[GW] Voice Acting

One significant improvement between the Guild Wars campaigns was the voice acting.

I haven’t heard much of Prophecies yet, but what I have suggests a need for better direction. It was as if they gave the voice actors individual lines to read without telling them what is going on, their motivation, etc. Maybe it improves; I am hitting Prophecies last. Factions was painful, and the subtitles were necessary. The voices themselves were not great, the voice acting and direction were random (not even following the emphasis listed in the subtitles), and then they added effects to the spirits’ voices to make them half-incomprehensible. Maybe there are some tropes of Asian cinema that they are faithfully reproducing, but after starting with how my character sounded in Nightfall, Factions just hurt every time … anyone came on screen.

But Nightfall is good, rather good. I enjoy both the voices and the acting. They are well-fitted to their parts, and not just because General Morgahn comes off as Morgan Freeman. Contrast the effects on the demons in Nightfall with the spirit envoys in Factions to show how to have the effect enhance the voice, not destroy it. Then we get to Eye of the North, and we have a range of good characters (not just Vekk). The quality of the lines in Nightfall was probably higher, but you must love Ogden (voice and lines) during the Norn arc. One simple bit I really liked was Jora, “Blood washes blood.” She says it three times in a short cutscene, but it has a different intonation each time. With the last one, she manages to imply hope, fatalism, and a suggestion that the wisdom of a thousand generations lies behind a three-word phrase.

Also, don’t you just love that scene between General Bayel and The Hunger in Nightfall?

: Zubon

It is much easier to find voice actor lists for shows than games.

9 thoughts on “[GW] Voice Acting”

  1. I’ve been playing SWTOR recently and can not agree more with this.

    Voice acting really brings it in like with singleplayer games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age.

    I was grinding on my 3rd character and sometimes seem to forget to “skip through all the dialogues to save time” just because the magic of voice catches me unguarded, I find myself listening to the same thing multiple times and I’m ok with that.

    Much better with generic quests with lots of “flavor” text and simple “kill 10 rats” in the end(Which I usually read).

  2. I always wanted to play nightfall. Back when I originally played I had the money for one extra campaign. Ended up with factions. I never really cared for factions much and after playing through prophecy, I began to loose interest in the game.

    I feel like if I had gotten Nightfall I might of stayed around longer. Though I do still have the game installed and load up a mission or two from time to time (rarely).

    1. Now there’s a shame, in that there is a Faction platinum edition that comes with Eye of the North, but I’m not spotting any discount on buying Nightfall and Eye. Still, filling out the rest of the game will cost you less than a nice dinner or another MMO’s monthly subscription fees until GW2.

  3. “It was as if they gave the voice actors individual lines to read without telling them what is going on, their motivation, etc.”

    This is exactly the feeling I got when I played the german version at gamescom last year. Not only was the intonation pretty bad, the voice actors even managed to set pauses in the sentences wrong. It was as if they were able to speak the words, but did not have an idea about the language whatsoever.

  4. One of my major pet peeves… Lousy voice acting takes more away from a game than good voice acting adds. Nothing is more jarring and immersion breaking.

    I can deal with insipid dialog but just don’t give it to me in a halting delivery that sounds like a seventh grade rhetoric class.

    My list of A-name offenders off the top of my head: STO, LotRO, and GW.

    A close second is the over-done summer stock quality melodramatic over acting… EQ2, WoW and SWTOR certainly have a few of those moments…

    Is it really that difficult to get voiceover talent or is it a studio vanity thing where they give everyone in the office a part?

  5. Its not hard to find voice talent. They’re all over like at http://voice123 where I work.

    Therein lies an issue. Lots like to believe they can do it or try to save money on it, not realiizing what it adds. And yeah…when its bad….it can kill a good game.

    Although…great voice work doesn’t save a bad game, like duke nukem forever.

    Anyway…no its not hard and very affordable to get good people these days.

    Voice123 community manager

  6. I think you’re seeing the evolution of Arenanet’s experience with voice acting in action here. Prophecies sounded better as I recall back in 2005 when it first came out; 7 years ago it didn’t resonate so poorly with respect to the competition of the day. By Nightfall and then Eye of the North, the last two releases, Areanet was getting better at this stuff.

    1. One of the things about changes is that when the voice acting was actually good, it did not fit the game nor the lip sync, so it looked just as bad as a kung fu flick from the 70’s.

      You cant just have a dry voice. It has to mirror the moment and be in the same intended feel as the user of the game. This is an art and blending artistry and technology isnt always easy.

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