Why Is Voice Acting in Video Games Still So Bad?

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The Guardian about the problem with voice acting in games.

[A]ccording to David Sobolov, one of the most experienced videogame voice actors in the world (just check out his website), the significant time pressures mean that close, in-depth direction is not always possible. “Often, there’s a need to record a great number of lines, so to keep the session moving, once we’ve established the tone of the character we’re performing, the director will silently direct us using the spreadsheet on the screen by simply moving the cursor down the page to indicate if he/she liked what we did. Or they’ll make up a code, like typing an ‘x’ to ask us to give them another take…” It sounds, in effect, like a sort of acting battery farm, a grinding, dehumanising production line of disembodied phrases, delivered for hours on end. Hardly condusive to Oscar-winning performances. […]

But then there’s an added inhibitive element in the videogame voice recording session – actors usually perform in isolation. This is, of course, a necessary evil as in-game dialogue will need to be chopped up, mixed and played in a variety of contexts. But this isn’t much consolation to the actor. “I’ve only worked on one game where that wasn’t the case,” says Sobolov. “When I played The Arbiter in Halo Wars, they recorded cut scene dialogue with all the principal performers in the same room together much as they do in television animation. Most times we have to silently skip over the other character’s lines (if they’re shown to us at all) then deliver our dialogue as if we were having a conversation in real time.” Again, this runs counter to drama training where the art of reacting to other performers is an intrinsic element.

Seems to be still a field to innovate and improve … all the better for me.

[via Felicia Day]

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