wonder why an 8-hour game doesn't work when shoehorned into that style.


also inb4 why are you looking so deep into this. i warned you at the beginning that if you're not interested then leave, please don't leave comments like that.
Posted by Rowr

This game was awesome. It's a real pity nothing additional ever came of it.

Posted by SpikeDelight
Rowr said:
"This game was awesome. It's a real pity nothing additional ever came of it."
Seriously! They just leave you hanging and don't seem to be planning a conclusion! Where's my Star Wars Imperial Commando?
Posted by adam_grif

Yes I noticed it, it was a deliberate design decision to help identify with the different characters.

Edited by IncredibleBulk92

Wow you've put a lot of thought into this.  It is possible that you're reading a little too deep into something (they may not have even considered using the same voice actor) but you've got some very interesting points.  


My first thought is that although they are clones, minor differences in their upbringing and experiences would have changed their bodies and possibly even voices.  I mean if you took two clones and made one smoke his whole life and the other didn't then they'd sound vastly different and I suppose that if you actually created an army of identical guys then they would be quite skilled at seeing incredibly minor differences in people.

It's almost disapointing to me that they don't bring it up or even include something in a developers commentry because I would love to know if they were actually thining about this when they created that game.  Then again I do see your point about the player themselves begining to see the subtle differences between each character and maybe at the back of their mind begin to realise.  Hmm yea, nice blog
Posted by atejas

I remember some fucking awesome dialogue is what I remember
"Hey, Sev, how many kills you get today, psycho?!"
"More than you, wiseguy."

Also nice theory, although if that were the case, it would be better to take the same voice and put it through some filters. I lean more towards them having different accents because the commandos were all given different instructors.

Edited by SpikeDelight
atejas said:
"I remember some fucking awesome dialogue is what I remember
"Hey, Sev, how many kills you get today, psycho?!"
"More than you, wiseguy."

Also nice theory, although if that were the case, it would be better to take the same voice and put it through some filters. I lean more towards them having different accents because the commandos were all given different instructors."
Well what I'm saying about the different voices is that he interprets them as completely different from Jango Fett's voice. Like as clear a difference as your voice is from mine. If they put it through filters the message would be too heavy handed and obvious that they're saying the clones have unique voices from each other but still have Jango Fett's voice. Also, clones are all raised identically, thus eliminating the nature-vs-nurture debate. In Attack of the Clones you can see they all go through scheduled tasks in the exact same manner (or so it looks to the non-cloned human eye) :D
Posted by atejas
SpikeDelight said:
"atejas said:
"I remember some fucking awesome dialogue is what I remember
"Hey, Sev, how many kills you get today, psycho?!"
"More than you, wiseguy."

Also nice theory, although if that were the case, it would be better to take the same voice and put it through some filters. I lean more towards them having different accents because the commandos were all given different instructors."
Well what I'm saying about the different voices is that he interprets them as completely different from Jango Fett's voice. Like as clear a difference as your voice is from mine. If they put it through filters the message would be too heavy handed and obvious that they're saying the clones have unique voices from each other but still have Jango Fett's voice. Also, clones are all raised identically, thus eliminating the nature-vs-nurture debate. In Attack of the Clones you can see they all go through scheduled tasks in the exact same manner (or so it looks to the non-cloned human eye) :D"
Ah, but in the novels it says that the commandos(not the rank and file clones) they were trained in batches- in different areas and under different trainers.
Posted by SpikeDelight

They made novels!? I want to read them! It'll hold me over until Imperial Commando, assuming they're making one.

Posted by atejas
SpikeDelight said:
"They made novels!? I want to read them! It'll hold me over until Imperial Commando, assuming they're making one."
Two of them. Not too bad. They don't deal with Delta Squad, but.....oh, Omega Squadron, I think. Been a while.
Posted by Rowr

Characterisation in this game was integral, it just wouldnt of been possible if they retained the same kiwi accent for everyone.

Def a design choice. You can make up whatever theories you want tho if it makes you feel better about consistency in a fabricated universe :P

Posted by Captain_Fookup

I loved this game, hopefully some day a sequel gets released.

Posted by JoshA
SpikeDelight said:
"They made novels!? I want to read them! It'll hold me over until Imperial Commando, assuming they're making one."

They actually wrote 4 novels. And they are all great! The fourth and most recent novel (came out a little under a year ago) is called Order 66 and tells what happens to the commandos when Order 66 is made. The novels are top notch, real page turners. You should check them out if you enjoy the Republic Commando storyline, definitley worth it.
Posted by adam_grif

I think a simpler, adequate hypothesis would be that the commandos spent much more time away from the group as a whole, and were much more individualistic than the regular troops were. They were designed to be able to take the initiative and think much more independently given that they were supposed to be commandos. Having more time by themselves and with each other rather than the group as a whole would mean that they had more time and chance to develop different accents.

Either that, or it was just a design choice to make the characters easier to pick apart, since if they all had the same voice you wouldn't be able to tell who was talking.

Posted by MattyFTM

My theory is this:

We know that after the clone war the empire recruited new people to be cloned into storm troopers, rather than just sticking to the jango fett clones. Perhaps the clones in Republic Commando were early experimental versions of these new clones? That makes sense to me.

Moderator
Posted by SpikeDelight
MattyFTM said:
"My theory is this:

We know that after the clone war the empire recruited new people to be cloned into storm troopers, rather than just sticking to the jango fett clones. Perhaps the clones in Republic Commando were early experimental versions of these new clones? That makes sense to me."
Yeah, I thought about that but I don't think that was how it happened. Obviously I can't prove it, but it is quite a longshot that your theory is correct. It takes about half the normal amount of time to grow the clones into normal soldiers, which is still about 10-15 years. Since the first batch of clones arrives for the battle of Geonosis that means that for this theory to be correct they Kaminoans were already experimenting by using Jango Fett as their host but at the same time got three other hosts. I doubt they would have done that without having tested at least one batch.
Posted by SpikeDelight

Also, Commander Cody in Revenge of the Sith and Commander Bly both have Jango Fett's voice, which would seem to rule out them getting accents from their trainers. Or is a commander different from a commando? I would assume those two are the same thing.

Posted by Carlos1408

I still dream about them making a sequel to this, or for this commnado squad to appear in some star wars series or whatever...
That is a very valid theory, I agree with it.

Posted by adam_grif

Imperial Commando plz.

Posted by Voidoid

I'm not sure the developers thought about this, but it's an awesome way of looking at it. It doesn't really matter what the developers thought; art is in the eye of the beholder. But how shall we interpret that 38 is voiced by Temuera Morrison, who played Jango, and consequently sounds like the clones in the movies? He if anyone should be able to detect the "subtleties" in his own voice, right? Then of course we tend not to notice changes in ourselves as much as changes in others.

I definitely think the different educations may be the source of the differences in their personalities though. Mandalorians have often been portrayed as being warriors by nature. Scorch, for example, embraced his inherit wild and unpredictable nature because he spent his childhood surrounded by explosions and such. Sev was taught to aim steadily and never flinch before pushing the trigger, which made him as cold and brutal as his ancestors. Fixer is an engineer, and thus in a sense a supporting unit, so he exhibits the typical Mandalorian loyalty and respect for his superiors. It's nature and nurture intertwining.

Posted by Stark1ller

That's pretty interesting. But I wanted to point out that while they would all sound very similar to the Jedi (you must remember that the clone commandos were grouped under different trainers, most mandalorian. So It would lead to different accents.) any Jedi knight, and likely any padawan or apprentice, would know them by their signature in the force. Love the article though.

Posted by bigjeffrey

- 4 years, 8 months ago

Posted by Damodar

I feel like maybe Giant Bomb could use a feature that points out when the topic you're replying to has been dead for five years before you can post your reply.

I mean, hey, the people that dredge up these topics are basically always totally new users, so whatever google rabbithole led them here, it's a new member on the site, so maybe it's a good thing as far as the staff are concerned, but it is weird just how often it happens.

Edited by mlarrabee

I just want to know why all of the old threads have clones (topicaaaal!) of the original post.