So... if CD Projekt can do it..what is everyone else's excuse?

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So... if CD Projekt can do it..what is everyone else's excuse?

Postby dragon wench » Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:44 am

I'm actually quite ambivalent about the advent of voice-acting, and I think it is, at best, a mixed blessing. Typically, it's expensive and sucks up resources, and it can also complicate the creation of player-made modifications.

However, I've recently replayed Witcher 1 (the Enhanced Edition), and now I'm playing Witcher 2. One thing I've observed about the Witcher series, the latter game in particular, is that the voice-acting is superbly done. And that is just what I've noticed in the English version; they've also published the game in multiple languages!

Now..CD Projekt is a relatively small company, especially when compared to the likes of Bethesda et al. If they can manage to produce games that are not only well-voiced but are also well-written with an engaging story, interesting NPCs, and beautiful visuals.... then why does the voicing in games from much wealthier companies typically range from lacklustre to appalling? For example, excepting Sheogorath in SI, voice-acting in Oblivion was horrible, and while it has been improved in Skyrim, it still isn't all that great.
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Postby Lemmus » Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:56 am

In general I agree with your sentiment, I don't see why more games cannot do things well, although personally I think voice-acting is often taken too far. This is especially true if the PC is voiced, unless they are a pre-created character like in the Witcher or Two Worlds. Any time you create your character, having a voice bugs me.

As to your actual question, though, I think that the big answer has to do with where the game is made. I'm not entirely sure about voice-acting, but I know a bit about the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) with respect to film/ TV actors in the U.S. SAG really is a guild in the bad, old sense; to join, you must pay dues, must pay a percentage of earnings, must have already been in a production, and you must be in SAG to be in a production or the owner pays a fine. If those last two sound contradictory, there's a reason for that. It means that if a director/ producer wants to use someone new, they pay a fine to SAG, then that person has to join SAG (because they are now a working actor).

If all of these rules apply to voice acting as well, and I suspect that they do, that means that voice acting in the U.S. is very expensive to do at all, let alone to do well. Each and every actor has a separate contract, there are agent and guild fees, there are guild rules governing the production, and so on. Any game company based in the U.S. will have to follow all of these rules.

CD Projekt Red, on the other hand, is a Polish company. While they probably still have rules regarding voice acting, they will be a different set of rules. There's a reasonable chance that they can hire actors a lot cheaper and pay them on scale (ie. hourly or daily wage), or have a standard contract. This would make voice acting much more affordable, and thus more available to projects with a smaller budget.

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Postby DaveO » Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:33 pm

People do skip the voice acting parts, regardless of how well it is done.
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Postby GawainBS » Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:30 am

Personally, I don't care about voice acting at all. It's one of the reasons games tend to be simplified, since it detracts a LOT of money from other aspects. In the vast majority of the cases, it doesn't really add much to the game anyway. It's rather one of those things you have to do to be taken serious.
As mentioned by others: imagining your own character's voice is part of playing your own character.

Then again, I grew up on SNES RPGs. ;)