Why is the Main Character in Fallout 4 Voiced?

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT
 

Why is the Main Character in Fallout 4 Voiced?

Bethesda makes some questionable game decisions on occasion. This time around, Shamus wonders why the Fallout 4 protagonist has a voice at all.

Read Full Article

How about your interview with Nick Valentine or visiting Abernathy Farms? You could avoid both of those places for hours, but when you get there you are stuck with questions even the most ignorant player would have figured out on their own.

"What's a tato?" "Why do we use caps instead of cash?" "What's a Brahmin?" "What are Supermutants!?" (this last one is especially stupid because you fucking fight a bunch of supermutants on your way to Diamond City to begin with!)

Also, your character must not have lived in Boston very long before the war. A guy was wandering around asking for directions to Bunker Hill, and the player character didn't know where it was.

If it wasn't for how disappointed I am with pretty much every major change Bethesda made with this game, I'd be saying "I told you so" to pretty much everyone who told me I was being pessimistic about thing such as the voiced protagonist.

You've basically highlighted all of the issues I could see happening and even shown some which I never imagined they'd be dumb enough to do (making your character choose to attack someone in a game they advertised about being about freedom). At least in most games when you are forced to fight someone it's because they wanted to attack you. Making the character choose to do it in a game such as this is ridiculous.

Soviet Heavy:
Also, your character must not have lived in Boston very long before the war. A guy was wandering around asking for directions to Bunker Hill, and the player character didn't know where it was.

That's not too unrealistic - it depends just where your guy/gal went to in her lifetime. I personally also know barely any of my surrounding streets here, despite living here for 25 years simply because I don't get out much.

In Skyrim, I didn't exactly roleplay, but I did try to have my character act with some consistency (or think of a narrative excuse for what I wanted to do). Skyrim's barebones character interaction in the midst of (in my opinion) very compelling and interesting main storylines (particularly the main quest, Dragonborn, and the Dark Brotherhood story) was the perfect balance to me. I felt like big, cool things were happening in the world, but my response to them was my own. For instance, I wanted to make a generally good-natured, but pragmatic and martial mercenary. He was a two-handed sword user, so I wanted to use the sword that grants lifesteal--but you can only level it up by "betraying your friends". I managed to find a way to do it that was consistent with my idea of the character--he wasn't malicious, but he hated orcs. He's a human soldier, orcs are the enemy (at least in most fantasy stories, despite being downplayed in TES). So he joined an orc clan, went into their stronghold, and slaughtered them all. Despicable enough to satisfy the daedric weapon but completely justified in his own mind. The sort of thing that never would have worked if my character had to talk.

(Side note--I do wish there were more "lawful good" options, like having at least as many Divine weapons as daedric ones.)

Not a very convincing argument, I'm afraid. The mind-numbingly stupid dialog wouldn't become magically smarter just because it wasn't voiced.

To answer the question specifically: Because it adds to immersion.

And to be frank, no one seemed to have an issue with the voiced protagonist of the Saints Row games, which is also billed as a 'blank slate' character in an open-world game. (Although perhaps the main difference there is that you actually get to choose your voice.)

Pyrian:
Not a very convincing argument, I'm afraid. The mind-numbingly stupid dialog wouldn't become magically smarter just because it wasn't voiced.

Lack of a voiced main protagonist means more potential options for everyone else since all other voice actors have a fraction of the work-load that voiced protags would. So that means you could at least triple potential responses from everyone since the main protagonist has no voice to record and is thus not limited in their response number. Obviously that would depend on who you were talking to, but the idea is sound. Since options open, the dialogue that is available wouldn't have to be so mind-numbingly LCD.

IceForce:
no one seemed to have an issue with the voiced protagonist of the Saints Row games, which is also billed as a 'blank slate' character in an open-world game. (Although perhaps the main difference there is that you actually get to choose your voice.)

Well that and the Saints Row series is absolutely nuts. Like.. taking anything serious or attempting at connecting with characters and not just behaving like the deranged batman villain you were made to be is plain impossible, so it doesn't really matter that your derp of a character speaks.

Pyrian:
Not a very convincing argument, I'm afraid. The mind-numbingly stupid dialog wouldn't become magically smarter just because it wasn't voiced.

Yes, but if developers didn't need to add a voiceover for EVERY dialogue choice PC makes, I think they could add at least a few more.

OT: But... But Shamus! How can you say that?! Fallout 4 is ze bast gaim evur, right? Right?! RIGHT?!!!! It can't be a big huge lie! Internet Hype Train Fueled By Paul Marketing never lies!
*Chugs Doritos and Mountain Dew*

I don't think the issue is that the protagonist has a voice - I think the issue is Bethesda weren't quite prepared for the sheer amount of work it would have taken to make it convincing. The single voice actor isn't good enough, in my opinion. Sure, the voice is talented enough and it works for my character, a charisma-focused, revolver-toting PI in the Silver Shroud costume, but my brother's character has a mohawk, a bandanna around his mouth and welding goggles. He has a knife that he named Bastard and is constantly hopped up on Psycho Jet. Our two characters speak with the exact same calm, level tones and it's just plain disconcerting.

IceForce:
To answer the question specifically: Because it adds to immersion.

My main complaint would be that the dialogue is done pretty badly throughout the game, it never truly feels authentic, and that's not because the voice actors do badly, by the game script and dialogue options are just not handled well. You add this to the fact that it's just confusing sometimes- you don't know really what you're going to say all the time when you choose that option, and the summaries are often ambiguous. It breaks immersion more than helps it.

If we're comparing it to Skyrim, it's not loads worse, because Bethesda in truth have never been known for their writing and stories, and when it come to RPGs they've never been into deep quests with a ton of different outcome and complex dialogue trees. However, compared to old-school RPGs (or even New Vegas in some ways), it's supremely lackluster. I don't think Fallout or TES should be voiced because those are supposed to be true blank slates- a stand in for you. Not characters.

Personally I don't hate the dialogue wheels in Mass Effect and Dragon Age like others, I think it's leagues above what they did in this game. Not only are there more options but I think the biggest thing is consistency- it adds to immersion and the sense that you can craft a character with their own motivations and tendencies. It's not a blank stand-in character but that's okay, because that's not how they designed it. I simply didn't get the same sense in Fallout 4.

And to be frank, no one seemed to have an issue with the voiced protagonist of the Saints Row games, which is also billed as a 'blank slate' character in an open-world game. (Although perhaps the main difference there is that you actually get to choose your voice.)

Personally, I WAS bothered by that. In all games you're told you can create whatever kind of character you want, even between three different voices, but you just end up being a cool psychopath spouting one-liners throughout. I think it would have been better if at least I could have different approaches to the same outcome, like if I want to be psycho clown or a gruff psychopath of few words. So yeah, I did think that having one script for your character did break immersion in some ways. Really the European voices in the last two games were the only ones worth it, as the script did change a good bit.

Thank you Shamus. While this was blindingly obvious to a lot of gamers, it's absolutely vital that this is actually posted on news sites - only then does it become "real" and something that might get the attention of developers.
Also, it lowers the sudden influx of hyped up "fans" that will defend Fallout 4, because otherwise their feelings get hurt (really - it's okay to like the damn game, just don't pretend that it's immune to criticism).

I miss more of these articles that show the things Fallout 4 did wrong and what could've made the game better.

IceForce:
To answer the question specifically: Because it adds to immersion.

And to be frank, no one seemed to have an issue with the voiced protagonist of the Saints Row games, which is also billed as a 'blank slate' character in an open-world game. (Although perhaps the main difference there is that you actually get to choose your voice.)

(sorry for the long response - I took your post as an excuse to go on a short rant :) )

Mass Effect is also a good example of a "blank" character where the voice over works just fine.
The reason I put blank in air quotes there though, is that both Shepard and the Boss in Saints Row are not entirely blank characters.
In Mass Effect you have a talented person affiliated with the Earth military, with a distinguished career.
In Saints Row you have someone who wants to be a gang leader, a criminal and someone with highly questionable morals.

In both cases, the characters are already somewhat defined and I believe that's why the voice acting works.
(In the case of Saints Row, we're talking comedy - not worth taking seriously.)

If you take the first Fallout games as an example, those characters are more blank. They have an objective, but they're not defined by anything else than where they start (Vault 13 "Vault Dweller" and an Arroyo tribal).

Your answer isn't true everywhere - it's like movies and books. Some are more immersed when they read, others when they watch scenes unfold before their eyes.
Personally I feel more immersed by written dialogue and the voice acting is not only distracting, but actually rips me out of the immersion.
Mass Effect was the exception for me as Shepard generally had good voice acting all around and only rarely broke my immersion (usually due to the Renegade choices which as in Fo4 were way too aggressive).

Bethesda tried to have their cake and eat it too in Fallout 4. You have Nate (veteran soldier) and Nora (lawyer) that have a child together and live in a suburban home.
This is an interesting start to the story and had they stuck with the characters and their individual view on the world (Nate knowing that war never changes (strength) and Nora being a career office worker (charisma)) then the dialogue could've been more specific and interesting.
Instead they had the character go blank immediately after leaving the vault.

You can't even play these characters according to where they came from - they basically understand the world after twenty minutes and act like veteran wastelanders, only to come across a random NPC where they suddenly don't understand the most basic things about the world (like brahmin).

I don't know if you think the immersion is actually present in Fallout 4 through the voice acting though.

Soviet Heavy:
How about your interview with Nick Valentine or visiting Abernathy Farms? You could avoid both of those places for hours, but when you get there you are stuck with questions even the most ignorant player would have figured out on their own.

"What's a tato?" "Why do we use caps instead of cash?" "What's a Brahmin?" "What are Supermutants!?" (this last one is especially stupid because you fucking fight a bunch of supermutants on your way to Diamond City to begin with!)

Also, your character must not have lived in Boston very long before the war. A guy was wandering around asking for directions to Bunker Hill, and the player character didn't know where it was.

My personal favorite is when you get to Goodneighbour (after Diamond City in the main quest) and can still ask what a Ghoul is, and the shopkeeper Ghoul expects you to be frightened of them. Even assuming you somehow avoided all the free-roaming ghouls, and didn't run into the dialog with Preston about pre-war Ghouls, they've already featured in two prior missions to that on the story.

Your character not knowing or reacting to anything recognizable in Boston also just seems poorly written, yeah. The only real glimmer of it I've seen is when he tells the baseball fanatic in Diamond City how baseball was actually played, and one option in Piper's interview that acknowledges a bunch of people squatting in a sports field. You can even find the Veterans hall place with a terminal mentioning your speech invite (from the intro), or Vault-tec's office discussing the cryo experiment, and he doesn't even briefly acknowledge it.

Getting back to the article's thesis though, this isn't a problem with the voice, its a distinct lack of options, and illogical writing. Other games have certainly given voices, with archetypes like "Joker", "Sociopath", "Nervous Breakdown" etc that would allow for more of a chosen personality, and the character provided is just inconsistent throughout.

Thyunda:
I don't think the issue is that the protagonist has a voice - I think the issue is Bethesda weren't quite prepared for the sheer amount of work it would have taken to make it convincing. The single voice actor isn't good enough, in my opinion. Sure, the voice is talented enough and it works for my character, a charisma-focused, revolver-toting PI in the Silver Shroud costume, but my brother's character has a mohawk, a bandanna around his mouth and welding goggles. He has a knife that he named Bastard and is constantly hopped up on Psycho Jet. Our two characters speak with the exact same calm, level tones and it's just plain disconcerting.

It's a little weird that my guys naked, except for a sack on his head, and he's the most level headed guy in the room. It was amusing to see him quietly talk down a group of drug dealers, though.

They put so much work into letting you choose a name and build a character, and it's wasted because they all act the same. I wish Bethesda would think these things through.

Because they've always said stuff and now there's just a voice behind them? What kind of question is that? You know you can skip it like in every game prior right?

I'd say called it but, well, almost everybody did. At least around here anyways.

Honestly, having seen what a lot of people have said that was bad about Fallout 4 it really only amounted to this bizarre dialogue decision, which helps facilitate bad writing, and the bugs, which is something that will eventually be fixed.

Pyrian:
Not a very convincing argument, I'm afraid. The mind-numbingly stupid dialog wouldn't become magically smarter just because it wasn't voiced.

Its not that voiced dialogue itself is necessarily bad (although it does take away from some player imagination for some folks), its that it uses additional resources that dialogue without a voice actor doesn't require. With every line of dialogue you're paying the voice actor. Its, frankly, expensive. It works with Mass Effect because there really isn't too much divergence in the series - you can be a goody two shoes or a sadistic prick but you're always fighting against the same forces in the same quests the same way. There's not a lot of choices but there doesn't need to be a lot of choices. Mass Effect is a very linear RPG, both in gameplay and narrative. Its fine and works for the series but it has the illusion of being an open-world while Fallout actually is an open world. In Fallout you have almost complete freedom both in gameplay and narrative. Mass Effect asks you whether you want to be a "paragon" hero or a "renegade" hero, but both are heroes, whereas Fallout historically lets you be a hero to a dastardly villain with plenty of room in between. You need a lot more room to do the role-playing aspect and voiced dialogue makes it much, much more expensive to role-play.

IceForce:
To answer the question specifically: Because it adds to immersion.

And to be frank, no one seemed to have an issue with the voiced protagonist of the Saints Row games, which is also billed as a 'blank slate' character in an open-world game. (Although perhaps the main difference there is that you actually get to choose your voice.)

That's where I'm sitting, honestly. I like my guy having his own voice seeing as it anchors him in the world. I know *not* having recorded dialog opens up options for potential responses, but most of the missing options aren't those I personally would've chosen, in any case.

Take the zany Low Intelligence responses in New Vegas, for instance. Okay, so I designed a blockhead, but said blockhead apparently knows enough to manage coherent sentences - except where the designers thought it'd be funny to have us dip into Caveman Mode. Those responses felt less like the devs trying to accomodate my low Intelligence score and more like their going "Hey, selective cartoony mental retardation is fun! A-hyuck!"

That was more jarring for me than entertaining. On the other hand, Fallout 4's dialog options are consistent. Even if you go for a low Intelligence score, your character remains competent on the most basic level. It feels more realistic to me than spending my entire trek across the Mojave thinking that the bullet Benny lodged in my head turned my frontal lobe into a serving of tapioca.

This means that you can spend your time in the Commonwealth being a socially competent bruiser or sneak or what have you - or an above-average character with a high Intelligence score, in which case only hacking is affected. I can suspend my disbelief long enough for this to work, honestly. Maybe high-Int characters have a background in programming or computer engineering, as it is.

Siesta45:
Because they've always said stuff and now there's just a voice behind them? What kind of question is that? You know you can skip it like in every game prior right?

As others (me included) mentioned before, even if the voice actors were good themselves, it would still be worse than "mute" protagonist. The reason being that if you go with voiced protag, not only do you have to spend money to pay writers, but you also have to spend A LOT of time and money on actually voicing the lines. The time and money ammount is doubled if you are having one voice for a guy and one for gal.

The reasoning behind anti-voice acting arguments is if those lines weren't required to be voiced, developers could put a lot more of them in the game and give players more role playing options.

I mean, if it's a RPG with pre-established character (Deus Ex, Witcher), where you do not influence characters development, but their decissions only, then it's fine. But if it's a game with a blank-state protagonist (Fallout, Arcanum, Shadowrun) then it actually hurts the game by nullifing immersion to some extend.

Pyrian:
Not a very convincing argument, I'm afraid. The mind-numbingly stupid dialog wouldn't become magically smarter just because it wasn't voiced.

ravenshrike:
Lack of a voiced main protagonist means more potential options...

Mister K:

Yes, but if developers didn't need to add a voiceover for EVERY dialogue choice PC makes, I think they could add at least a few more.

MarsAtlas:
Its not that voiced dialogue itself is necessarily bad (although it does take away from some player imagination for some folks), its that it uses additional resources that dialogue without a voice actor doesn't require.

We've got Bethesda's considerable prior oeuvre as evidence to the contrary. There is simply no evidence that any money freed up from voice acting would therefore go into more dialog options. Indeed, I do not expect that having a huge number of available dialog options is something they even desire, as it entails significant costs to player experience in its own way (read read read).

Look, there's no cure for bad writing except better writing and extensive editing.

Completely disagree that this was a misstep. I can see how it would be a problem if you were trying to play "let's pretend it's me in a sci-fi world", but I've watched my character's personality establish itself with nudges in varying directions and I haven't liked a protagonist more since Saints Row. Helps that Courtenay Taylor absolutely nails it, for the performance - I know she's been in stuff before but I hope this springboards her to being the next gamer-household name voice actor like Nolan North or Jennifer Hale. For the first time in a Bethesda game, I actually like the dialogue scenes more than the exploration (and I like the exploration a whole bunch).

I can't see it happening again for Elder Scrolls 6, though, what with having to record male/female argonian/khajit/nord/dunmer voices for every line of dialogue (most of the others you could probably roll together, kind of?).

Pyrian:
We've got Bethesda's considerable prior oeuvre as evidence to the contrary. There is simply no evidence that any money freed up from voice acting would therefore go into more dialog options. Indeed, I do not expect that having a huge number of available dialog options is something they even desire, as it entails significant costs to player experience in its own way (read read read).

Look, there's no cure for bad writing except better writing and extensive editing.

Granted, Bethesda always sucked when it came to writing, but in their previous Fallout game (3rd for us, 1st for them) you had WAAAY more dialogue options to choose from. I mean, I once chased away a guy who tried to mug me because thanks to high Perception I was able to spot that his gun is not loaded (or something). I convinced a computer-USA President to self-destruct thanks to my high Inteligence. I managed to convice a kid to tell me where the bad guys are because I was "big, tough guy" (Strength check). There were many more which I've forgotten. I am not even counting dozens upon dozens of dialogue choices avaliable to ALL characters.

It seems, however, that in Fallout 4 the only stat that matters for story-wise roleplay is Charisma, while all dialogue options lead to either exposition or one, single outcome of a conversation.

IceForce:
And to be frank, no one seemed to have an issue with the voiced protagonist of the Saints Row games, which is also billed as a 'blank slate' character in an open-world game. (Although perhaps the main difference there is that you actually get to choose your voice.)

I had a problem with Saints Row IV when they changed female voice 3 from Slavic to French.

Pyrian:
We've got Bethesda's considerable prior oeuvre as evidence to the contrary. There is simply no evidence that any money freed up from voice acting would therefore go into more dialog options. Indeed, I do not expect that having a huge number of available dialog options is something they even desire, as it entails significant costs to player experience in its own way (read read read).

Look, there's no cure for bad writing except better writing and extensive editing.

Its not that money that goes to voice-acting would be freed up for writing. Writing dialogue is usually quite cheap. Its very inexpensive to write the dialogue. Thats not the problem. The problem is voicing all of those lines. Developers pay for every line of dialogue, so by cutting dialogue options from 6-8 to 4 cuts the budget for voice-acting by a rather fair amount. When you cut dialogue you create plot holes, contrivances, and you take away from the player's ability to, well, role play. There isn't much inherently wrong with having somebody voice act a character but it does create practical concerns and developers do not have unlimited resources to swing around.

Also, speaking of editing, you can't edit dialogue trees after the voice-acting has already been done without calling the voice actor back in, which is expensive. You can edit words to be any on a screen but you can't really edit recorded dialogue all that much. You can't split it, you have to either commit entirely to voiced or commit entirely to voiceless or else it would be too jarring. Can't a conversation with a character and half you lines be spoken and the other half not. That would probably break immersion more than anything else.

I'd take 6-8 text options then 4 voiced ones using the BioWare model that even BioWare fanboys openly despise.

Shamus, do you think it'll be easy to make a mod to NOT play any of those dialogue audio files?
To keep at least from hearing the lines being said so different from your own inner voice for your protagonist?

But SERIOUSLY about the issue from the second page; what the FFFF?!!!!!!!!!!!
Charisma is 100% useless or what? :O

Kenjitsuka:
Shamus, do you think it'll be easy to make a mod to NOT play any of those dialogue audio files?
To keep at least from hearing the lines being said so different from your own inner voice for your protagonist?

But SERIOUSLY about the issue from the second page; what the FFFF?!!!!!!!!!!!
Charisma is 100% useless or what? :O

Nah, Charisma is still pretty useful. Not all encounters are as dumbly handled as that.

Completely disagree. There is no excuse for a silent protagonist anymore in AAA games really. Finally characters can have actual conversations instead of interactions with service number computer labyrinths. I love the other Fallout games but going back to it now and being a completely mute character takes away a lot from the immersion. I like to actually roleplay and not just insert myself into the character.

Thanks for the heads up. I might look into a mod that blanks the audio of the main character. Unless the female is voiced by Jennifer Hale and then I am duty bound to listen to her.

And since you explain so many things in gaming; Why can't/won't they allow individual voices to be muted? The head thug in Gears of War being the one I wanted to choke off the most.

I disagree that that protagonist forces the fight in the scene you are talking about. The villain says quite plainly before you even get to the room that you have 1 last chance to leave alive, and you keep going. He talks to you just because he feels compelled to talk to you. But, as even the villain says "We both know how this was going to end no matter what."

That's not the words of someone who is willing to talk his way out of the situation, that's someone who is simply having a "villain monologue" moment before killing the hero. It's pretty typical villain schtick.

I can't really get into specifics about Fallout 4, since I haven't played it (haven't got around to Fallout 2 yet). But I have to say the author makes an extremely valid general point about the pitfalls of trying to serve incompatible goals at the same time, in this case these being free-form role playing and "cinematic" presentation. I hope major studios are paying attention to this clear and easy-to-grasp argument.

Overall, Experienced Points is definitely one of my favorite columns on The Escapist. That's all, I just wanted to say something positive for a change.

The voices in my head are always better.

I prefer my character - if it's going to be *mine* and isn't already a pre-designed personality - to be silent with more options for things to say. That said, I like pre-designed characters to have voices and good voice acting for the emotions of what they say.

In either case - better writing is absolutely a needed thing in all the games I've played lately. Not just dialog, but overall.

I do hate not being told exactly what choice I'm making to say too - voiced or unvoiced. The "general short idea" is almost never what I'd imagined it was when it comes out of the character's mouth.

Nimcha:
Completely disagree. There is no excuse for a silent protagonist anymore in AAA games really. Finally characters can have actual conversations instead of interactions with service number computer labyrinths. I love the other Fallout games but going back to it now and being a completely mute character takes away a lot from the immersion. I like to actually roleplay and not just insert myself into the character.

Exactly. I like the voice acting and the options and find it far far more immersive than those silent protagonists of previous games, but even if I didn't I'd just install the inevitable mod that removes the protagonist voices in a few weeks and use the one that's already come out for the extended options. People that want a completely mute character and verbose dialog choices will get both before long, but if Fallout 4 did not have voiced protagonists those people would be the ONLY ones satisfied instead of literally EVERYONE. Having voiced protagonists gives more options for the player to tailor the game to their tastes with mods than not having them, it's that simple.

The writing would still be the same regardless of if there were voiced protagonists or not, and if not it's a ridiculous and baseless assumption to believe that they would have spent the time and money involved anywhere else in the development of Fallout 4. The addition of voiced protagonists was an attempt by Bethesda to address the fact that a lot of people think their writing is terrible (it's not, people just miss the point of their open world games) by attempting to add emotional resonance to it, and this is the thanks they get?

immortalfrieza:

Nimcha:
Completely disagree. There is no excuse for a silent protagonist anymore in AAA games really. Finally characters can have actual conversations instead of interactions with service number computer labyrinths. I love the other Fallout games but going back to it now and being a completely mute character takes away a lot from the immersion. I like to actually roleplay and not just insert myself into the character.

Exactly. I like the voice acting and the options and find it far far more immersive than those silent protagonists of previous games, but even if I didn't I'd just install the inevitable mod that removes the protagonist voices in a few weeks and use the one that's already come out for the extended options. People that want a completely mute character and verbose dialog choices will get both before long, but if Fallout 4 did not have voiced protagonists those people would be the ONLY ones satisfied instead of literally EVERYONE. Having voiced protagonists gives more options for the player to tailor the game to their tastes with mods than not having them, it's that simple.

The writing would still be the same regardless of if there were voiced protagonists or not, and if not it's a ridiculous and baseless assumption to believe that they would have spent the time and money involved anywhere else in the development of Fallout 4. The addition of voiced protagonists was an attempt by Bethesda to address the fact that a lot of people think their writing is terrible (it's not, people just miss the point of their open world games) by attempting to add emotional resonance to it, and this is the thanks they get?

Its done very poorly. Fact of the matter is this game is displaying a lack of choice and removes much of the options to tailor one of a characters. Voice actors get paid per line. That being said, they probably could have made this work if they just made the character more of a defined character, but they tried a middle ground that just made it bland

Not to mention, this really resticts things like quest mods since you can not voice the main character unless you are the person who was paid to do it. At least not to a good degree

Mylinkay Asdara:
The voices in my head are always better.

This is my view too. I make certain exceptions for games like Mass Effect where it feels like we got handed a character and we're just making their choices (and face), but if you're telling me I get to make my own character I want as much control over it as possible. Giving it a predefined voice robs me of lots of that control.

My go to example of where this came back to bite me is this in Guild Wars 2. I spent a good hour making my character. I decided to make a Sylvari, a plant-like race. I was kind of impressed with how much detail they go into, you get to choose your character's personality and give them a sort of totem that reflects their background. After finishing this time consuming process I start up the game and get dropped into a cutscene.

Only to discover that my character speaks in a cocky, british accent. There was nothing particularly with the voice, it just wasn't at all what I imagined my character's voice to be. All my preconceptions of what my character was like were shattered and replaced with the new personality.

This necessarily happens no matter what the voice is. You can mitigate it slightly by having several voices to choose from, but voices carry a lot of personality in them, and if you want to give your player any pretense that they have some control over the personality, you shouldn't stick them with one stock voice.

Another way to mitigate it is to have the actor deliver each option very differently. Although I find that tends to put all of the responses into a category like the "Kind" response, the "Sarcastic" response, and so on. Often the distinctiveness makes it very hard to switch between the different choices because the options sound like they're coming out of the mouth of different people all together. Not only that, but you tend to loose the nuance to responses, and choosing a response tends to be: Is my character funny? If so, I choose the funny response every time.

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here