Let's Talk about Voice Acting.

Discussion about the upcoming Wasteland 3!

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Zombra
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Let's Talk about Voice Acting.

Post by Zombra » October 1st, 2016, 12:36 pm

From this week's Polygon interview. Emphasis mine:
Brian Fargo wrote:[Wasteland 3] looks great. It’s lightyears above where Wasteland 2 was, and it’s all in-engine," Fargo said. "The other thing is that it’s great for conversations, a la Fallout 4. The camera is going to come down and you’re going to see and hear people speaking their lines, which really helps drive the immersion.
Let's talk about some possible implications for now ... as more information becomes available, the discussion can expand or contract appropriately.

From the press release. Emphasis mine:
inXile press release wrote:In key conversations the camera will pan in to show a closer shot of person you’re talking to.
The implication here is that these "zoomed and voiced" conversations will be exceptional; that is, they won't try to voice every character. This is good news as we can expect quality over quantity. (Of course, even limited voiceovers are not a guarantee of quality, as the cold reception of some of W2:DC's voice work shows.)

So I guess for NPCs we can expect a level of voice work generally comparable to that in Wasteland 2; so on that front, nothing new is really being added.

What I do find worrying is what the move to a Bioware/Fallout 4 style of dialogue might imply: voice acting for the PC(s). Since VA is so expensive, this could be disastrous on a couple levels:

1) It would be necessary to limit player choice on how his PCs are represented. Chances are that I'm going to completely hate a given voice actor and that he will be completely wrong for the PC I envisioned. Even if you give me 2 or 3 actors to choose from, none of them are going to sound like my character, and instead of playing an RPG I'm going to feel like I'm watching a movie. (I hated both the actors in Dragon Age Inquisition, for example.) This is the main reason I said "No thank you" to Fallout 4. I'm sure I would have hated that guy too.

2) The problem of representation would explode with a party of four player-created PCs. Even if the player made two male and two female characters to minimize the impact of lack of selection, twice as much VA would be required. And what about a party all of the same gender? Four times as much. They might record four lead actors and four lead actresses to cover "all the bases", but that wouldn't cover all the bases at all; see 1) above. More likely inXile would make W3 a Chosen One game instead, so that just one actor could represent the entire party in dialogue. No thank you.

tl;dr:
No voice acting for player characters, please.
Unless you are ready to hire about 50 lead actors to voice each and every PC conversation.

Maybe I'm putting the cart before the horse, but again, it's better to get out in front of a problem before it manifests.

Your turn. Discuss.
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Re: Let's Talk about Voice Acting.

Post by Salmanasar » October 1st, 2016, 2:08 pm

or maaaaybe he's just implying return of "talking heads" from fallout 1, but use Fallout 4 as better known example for non-hardcore gamers? Fargo's making a lot of.. let's say *controversial* decisions for some time (like making fun of publishers in KS videos and then designing his games with gamepad in mind, which hurts PC version -WL2 DC never forgive never forget :p), but making WL3 "isometric fallout 4" would be self-knockout

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Re: Let's Talk about Voice Acting.

Post by Zombra » October 1st, 2016, 3:40 pm

Salmanasar wrote:or maaaaybe he's just implying return of "talking heads" from fallout 1, but use Fallout 4 as better known example for non-hardcore gamers?
I see this as wishful thinking on the part of old school Fallout fans. (Not that I'm not guilty of some wishful thinking myself!) Having the camera "come down" and keeping everything in-engine (ref. Polygon interview) says to me pretty clearly that it's going to all be the same render, just different camera angles. And honestly that sounds great to me.
Salmanasar wrote:Fargo's making a lot of.. let's say *controversial* decisions for some time, but making WL3 "isometric fallout 4" would be self-knockout
Well, the camera angle in conversations isn't the thing that made Fallout 4 bad. Remember that W3 will be using the same conversation engine as Pillars of Eternity and Torment Numenera. So they're not going totally off the deep end. My question boils down to whether the protagonist(s) will be voiced. (No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Please no.)
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Re: Let's Talk about Voice Acting.

Post by alxtronic » October 1st, 2016, 4:46 pm

A voiced protagonist would be a deal breaker for me.

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Re: Let's Talk about Voice Acting.

Post by Salmanasar » October 2nd, 2016, 12:08 am

Zombra wrote: I see this as wishful thinking on the part of old school Fallout fans. (Not that I'm not guilty of some wishful thinking myself!) Having the camera "come down" and keeping everything in-engine (ref. Polygon interview) says to me pretty clearly that it's going to all be the same render, just different camera angles. And honestly that sounds great to me.
Well, when I'm saying "talking head" I'm also thinking about Fallout New Vegas-style conversations.
Salmanasar wrote: Well, the camera angle in conversations isn't the thing that made Fallout 4 bad.
Let's say I just agree with this:
Jimmious wrote:Mentioning Fallout 4 in general is a really bad idea, I don't know what they were thinking.
I would refrain from mentioning this terrible piece of software anywhere near my game
but I dont think that our protagonist would be voiceacted. It's just too expensive for an indie game.

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Re: Let's Talk about Voice Acting.

Post by Zombra » October 2nd, 2016, 1:02 am

Salmanasar wrote:Well, when I'm saying "talking head" I'm also thinking about Fallout New Vegas-style conversations.
Right, I didn't think of that. Could be I suppose. I'd rather see more of a Bioware camera myself, even if people are standing around like dummies.
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Re: Let's Talk about Voice Acting.

Post by Drool » October 2nd, 2016, 12:10 pm

Zombra wrote:The implication here is that these "zoomed and voiced" conversations will be exceptional; that is, they won't try to voice every character.
Meh. Might as well not bother. I'm probably an outlier here, but I far prefer all or nothing when it comes to this. I'm always aggravated when talking to an NPC can turn into a game of "Guess Which Line Is Voiced" or "Guess Which Dude is Important Enough For a Voice". Voice them all or spend that money elsewhere. No, it's not about my immersion being shattered, it's about a lack of consistency. Especially like in WL2 where any given line by any given character might or might not be voiced. Or have different pitches and volumes. Or possibly be different people.

On second thought, just scrap the voice alltogether. I'm almost rather have a Viewtiful Joe or Peanuts "wah wah wah" than voiced lines. I'm a big boy who can manage reading.

The problem of representation would explode with a party of four player-created PCs. Even if the player made two male and two female characters to minimize the impact of lack of selection, twice as much VA would be required.
Unless they halfass it like they did in WL2 where that character talking didn't matter in the slightest.
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Re: Let's Talk about Voice Acting.

Post by Zombra » October 2nd, 2016, 12:50 pm

Drool wrote:Meh. Might as well not bother. I'm probably an outlier here, but I far prefer all or nothing when it comes to this. Voice them all or spend that money elsewhere. On second thought, just scrap the voice alltogether.
I don't disagree, but that ship has kinda sailed for Wasteland, I think. Going from "some voice" in W2 to "no voice" in W3 would doubtless be seen as an unacceptable backward step.
Drool wrote:I'm almost rather have a Viewtiful Joe or Peanuts "wah wah wah" than voiced lines.
They would never do this either, but it's an intriguing thought. On a related note, I'm sure you're aware of my thoughts on voice synthesis - here's a link for anyone else reading.

The Sims is a good example of a game series that uses speech without recording specific lines. It basically uses sound effects for "someone's talking", which is a nice alternative to dead silence during conversations. I don't like the Sims' cutesy pseudo-language construction, and it's annoying that again there are only a few voice actors doing those effects - making the "words" even more vague ("wah wah wah") and adding modifiers like pitch and speed to make each character unique would solve these problems.
Drool wrote:
Zombra wrote:The problem of representation would explode with a party of four player-created PCs. Even if the player made two male and two female characters to minimize the impact of lack of selection, twice as much VA would be required.
Unless they halfass it like they did in WL2 where that character talking didn't matter in the slightest.
Yeah. My worry is that even if the game is truly party-based, they'll decide that since it doesn't matter who's talking, your party will have one "spokesman" who is the only voiced PC, while the rest are mute spear carriers. And we're back to a Chosen One again.
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Re: Let's Talk about Voice Acting.

Post by Bubbles » October 2nd, 2016, 1:44 pm

Zombra wrote:
Drool wrote:Meh. Might as well not bother. I'm probably an outlier here, but I far prefer all or nothing when it comes to this. Voice them all or spend that money elsewhere. On second thought, just scrap the voice alltogether.
I don't disagree, but that ship has kinda sailed for Wasteland, I think. Going from "some voice" in W2 to "no voice" in W3 would doubtless be seen as an unacceptable backward step.
Console gamers know WL2 as a game where every NPC is fully voiced. For WL3, anything less would be unacceptable.

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Re: Let's Talk about Voice Acting.

Post by shaigunjoe » October 2nd, 2016, 3:10 pm

Drool wrote: Meh. Might as well not bother. I'm probably an outlier here, but I far prefer all or nothing when it comes to this. I'm always aggravated when talking to an NPC can turn into a game of "Guess Which Line Is Voiced" or "Guess Which Dude is Important Enough For a Voice". Voice them all or spend that money elsewhere. No, it's not about my immersion being shattered, it's about a lack of consistency. Especially like in WL2 where any given line by any given character might or might not be voiced. Or have different pitches and volumes. Or possibly be different people.

On second thought, just scrap the voice alltogether. I'm almost rather have a Viewtiful Joe or Peanuts "wah wah wah" than voiced lines. I'm a big boy who can manage reading.
Thats pretty much how I feel, all our nothing, and with the scope of WL3, I think I'd prefer nothing. Pretty sure that isn't going to happen, but I would prefer it that way.

Though, it would be awesome if somebondy made a mod that puts in the blabber that passes as speech in The Sims universe.

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Re: Let's Talk about Voice Acting.

Post by moleman » October 3rd, 2016, 2:30 pm

I'd be totally fine with how it was done in WL2 or in Pillars of Eternity for instance.
The important key dialogue lines would be fully voiced while the secondary or small talk fluff dialogue stays silent.

The protagonist should definitely stay silent, except for bark strings, grunts, screams, etc that'd come with the voice pack chosen during character creation.


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Re: Let's Talk about Voice Acting.

Post by Kimotei » October 3rd, 2016, 9:50 pm

moleman wrote:The important key dialogue lines fully voiced while the secondary or small talk fluff dialogue stays silent.

The protagonist should definitely stay silent, except for bark strings, grunts, screams, etc that'd come with the voice pack chosen during character creation.
Agree very much with all this.

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Re: Let's Talk about Voice Acting.

Post by DKPortela » October 5th, 2016, 8:39 am

Voiced protagonists for NPC's and companions, silent protagonist. My 5 cents. Don't go Mass Fallout 4 on us guys.

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Re: Let's Talk about Voice Acting.

Post by Drool » October 5th, 2016, 11:34 am

Judging by the Cold Reception trailer, the NPC gets voice while the PC doesn't.
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Re: Let's Talk about Voice Acting.

Post by Zombra » October 5th, 2016, 11:54 am

Drool wrote:Judging by the Cold Reception trailer, the NPC gets voice while the PC doesn't.
Yes! Here's hoping it stays that way. Though I'm disappointed that we don't get to see the PC standing opposite. I guess I can complain about that in the camera thread.
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