Text vs. Voice?

#1 Posted by DrMadHatten (133 posts) -

In hindsight, I realized that because of the repetitive voice work in Oblivion, I feel like many sacrifices were involved to apply it to the world and overall I didn't like it. I actually enjoyed the text of Morrowind as it allowed for my imagination to fill in character voices and also Morrowind was so big in scope. I know this might be a polarizing opinion as text does put a lot of people off.
I doubt that text will ever return to the elder scrolls series besides books, which are dwindling in ambition and number. Do you like text? Did you like text more than voice work? Is it still possible in big budget games for our modern times?

#2 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6115 posts) -

If its well written sure, it can go either way. 

#3 Posted by AuthenticM (4250 posts) -

I'm with you on this. What you say is true, and you can add to that the fact that hiring voice actors for such a massive game is hella expensive, and takes a lot of time to properly implement and program. But what do you want? They need to make a "modern" game in order to satisfy the capricious bunch who never read books.

#4 Posted by HistoryInRust (6669 posts) -

Such are the sacrifices games must make.

#5 Posted by Xpgamer7 (2461 posts) -

I like text over voice work if the voice work would be horrible. Otherwise I prefer voices, even if the money could be spent otherwise(supposing this doesn't impact core game mechanics).

#6 Posted by AuthenticM (4250 posts) -

This reminds me of a post I made nearly four years ago on Gamespot, 29 days before D-Day. It's quite relevant, so I'll copy and paste it here. Source. I went with a little-too-much provocative title that read "Why voice-overs are killing RPGs". Ha.

@AuthenticM said:

Not litterally. RPGs are still selling very well today. But I've noticed that today's RPGs are less rich and plentiful of dialogues since voice-overs became mandatory for a game to be "accepted".

Go back in the pre-Final Fantasy X era and take a look at the narrative of RPGs. Take for example Final Fantasy VIII, which had a hell of a lot of dialogues (and monologues). The staff behind the game could cram an infinite amount of text if they so desired. Reading doesn't take long, and nobody cares if the story is interesting. It's just like reading a book. All Final Fantasies were like that (especially VI, VII, VIII and IX). Lots of interesting text to read, which would make the story rich.

Now compare these to today's RPGs, in which there are voice-overs. Scenario writers can't let their mind run free and write plenty of dialogues. They've got to gauge the right amount of dialogues needed so the game doesn't feel empty, but not to much. Why? Because now they've gotta hire and pay voice-actors (which costs quite a lot). Not only that, but if the dialogues are too long, the game will get tiresome real fast. Take a scene from any RPG that would require between 5 and 10 minutes of reading. Take all of the text and add voice-overs. It'll take a lot longer to cover the same amount of information brought forward by reading, and the player would get tired. In the end, game company can't afford to write stories and dialogues as rich as before.

Of course, voice-overs have their advantages. Games are now more movie-like, and actors bring the characters to life. But that doesn't mean pre-voice-overs characters were lifeless. More dialogues and information is what a story and character needs. I'm not saying today's RPG characters are lifeless. Final Fantays XII has great, interesting and living characters. But it's not the same as before. Just compare the amount of information contained in FFVI, VII, VIII and IX to X, X-2 and XII. There's quite a difference in the amount of content. Also, when there are no voices, a character's personality will be forged only by his/her dialogues, whereas with an actor behind the character, the personality is kinda forced.

If voice was something crucial to the development of a characters, then books wouldn't have a purpose. But we know this isn't true. Everybody knows nothing will surpass the richness books offer. RPGs nowadays are like movies, but I prefer when they were like books. I prefer having a lot of interesting text to read than having to simply watch a cutscene that might have irritating voices. I could read for over 10 minutes-long and not be bothered at all, but not-so-much with cutscenes with voices. What's your opinion?

#7 Posted by DrMadHatten (133 posts) -

Wow, the fact that you wrote that four years ago blows me out of the water. But I totally agree, and I'm worried. I don't even feel like text would be going "backward" but I feel like it makes game players lazier.

#8 Posted by Yorick (238 posts) -

I like voice. It helps immerse me in the game more unless it's bad voice acting. I always play with subtitles on though.

#9 Posted by DrMadHatten (133 posts) -

I agree but I doubt Elder Scrolls will ever be Mass Effect as far as voice acting goes. So many characters...

#10 Posted by Habast (106 posts) -

I was just playing Morrowind earlier today, haha. I definitely miss Morrowind's text, even without a voice, it gave characters more personality. Maybe because they didn't all sound the same?

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