Star War: Knights of the Old Republic - A Voice-acting Triumph

Alex Kane, an Illinois-based journalist, has put together a book of interviews that looks back at the development of BioWare's Star Wars-themed RPG Star War: Knights of the Old Republic. You can pick it up over here. And if you'd like to get a free sample, and in the process learn a thing or two about the game's impressive voice-acting, you should check out this Kotaku article. Here's what you can expect to find there:

The great challenge of recording a BioWare RPG became apparent almost immediately: The game’s structure was, for the most part, nonlinear. Every character, therefore, was given their own unique version of the script, and each actor had to be recorded individually. “The first week that I was in LA, James [Ohlen] was there, and he had his laptop, and every so often we’d get to a point where we weren’t quite sure which way the branching was going,” O’Farrell says. “And he would jump on and dig into the code a little bit, and then we would have a clearer direction.” In later weeks, writer Drew Karpyshyn also assisted with some of the sessions.

“That’s something a lot of the actors were doing for the first time,” Karpyshyn says. “So you really needed someone there to give them an overview of how the branching narrative works, and how the storylines are gonna play out, depending on player choices.”

“It’s probably one of the earliest games where I remember a character being both dark and light,” says Jennifer Hale, who voiced the Jedi Bastila Shan. “You know, having the ability to go in either direction. I remember doing a bunch of recording, and then coming back in for another round of recording, and them saying: ‘Okay, now basically she’s changing sides. She’s completely shifting.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh! Okay. Let’s do that.’”

The game’s many quest lines and relationships could develop in different ways based on what the player chose to say, or depending on which planets they journeyed to first. But the player character’s actions also affected their Force alignment; needless slaughter or malice could put a Jedi on the path to the dark side. Moral or immoral choices didn’t merely change the game’s ending but also altered the way companion characters, like Hale’s, responded to the protagonist.

The character of Bastila speaks with a British accent—“Coruscanti,” in the Star Wars universe. According to Hale, a Canadian-American actor, this is something that comes naturally. “I think in various dialects in my head, but British is definitely one of the primary ones, and that’s always been a part of me. Since I was little, and just in the back of my head—I don’t really know why. I just know it’s there. And I went to a fine-arts high school [where] we studied dialects. I’ve put in my time. I work with coaches every now and then when I need a tune-up.”