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Default Expeditions: Rome - Dev Diary #1

May 11th, 2021, 01:40
The first dev diary for Expeditions: Rome explains the games vision.

DevDiary 1 - Game & Vision

Expeditions: Rome is a single player Turn-Based Tactical Role Playing Game set during the Roman Republic era roughly between 100BC and 40 BC, around the time when Rome was slowly starting to turn into an empire. At its core, Rome is an RPG, where you play the role of either the son or daughter of a patrician family, leading your Praetorians and Legions in battle across multiple regions while navigating the intricacies of Roman politics.



This leads us to our first vision statement. With Rome, we want to create an immersive, story-rich RPG with player driven choices. Right out the gate, you can choose to play either a male or female hero, and that choice has a major impact on how the story unfolds. That is just the first of many decisions you'll make, many of which can alter how your missions unfold, what types of quests you can take, and much much more. For anyone who's played previous games in the Expeditions franchise, you'll have some taste of what we're talking about here, but for Rome, we've really aimed to take the impact of choices to the next level. Expect to hear much more about this in upcoming DevDiaries.

We also wanted to bring an even more immersive experience when it comes to how we tell our story, and a big part of that was going for a fully voiced experience this time around. We can't even tell you how much time and care went into casting each character and making sure we can get the best performances we can, but we think you'll be excited about the outcome.

Our next major vision statement is about our turn-based combat. We feel we've learned a lot from our previous games. With Rome, we really focused on bringing exciting turn-based combat with a wide range of tactical options, driven by loot and character growth. There's way more variety in the weapon and class based skills this time around, not to mention a wider selection of items to use. We've also gone through countless iterations on the core combat system and encounter design with a focus on keeping combat fresh as the game progresses. And wait till you hear about our epic Siege missions, which we'll talk about later! There are almost limitless options for you to explore as you level up and equip your party to fit various playstyles.



[…]
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May 11th, 2021, 08:32
This sounds very nice. Full voice-acting is one of the things that I find I do miss, when I'm currently playing through "Exp: Vikings". That and perhaps a slightly better ui, for controlling skills & abilities.

I've always wondered a little, why more small studio games don't have full voiceacting.

I mean even if they can't afford to hire professionals, surely simply using suitable voices from their own staff, family members and/or friends who might be thrilled simply with the idea of having their voice "immortalized" and only ask for a symbolic sum in return, would be an option.

Or is it that doing the recording of the voices in a suitable sound studio is too expensive and/or time consuming.
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May 11th, 2021, 12:48
I don't really know but will add my five cents opinion, because internet. Sometimes you can tell voice actors that are not professional because of the dissonance between the expected way a character sounds versus how the voice sounds, because people have certain expectations and the audience can tell what the director is trying to do as the creation of an IP will have particular auditory qualities based on the setting and narrative. Mods to games can show this issue particularly well.

The player has praetorian working for them. At some point the player must interact with the Roman Emperor or someone fairly high in the administration. Or the setting could be during the Republic, where they function as bodyguards to praetors. Actually the article explicitly states the game is set during the Republic. So I guess the player having praetorians does check out. Technically.
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May 11th, 2021, 13:50
Looks similar to vikings which is good for me at least.
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May 11th, 2021, 14:36
Originally Posted by mat9813004 View Post
I don't really know but will add my five cents opinion, because internet. Sometimes you can tell voice actors that are not professional because of the dissonance between the expected way a character sounds versus how the voice sounds, because people have certain expectations and the audience can tell what the director is trying to do as the creation of an IP will have particular auditory qualities based on the setting and narrative. Mods to games can show this issue particularly well.
You may very well be right. I can't really recall ever being severly dissapointed with some specific voiceactor in a game. However, they might have been almost exclusively professionals.

Heh, maybe I'm simply overestimating the general publics ability to watch a movie and then do a decent imitation of some exotic character role, such as a roman emperor or a viking chieftain.
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May 11th, 2021, 17:10
Originally Posted by Feist View Post
I've always wondered a little, why more small studio games don't have full voiceacting.

I mean even if they can't afford to hire professionals, surely simply using suitable voices from their own staff, family members and/or friends who might be thrilled simply with the idea of having their voice "immortalized" and only ask for a symbolic sum in return, would be an option.

Or is it that doing the recording of the voices in a suitable sound studio is too expensive and/or time consuming.
I find people are very harsh critics of bad voice-acting. Some older games (Trokia's come to mind) had the developer's do their own voice acting. While I'm sure that saved them money it's usually very amateurish. I often see the comment "bad voice acting is worse than none".

Considering it is indeed very expensive to rent out a sound studio and hire professional actors, it makes a lot more business sense for smaller studios to have either limited or no voice acting.

The other issue I have heard from developers has to do with iteration. When all of the dialogue in your game is text, you are free to change it at any point in the course of development. So if you get some feedback during beta testing, EA, or even after release and decide that certain dialogue is poorly written, the developer can rewrite it without problems. Or add new dialogues that tie up loose ends.

But if the dialogue is voice acted you're pretty much locked in once it is recorded. It would be even more expensive to send the voice actors back to record new dialogue a second time (and what if the actor isn't even available?) Disco Elysium actually changed at least one of the actresses when they did the "final cut" with full voice acting.

Personally I'd rather indie developers spend their limited funds on additional writers / designers, etc. to make the game better. Even when done well, VA has very limited value to me; perhaps because I'm old enough to have grown up playing games with no or limited VA.
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May 11th, 2021, 17:37
I'm not a fan of funds being wasted on voice acting, yet it won't stop me from enjoying a good game. I'll just have to hope they've subtitles as well. The prior two games were good so I'm hoping this one has the same high exploration and fun factors.
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May 11th, 2021, 17:53
Originally Posted by Feist View Post
This sounds very nice. Full voice-acting is one of the things that I find I do miss, when I'm currently playing through "Exp: Vikings". That and perhaps a slightly better ui, for controlling skills & abilities.

I've always wondered a little, why more small studio games don't have full voiceacting.

I mean even if they can't afford to hire professionals, surely simply using suitable voices from their own staff, family members and/or friends who might be thrilled simply with the idea of having their voice "immortalized" and only ask for a symbolic sum in return, would be an option.

Or is it that doing the recording of the voices in a suitable sound studio is too expensive and/or time consuming.

Funny, I argued for the opposite recently. I feel that full voice acting is often a big waste of money. I would rather have more quests, more contents, than having everything voiced.
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May 11th, 2021, 18:26
Voice acting depends on the game. If you have to read walls of text like the infinity engine RPGs then no just small parts. If you make an RPG like NWN2/DA then yes.
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Last edited by Couchpotato; May 13th, 2021 at 14:37.
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May 11th, 2021, 19:16
I enjoy games with or without voice acting for what they are. There are good and bad games with and without it.

So I leave it to the vision of the developers, what they want to do.
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May 12th, 2021, 03:04
I'm such as sucker for historical games. These devs started out well and then got better. Looking forward to testing the trend with #3.
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May 13th, 2021, 14:32
Just in-case anyone missed the developer twitch stream yesterday.

Link - https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1020122263
Link - https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1020170977
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May 13th, 2021, 17:03
Blackguards I-II has excellent top-notch voice acting. Very fitting and completes the magical atmosphere of the game.

That female chick looks really nice on the first pic! The combat UI and dark 3D map lighting is badly designed: UI is way brighter and anything happening in the game's 3D is hard to make out, if the battlescape is way too dark! :-o WTF are they doing?? On daytime combat areas the same combat UI works of course, because everything is brightly lit.
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May 13th, 2021, 17:15
Man, just reading what Mercy talked about made me hungry to replay at least the first Blackguards game. Not sure if I'd replay the second, yet that first game is sooo good!
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