Is the voice acting a problem for anyone else?

Avatar image for xanadu
xanadu

2154

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

So I recently bought this game on a steam sale with all 5 episodes. After playing through episode 1 I only have one issue. The voice acting. It comes across as very bland across almost all characters and the written dialog doesn't fit with how I would expect teenagers to speak. I was wondering if anyone else felt the same way? There is an awful amount of fanfair for this game and I want to play it. I like these types of games and the premis is interesting but the VA is seriously holding me back from enjoying it. Does the acting get better? Does the game simply make up for it? Or am I just in the minority on this one?

Avatar image for shindig
Shindig

6207

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

If they went accurate with teenage colloquialisms, it'd sound like a nightmare.

"Like, seriously, yeah?"

"I know!"

Avatar image for youeightit
youeightit

415

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I believe that the voice acting being awkward and stilted was a deliberate choice. The way they talk is acknowledged a *little* bit, in a later episode.

My problem with the voice acting was that all the working class people tend to have southern accents. It bothers me because a few of them acknowledge being born and raised in Arcadia Bay, which is in Oregon, where people just don't talk like that.

Avatar image for mike
mike

18011

Forum Posts

23067

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: -1

User Lists: 6

For me the problem wasn't so much the voice acting as it was the dialogue itself. I just kept telling myself that it was written by French people and powered through.

Avatar image for yesindeed
YesIndeed

97

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@mike: It was not written by French people.

Avatar image for mike
mike

18011

Forum Posts

23067

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: -1

User Lists: 6

#6  Edited By mike

@yesindeed said:

@mike: It was not written by French people.

Who wrote it, then?

DONTNOD, a French developer, had an American do some localization for the writing, but this game was absolutely written by French writers.

Here is an interview with a couple of the them.

Loading Video...

Avatar image for izzygraze
izzygraze

951

Forum Posts

8

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

My only problems with the voice acting so far is that the lip-syncing is bad and that there appears to be no French audio version. When it's a French developer I like trying to French audio version to see if it's better. Might be why I like Heavy Rain better than some people. And yes I know they've talked about the lip-syncing.

Avatar image for yesindeed
YesIndeed

97

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#8  Edited By YesIndeed

@mike: I know the developer is French. I had read somewhere that the writer was American, however. I could be wrong though.

Edit: Just looked it up. The original story was written by a French author. It was converted into a game script by some of the design team, then it was sent to Christian Divine to be "fine-tuned" in English.

Avatar image for theveteran13
TheVeteran13

1424

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@xanadu said:

the written dialog doesn't fit with how I would expect teenagers to speak.

Be glad for this

Avatar image for oursin_360
OurSin_360

6647

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Watching the GBeast crew play through and the voice acting is fine, the dialog is a bit rough in spots but as was stated already, translation from a french script.

I swear they said something about going for tea, which we all know normal american teens do all the time lol.

Avatar image for relkin
Relkin

1529

Forum Posts

2492

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

The writing is the issue for me. By the time that first scene in the classroom is over I knew I wouldn't be able to play this game. However, the game does have an interesting narrative, so I'll watch the GBEast playthrough till the end. As far as the voice acting goes, I think you've hit the mark: it's bland. Not bad, but definitely not good.

Avatar image for clagnaught
clagnaught

2475

Forum Posts

401

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 19

I thought the voice acting was good. There is definitely something a little "off" about some of the acting and the dialogue. One thing I will say is the game's core is Chloe and Max. Some characters come and go, based on where those two are in their story or what they are doing that day. By far the most you are going to hear from is Max, followed by Chloe, and then there are like 4 people tied for third.

Speaking for myself, Max's delivery helped put me in her character, both from an empathy and as the player surrogate perspective. She is the emotional core of that story and I think she nailed it, or at the very least pulled it off. If you just started you might not have reached Chloe, but she is probably the best voice actor in the game. She definitely has a flow with her delivery that is needed for Chloe's character.

I've heard other people talk about the voice acting, the dialogue, and the lip syncing being issues for them, but honestly those never bothered me.

Avatar image for noblenerf
noblenerf

937

Forum Posts

196

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I think the writing and acting of Max and Chloe are great--they really knock it out of the park. LiS only gets brought down by some of the supporting cast, like near-background characters, who have weird voices... although I can't be sure if that isn't the point. As to the script itself, I think it's also great; the sort of weird atmosphere is exactly what they're going for, T W N P K S style.

The bad lipsyncing is distracting and the only issue I have with the game's presentation.

Avatar image for sparky_buzzsaw
sparky_buzzsaw

9598

Forum Posts

3772

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 39

User Lists: 38

Ashly Burch did a pretty damned good job as Chloe, and has been consistently great in her performances as of late.

Avatar image for dizzylemons
dizzylemons

132

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

For me it was great, but that's mainly because I have little to no preconceptions about how teens in the NW of a country I don't live in should sound, so I took it all at face value that this was the way they talked and how they interacted. I thought the intensity Chloe's character brought was initially a little too much but that actually paid off for me the further in the story went. I guess I had some inclinations from the art style and musical choice that it was more on the "indie/free-spirited" side of things but I was happy to go with that vibe. For me it worked well.

Avatar image for alistercat
alistercat

8412

Forum Posts

7490

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 20

A lot of people have this issue, in fact it's the number one issue I see people bringing up. I personally don't have a problem with it because I know people in their late teens who talk this way. I also accept there is a certain level fo bad videogame writing and maybe some localisation funkyness.

Avatar image for yesindeed
YesIndeed

97

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I doubt it has anything to do with localisation. I'm sure the developers left all of the slang and "teen 'tude" to the localiser rather than guessing at how teens here talk, then having the localiser do a direct translation. It's really not a problem for me anyways though. I cringe when the characters try too hard just like I cringe when I think back to how kids talked when I was their age. Teens are just kind of cringey like that.

Avatar image for vocalcannibal
vocalcannibal

407

Forum Posts

864

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I'll only jump in since I've mentioned this before, but the 'teen dialogue' is absolutely accurate.

I'm a senior at an art and design college, so I'm constantly around artsy teens even though I'm a few years removed from the characters myself. Teenagers are basically meme machines, and throw references into casual conversation to reaffirm out loud that they Like A Thing and therefor Belong To A Group.

I always get brought back to hearing adult men in games media talking about how realistic they thought the teen dialogue in Beyond: Two Souls was, where that game made me absolutely bonkers because the weird 'all teenagers are cruel for no reason especially girls' and 'calling a paranormal character a witch like they're 100% serious about it feels so out of place when ACTUAL CHILDREN also did it in another scene' stuff felt so stiff and unnatural.

(Other notable examples, 'I got you a thong now you can stop wearing your mom's' and 'This shy character that we barely know is such a slut because apparently that's the best insult I can come up with')

Not that David Cage's games have the best dialogue to begin with, but damn. Seeing all that praise just really sticks out to me now that people have been questioning how realistic Life is Strange's teen talk is.

The voice acting can get a little stilted (Chloe's use of hella, for example, seems more like the writers made a mistake that couldn't be salvaged by even the best take) but for the most part I didn't have any issues with it!

Avatar image for clush
clush

760

Forum Posts

43

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 3

'That's not how people should talk' is what I often feel about actual teens.

Avatar image for newmoneytrash
newmoneytrash

2452

Forum Posts

93

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 10

is this a giant bomb thread or a comment chain on facebook with a bunch of middle aged moms

those darned teens

Avatar image for turambar
Turambar

8281

Forum Posts

114

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

#22  Edited By Turambar

@shindig said:

If they went accurate with teenage colloquialisms, it'd sound like a nightmare.

"Like, seriously, yeah?"

"I know!"

Being surrounded by a thousand high school aged teenagers daily, that's not quite accurate. They're far more verbally articulate than you'd give credit, and can give the stuff on this forum a run for its money easily.

Avatar image for yesindeed
YesIndeed

97

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

is this a giant bomb thread or a comment chain on facebook with a bunch of middle aged moms

Not a middle aged mom, I just work on a college campus.

Avatar image for noblenerf
noblenerf

937

Forum Posts

196

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#24  Edited By noblenerf

@vocalcannibal: Interesting... and terrifying. With a hella thrown in there for good measure.

Avatar image for shindig
Shindig

6207

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@turambar said:
@shindig said:

If they went accurate with teenage colloquialisms, it'd sound like a nightmare.

"Like, seriously, yeah?"

"I know!"

Being surrounded by high school aged teenagers daily, that's not quite accurate. They're far more verbally articulate than you'd give credit, and can give the stuff on this forum a run for its money easily.

Well I live in a third-rate University City filled with Oxbridge rejects and they all sound like this.

Avatar image for jazz
Jazz

2367

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 37

I don't think it's actually supposed to be realistic but evocative of the teen movies from the 80s - hence the weird speech patterns. I can understand how that could throw people off though.

Avatar image for turambar
Turambar

8281

Forum Posts

114

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

@shindig said:
@turambar said:
@shindig said:

If they went accurate with teenage colloquialisms, it'd sound like a nightmare.

"Like, seriously, yeah?"

"I know!"

Being surrounded by high school aged teenagers daily, that's not quite accurate. They're far more verbally articulate than you'd give credit, and can give the stuff on this forum a run for its money easily.

Well I live in a third-rate University City filled with Oxbridge rejects and they all sound like this.

I work with 9th-11th grade social studies students as well as special ed students daily, and they are more than capable of not sounding like that.

Avatar image for bisonhero
BisonHero

12417

Forum Posts

625

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 2

@oursin_360 said:

Watching the GBeast crew play through and the voice acting is fine, the dialog is a bit rough in spots but as was stated already, translation from a french script.

I swear they said something about going for tea, which we all know normal american teens do all the time lol.

Yeah, this is purely anecdotal, but boy did I not know any teenage girls in high school that met up and had tea all the time, so Max and Kate having to take a raincheck on their usual tea date seems odd. And I'm in Canada, where I assume we are more positive on tea than a lot of America is. Is that true? I've always assumed present day Americans don't drink that much tea.

As much as that American dude localized the game, I'm with @mike in think that it's best to keep in mind that the fundamentals of the story, characters, and character interaction were written by French people who have never been American teens, and then their American localizer had to massage the script as best as possible to actually be anything close to believably American teen dialogue.

Some of the voice actors aren't great, especially a lot of the teen characters who feature heavily in episodes 1 and 2, but I think a lot of the voice actors turn in perfectly acceptable performances (Mr. Jefferson, Joyce Price, Victoria, David Madsen, Frank Bowers). Even for a character who is shy and kind of a coward a lot of the times, I still think they could've found a slightly better actor to do Max's part. Chloe is the standout peformance of the whole season, and I'm glad Burch got the nomination at The Game Awards for the performance.

Avatar image for turambar
Turambar

8281

Forum Posts

114

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

#29  Edited By Turambar

@bisonhero said:

As much as that American dude localized the game, I'm with @mike in think that it's best to keep in mind that the fundamentals of the story, characters, and character interaction were written by French people who have never been American teens, and then their American localizer had to massage the script as best as possible to actually be anything close to believably American teen dialogue.

Add in the fact that script isn't being compared to what teens actually sound like, but rather what people believe teens sound like, and the end result is about as well done as one can really expect.

Avatar image for bisonhero
BisonHero

12417

Forum Posts

625

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 2

@noblenerf said:

I think the writing and acting of Max and Chloe are great--they really knock it out of the park. LiS only gets brought down by some of the supporting cast, like near-background characters, who have weird voices... although I can't be sure if that isn't the point. As to the script itself, I think it's also great; the sort of weird atmosphere is exactly what they're going for, T W N P K S style.

The bad lipsyncing is distracting and the only issue I have with the game's presentation.

Yeah, the script and voice acting are just slightly off in a few spots, but the lip syncing and general lack of significant facial animation are much bigger issues throughout the entire season. Big credit to the voice actors that they made so many of those Max and Chloe moments work, because those moments worked almost in spite of the character models they were voicing.

Avatar image for dizzylemons
dizzylemons

132

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Reading all of this i'm genuinely confused as to why Life Is Strange is getting called out on the dialogue more-so than any other game? I guess the Telltale games pretty much have their own established worlds so and they generally seem to improve the narrative in the gaming sense (Borderlands, Walking Dead etc). But Witcher 3 was amazingly written about people being grim in a grim situation, Grand Theft Auto was people using the American language full of expletives and colloquialisms in a fairly generic way. Not that either case was bad, so why does Life Is Strange get all of the ire? Is it really because it was objectively bad or is it because it's such a niche and close thing that it gets an uncanny valley response from people that are wholly American post-teenagers that can't / don't want to relate to that?

I get that the voice acting and lip syncing wasn't amazing across the board but the resounding response is "that's not how teens sound like" seems to be a really strong theme here.

Avatar image for ch3burashka
ch3burashka

6086

Forum Posts

100

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 3

I don't mind the dialogue. The only thing that is killing me is Max's "vocal fry". When that term came to being earlier this year I didn't know what people meant. Now I do.

Avatar image for bisonhero
BisonHero

12417

Forum Posts

625

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 2

@brightside: My guess is that people get really mad about teen slang/internet meme slang being used incorrectly because they have the most personal familiarity with it. Grand Theft Auto gets a pass because it's expected to be larger than life and somewhat satirical of American urban crime. Telltale gets to dodge that issue because they're either grown-ass adults in a zombie apocalypse who just speak like generic TV adults or terrified children, or people aren't looking for verisimilitude because the setting is more fantastical like Borderlands or The Wolf Among Us (which had so few normal people in it that you didn't actually expect to see or hear many references to 1980s culture in New York City because everybody is a fucking frog or fairytale prince or whatever). Life Is Strange had a tough hill to climb, because a lot of the gamers playing it were, in fact, American teens not that long ago, or at this very moment, so many of the players think they know what teens should sound like.

I mean, there are totally fair criticisms. For example, slang dictionaries are a thing that exists, because those words still have meanings, and there are right ways and wrong ways to use slang. You would never say "you're gonna get in hella more trouble" to a guy who just pulled a gun on you. It's the kind of thing where if someone naturally learned how to use "hella" from context of other people using the slang, then they'd probably know how to use it, but if you're a guy tasked with localizing a script you might accidentally throw in a few extra "hella"s that don't fit the sentence at all.

Still, I'm surprised people get so hung up on it. Ultimately the characters are pretty good and the story has really memorable moments, and most of the cringy misuses of teen slang happen in the first episode.

Avatar image for gaff
Gaff

2768

Forum Posts

120

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

@bisonhero: @brightside: I think it's more to do with 20somethings and 30somethings playing this, remembering their teenage years and thinking that they never talked like that. Of course, they're completely oblivious that 10+ years have passed in the mean time and, well, things change.

There's probably something deep to be said about how we as a society have started to worship our childhood memories, but that's probably a discussion for another time.

Avatar image for jonny_anonymous
Jonny_Anonymous

3694

Forum Posts

6

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I have no problem with it

Avatar image for monkeyking1969
monkeyking1969

8529

Forum Posts

1241

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 17

@mike: It was written by someone living in San Francisco who is a native English speaker. That's a FACT, that fact has been out since episode #1. You just have it in your head that a French company made it, its all in your head man.

Avatar image for mike
mike

18011

Forum Posts

23067

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: -1

User Lists: 6

Avatar image for teddie
Teddie

2220

Forum Posts

20

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

On the plus side, Max's "just okay" voice actor is bad at sounding sincere/encouraging, so every time you try to console someone in that game it comes across as shallow and superficial like a real teenager.

Avatar image for starvinggamer
StarvingGamer

11527

Forum Posts

36428

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 22

I wonder how many of the people complaining "teens don't talk this way" spend their time speaking with teens from the Pacific Northwest.

Avatar image for artisanbreads
ArtisanBreads

9107

Forum Posts

154

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 6

#40  Edited By ArtisanBreads

@mike said:

For me the problem wasn't so much the voice acting as it was the dialogue itself.

This is what stopped me from watching the GB East playthrough past episode 1. Just didn't care for it. I don't care if it's accurate or inaccurate, written by a Frenchman or an American.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.