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July 9th, 2012, 23:24
From a production standpoint Voice-overs and actor capture both undo what is unique about making games: itteration.

During development you can change alot of dialog. Tweaks to the story, some additional exposition can all be added months before release. With VO voices are recorded a year before release, which means dialog has to have been hammered down well before that.

From a consumer standpoint I just hate some elements of VO for different reasons.
1. It sometimes turns games into a movie.
2. The dialogue choices are cryptic words and as a result the 20 second line the character says is not quite how I had it in my head.
3 Dialog becomes more noticeable, and also it's flaws. (Alot of characters are voiced by the same person or several actors in minor roles like guards have the exact same dialog but obviously with different voices. If it's just text it doesn't matter if the dialog is the same, we read similar sentences all-day. We internally give the dialogue a character or voice.

One of my favorite games is Morrowind.

Morrowind had a wiki-style dialog system. No doubt many hated it, but I loved it. Each villager could tell me about interesting objects in the vicinity, or about the region. If I talked to a trader he could tell me about different types of alcoholic beverages. Any ranger could tell me about the large towns in the neighborhood and mark them on my map or about the different regions. Basically each NPC could talk about things you would expect them to know things about not because a designer has chosen this or that particular NPC to clue you in about a certain thing. The only VO in Morrowind were 3 main characters and a few 'tutorial' characters, racial/classbased/disposition opening dialog and racial/classbased idle talk.

Anyway, I can see that some neat things from Oblivion/Skyrim can't be done because of that in Morrowind; like two villagers talking to each other.

But maybe I'm just an old curmudgeon.
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