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December 30th, 2012, 19:40
Originally Posted by killias2 View Post
Ask Nintendo about this. You know. Nintendo. The biggest and most successful video game developer in the world. They have been highly resistant to using voice acting for anything except character-originated sound effects. Almost none of their games use voice acting for dialogue, and it has nothing to do with budget, as some of these games are among the highest selling games of all time. They argue that voice acting creates a barrier between the player and the character, even in more RPG-ish leaning games such as the Zelda series.
I never said there weren't exceptions - but they're rare. As for why Nintendo has opted out of voice acting - I wouldn't know. Do you have a source for your claims?

Since the Zelda character is a gigantic barrier between me and immersion - I don't think voice acting would change anything for the worse.

I doubt most people would prefer no voice acting for these reasons - but I'm sure a minority might.

Of course, you could respond, "Well, that's Mario and such. Of course those games don't need dialogue to be immersive." However, that's exactly my point. If you have a game that is openly emulating movies, with a linear storyline, a strong emphasis on narrative and the like, then voice acting might be appropriate. However, that doesn't mean it's always necessary or even positive. Simply put: games aren't movies, so not all games will be improved by the same things that improve movies.
I've been talking about dialogue delivery all along. For dialogue delivery - I think voice acting is the majority preference in all but the most rare of cases. Of course, all voice acting is about dialogue delivery - but in a platform game, there doesn't tend to be much dialogue at all and that's why voice acting is of minimal importance. It might still enhance the experience a little bit - but it wouldn't be very important.

You could argue that, at the least, RPGs might gain more from voice acting than other genres, but, again, it depends on the type of RPG. A Bioware-esque RPG might gain from it, but a game that focuses on being dynamic or claustrophobic or incredibly large and varied may not. Sometimes, the introduction of voice acting might be preferable, but, as you implicitly note, it might take too much budget for the good it does. However, since voice acting necessarily imposes more of a structure on a game than text, voice acting may actually be a -bad- thing for RPGs hoping to emphasis dynamic or procedurally generated content. It all depends on what you're looking for and what your vision is.
Again, I'm talking about dialogue delivery - not design impact. If the developers have a hard time planning for voice acting when they're designing the dialogue and consequence structure - then they should stay away from it, potentially. But it doesn't change that the actual delivery would be far superior with voice acting.

However, I do appreciate that sometimes it's better if the player character isn't voiced - because it can interfere with roleplaying. But everyone else should be voiced, I think.

For what it's worth, I enjoy plenty of games with voice acting and plenty without it. Avernum 1's newest remake was my most played RPG of 2012 despite having no voice acting and little in the way of graphics. (Let me note here that this was my first Spiderweb game, and I don't exactly have a deep history with indie or hardcore PC RPGs. This was a very pleasant surprise!) However, recent games like Dragon Age Origins, Skyrim, and Fallout New Vegas are also personal favorites.
No one has clamed that voice acting is required for enjoyment. It's just that it's superior for dialogue delivery. Bad voice acting can ruin the experience, sure, but so can poor writing. Quality of any feature should always be as good as it can be.

As in the previous discussion about Dark Souls, I think designers should focus on the essence of a game rather than checking boxes off on the cover. Use voice acting when it makes sense, but don't waste the resources or limit a game's dynamism when it doesn't.
I agree - but I also think Dark Souls works better with voice acting than it would have done without it.
Last edited by DArtagnan; December 30th, 2012 at 19:50.
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