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If full voice-over is not within budget

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@Quillon, the game is ultra high fantasy. Given that, I believe the dialogues are very good.

Sounds very much like "oh, you know, it's a comic book" or "it's a kid's movie" excuse.

 

Yeah, I agree. That said I do think the dialogue was in general very good - the only issue I really had with it was a tendency at times to overexpose (see the end of the Skaen quest or the final meetings with Iovara and Thaos as examples), but I believe they are already aware of this and are looking into this matter for Deadfire.


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Currently playing: Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

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@Quillon, the game is ultra high fantasy. Given that, I believe the dialogues are very good.

Sounds very much like "oh, you know, it's a comic book" or "it's a kid's movie" excuse.

Yeah, I agree. That said I do think the dialogue was in general very good - the only issue I really had with it was a tendency at times to overexpose (see the end of the Skaen quest or the final meetings with Iovara and Thaos as examples), but I believe they are already aware of this and are looking into this matter for Deadfire.

Yes... well we're talking about Divinity:-D


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The thing that shocked me with DOS 2, because i hadnt looked at any playthroughs and read any info, was my characters own voice. I thought the game was messed up at first when I talked with the first npc and i didnt have any dialogue just what seemed to be placeholders. Dont love that but the game seems fun so far. I dont actually care if the game is fully voiced and if like others have said the options suffer or dialogue suffer because of voice acting i dont love it. I am sure POE2 will be fine though they are already promising more voice acting so im good.

Edited by draego

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The thing that shocked me with DOS 2, because i hadnt looked at any playthroughs and read any info, was my characters own voice. I thought the game was messed up at first when I talked with the first npc and i didnt have any dialogue just what seemed to be placeholders. Dont love that but the game seems fun so far. I dont actually care if the game is fully voiced and if like others have said the options suffer or dialogue suffer because of voice acting i dont love it. I am sure POE2 will be fine though they are already promising more voice acting so im good.

I am pretty sure Divinity: OS2 is filled with choices. I didn't play it myself, but from I have heard it very much seems so. However, I found the following excerpt from "Rock Paper Shotgun's"  interesting considering the discussion. Also apparently writing in D:OS2 is good, which is a welcome surprise after kinda funny, but mostly cringy D:OS:

 

"John: Imagine knowing someone else and having enough overlapping time. Imagine such a world.

 

I need to share the strangeness of voices being added in this released version. The alpha had just text, which was odd at the very start, but then settled in to normality for me – indeed, even your Pillars and the like are only sporadically spoken. But now everything and everyone has a voice, and because I’ve already met them, THEY’VE ALL GOT THE WRONG VOICES. It’s such an odd experience, like watching a film of a book you read and their matching nothing of how you’d imagined it.

Adam: I’ll turn off the voices. I’ll take out my headphones and unplug the speakers if I have to. If voice acting isn’t absolutely top notch I’d rather go without it, and I have very exacting standards. And it’s not even just about quality, as you say, it’s that I already know a lot of these characters.

But there’s another level as well: the writing is brilliant. It’s witty and it’s clever and occasionally it’s even quite moving as you come to the end of some of the major plotlines that have their hooks deep into characters you’ve come to care about. But so much of that writing feels like it was constructed to be read from a page (or screen) rather than performed.

John: Yeah, it’s very pleasant to read, in a way RPGs really usually are not. It’s not turgid purple prose lore guff nonsense, but pleasing writing. I think it’s a bit less pleasing to listen to. Which isn’t a slight at (most of) the voice actors (the person who did the little girl elf’s voice can maybe not do that again please), but more that – I dunno – I don’t think I’d even consider switching it off if I hadn’t played the alpha. Still, clicking past it as I read right now."


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The thing that shocked me with DOS 2, because i hadnt looked at any playthroughs and read any info, was my characters own voice. I thought the game was messed up at first when I talked with the first npc and i didnt have any dialogue just what seemed to be placeholders. Dont love that but the game seems fun so far. I dont actually care if the game is fully voiced and if like others have said the options suffer or dialogue suffer because of voice acting i dont love it. I am sure POE2 will be fine though they are already promising more voice acting so im good.

I am pretty sure Divinity: OS2 is filled with choices. I didn't play it myself, but from I have heard it very much seems so. However, I found the following excerpt from "Rock Paper Shotgun's"  interesting considering the discussion. Also apparently writing in D:OS2 is good, which is a welcome surprise after kinda funny, but mostly cringy D:OS:

 

Ye there are lots of choices. I was referring to the way your choices are presented. They are trying something different within the dialogue options at least to me in games like this. When you talk to the npcs your choices describe what you are saying not what you are actually saying. it was just odd when i first played. 

 

20170912210103_1-100735733-orig.jpg

Edited by draego

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This would be a catastrophe. While I'm sure the OP and some others will appreciate it, there will be a torrent of complaints and criticism about the "terrible voice acting". Most people just won't understand that here's this part of the product which is of awful quality because it wouldn't be there at all otherwise but some people wanted the awful quality option. They could try and have a pretty competent but not celebrity/actor VO do it, but then the difference in costs starts diminishing.

Yes, and this is the main problem with my suggestion. No company wants to add a feature to their game that could be percieved as 'bad' and not up to par with the rest of the product. And there's no good way to explain it to all the players why it's there.

One possible solution to this would be to make it an option that you have to switch on manually from the settings panel or if that's not enough - make it into a small patch addon that you have on your website, and anyone who wants the feature can just download it for himself.

All in all it is kind of a big risk on their part and it's understandable if they don't want to do it. And I'm sure there will be more/ better voice acting in the second game. But it is worth considering that all the people who put down the game, because - "there was too much reading for me", if you can bring back 10-20% of those people with this optional thing, then I call that a win.

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The thing that shocked me with DOS 2, because i hadnt looked at any playthroughs and read any info, was my characters own voice. I thought the game was messed up at first when I talked with the first npc and i didnt have any dialogue just what seemed to be placeholders. Dont love that but the game seems fun so far. I dont actually care if the game is fully voiced and if like others have said the options suffer or dialogue suffer because of voice acting i dont love it. I am sure POE2 will be fine though they are already promising more voice acting so im good.

 

I am pretty sure Divinity: OS2 is filled with choices. I didn't play it myself, but from I have heard it very much seems so. However, I found the following excerpt from "Rock Paper Shotgun's"  interesting considering the discussion. Also apparently writing in D:OS2 is good, which is a welcome surprise after kinda funny, but mostly cringy D:OS:

 

Ye there are lots of choices. I was referring to the way your choices are presented. They are trying something different within the dialogue options at least to me in games like this. When you talk to the npcs your choices describe what you are saying not what you are actually saying. it was just odd when i first played. 

 

20170912210103_1-100735733-orig.jpg

That's... interesting. I am not sure how I feel about it, but it might have its benefits. Reminds me of the choose your own adventure parts from PoE.


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The thing that shocked me with DOS 2, because i hadnt looked at any playthroughs and read any info, was my characters own voice. I thought the game was messed up at first when I talked with the first npc and i didnt have any dialogue just what seemed to be placeholders. Dont love that but the game seems fun so far. I dont actually care if the game is fully voiced and if like others have said the options suffer or dialogue suffer because of voice acting i dont love it. I am sure POE2 will be fine though they are already promising more voice acting so im good.

I am pretty sure Divinity: OS2 is filled with choices. I didn't play it myself, but from I have heard it very much seems so. However, I found the following excerpt from "Rock Paper Shotgun's"  interesting considering the discussion. Also apparently writing in D:OS2 is good, which is a welcome surprise after kinda funny, but mostly cringy D:OS:
 

Ye there are lots of choices. I was referring to the way your choices are presented. They are trying something different within the dialogue options at least to me in games like this. When you talk to the npcs your choices describe what you are saying not what you are actually saying. it was just odd when i first played. 

 

20170912210103_1-100735733-orig.jpg

That's... interesting. I am not sure how I feel about it, but it might have its benefits. Reminds me of the choose your own adventure parts from PoE.

 

Again, all this is to support the co-op and pen and paper/DM mode styles/options of the game without alienating the majority of single-players. It was weird when I first saw it too, but if you see the description is almost a straight line you could say.

When you play with friend(s) you may add some roleplay into thet. That kind of descriptive answers help. I'm OK with that.

 

Also, when I was saying about the setting being ultra high fantasy in conbination with the writing, I meant the subjects you're experienceing/talking in the game. In the context of talkig about who's gonna ascend as the next Divine, the writing and dialogues are very very good imo although it doesen't mean it's not dealing with more realistic/grounded subjects.

 

DOS 2 tries stuff, new stuff, different stuff, interesting stuff. In terms of aethetics and feel it is more like a "grounded" Warcraft, like Pillars is like a "grounded" D&D. It is open-world/sandbox and a completely different experience that Pillars and it should't be copared to it imo. DOS 2 has all rpg elemnets that rpg players love and that's a fact. Now, if the story, aesthetics, voices and way of writing isn't of personal prefernce of someone, this is a totally different subject - the important thing is it ticks all rpg boxes and I'd recomend it to any gamer who cares more about these.

Edited by Sedrefilos
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Playing DOS 2 right now. I like the writing AND the voice over. Actors are very good imo, even if they are few. Great job by Larian, better that Obs did in Pillars. The voiced narrator can get old fast BUT there is an option for muting him as muting voice-over and ambient voices too (all in different sliders). So if you don't like 'em, you just don't hear them. That means Larian put the effort to fully voice the game AND gave the option to those who don't like not to listen to it. Win-win.

 

@Tigranes, it is only a disaster if they make it one. Options/sliders for muting voice solves the problem for those who think only celebrity actors are worthy for voice acting.

 

@Quillon, the game is ultra high fantasy. Given that, I believe the dialogues are very good.

 

It's a win win if you can afford it, maybe, though I'd be genuinely interested to see how many people consider the trainwreck VA of the narrator added value. Larian have quite clearly squeezed every penny they have (and don't have) and risked the whole company, banking on bringing in the kinds of gamers for whom stuff like full voice acting is a dealbreaker. I hope they succeed, and I'm glad I can turn off the absolutely awful narrator, but that's not a "win-win situation" as if there are no costs or risks involved and that everybody should do it as a matter of course.

Edited by Tigranes
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Playing DOS 2 right now. I like the writing AND the voice over. Actors are very good imo, even if they are few. Great job by Larian, better that Obs did in Pillars. The voiced narrator can get old fast BUT there is an option for muting him as muting voice-over and ambient voices too (all in different sliders). So if you don't like 'em, you just don't hear them. That means Larian put the effort to fully voice the game AND gave the option to those who don't like not to listen to it. Win-win.

 

@Tigranes, it is only a disaster if they make it one. Options/sliders for muting voice solves the problem for those who think only celebrity actors are worthy for voice acting.

 

@Quillon, the game is ultra high fantasy. Given that, I believe the dialogues are very good.

 

It's a win win if you can afford it, maybe, though I'd be genuinely interested to see how many people consider the trainwreck VA of the narrator added value. Larian have quite clearly squeezed every penny they have (and don't have) and risked the whole company, banking on bringing in the kinds of gamers for whom stuff like full voice acting is a dealbreaker. I hope they succeed, and I'm glad I can turn off the absolutely awful narrator, but that's not a "win-win situation" as if there are no costs or risks involved and that everybody should do it as a matter of course.

 

Unless you are Larian's finance manager I don't see how you can be so sure that they squeezed every penny they have. "Clearly" so! No one knows and no one should care unless they've invested money in the company somehow. What we should care about as players is the final product, and the final product is, imho, very good. As I said, if one's problem is the voiced narrartor or the voiced characters in genereal , they can very easily be muted. If one cares about the game being voiced, like I am, I don't think they'll be dissapointed at all.

 

What I mostly see, tbh, in this forum, is people being against VO because. There are, clearly, solutions to that and the budget-expert talks by fans are pure speculations if not just self-assurance that thank God our precious game won't be voiced.

 

Personal opinion, the voices of DOS 2 are way better than Pillars' - still I wouldn't have muted Pillars even if there was an option; I like voice in games where there can be - it makes their world more alive for me.

Edited by Sedrefilos
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Playing DOS 2 right now. I like the writing AND the voice over. Actors are very good imo, even if they are few. Great job by Larian, better that Obs did in Pillars. The voiced narrator can get old fast BUT there is an option for muting him as muting voice-over and ambient voices too (all in different sliders). So if you don't like 'em, you just don't hear them. That means Larian put the effort to fully voice the game AND gave the option to those who don't like not to listen to it. Win-win.

 

@Tigranes, it is only a disaster if they make it one. Options/sliders for muting voice solves the problem for those who think only celebrity actors are worthy for voice acting.

 

@Quillon, the game is ultra high fantasy. Given that, I believe the dialogues are very good.

 

It's a win win if you can afford it, maybe, though I'd be genuinely interested to see how many people consider the trainwreck VA of the narrator added value. Larian have quite clearly squeezed every penny they have (and don't have) and risked the whole company, banking on bringing in the kinds of gamers for whom stuff like full voice acting is a dealbreaker. I hope they succeed, and I'm glad I can turn off the absolutely awful narrator, but that's not a "win-win situation" as if there are no costs or risks involved and that everybody should do it as a matter of course.

 

Unless you are Larian's finance manager I don't see how you can be so sure that they squeezed every penny they have. "Clearly" so! No one knows and no one should care unless they've invested money in the company somehow. What we should care about as players is the final product, and the final product is, imho, very good. As I said, if one's problem is the voiced narrartor or the voiced characters in genereal , they can very easily be muted. If one cares about the game being voiced, like I am, I don't think they'll be dissapointed at all.

 

What I mostly see, tbh, in this forum, is people being against VO because. There are, clearly, solutions to that and the budget-expert talks by fans are pure speculations if not just self-assurance that thank God our precious game won't be voiced.

 

Personal opinion, the voices of DOS 2 are way better than Pillars' - still I wouldn't have muted Pillars even if there was an option; I like voice in games where there can be - it makes their world more alive for me.

 

 

My issue with "full voice acting" RPG is that when companies started to do that (KOTOR forward) they started to invest into polish and presentation rather than what I really enjoy in RPGs. Of course, if its possible to fully voice a game, and still focus on reactivity and good storytelling without worring to much about word count  I am for it. It is not that I am against full VO, but I am for a more nuanced game and I would prefer if Obsidian would focus on that. If they nail that, and game is successful enough, sure expand the fluff for the next game (or even Deadfire if they feel up to it.)

 

Sadly to me D:OS isn't an example of good full VO in a complex RPG. I loved that game, but as far as writing and voiceacting go I can't recall a single character. There was this old mayor, whom I asked about local sect, and he got embarassed because he thought I am asking him about sex. ha. ha. ha. hilarious... that's about it of top of my head. Completely opposite when it comes to PoE. Of course, it is mostly the case of game focus and design, but I am really surprised you consider D:OS VO as better. Its all matter of the taste of course, unless one of us would be a connoisseur of acting and would have a more objective criticism (...i don't.) 

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To be honest, PoE characters didn't stand out for me because of their voice acting, either. They were more memorable than the D:OS characters because of their writing and story - the voices didn't really affect that. (D:OS2 is a huge improvement on that front, BTW.)

 

In the end, I'm really quite conflicted about that whole concept.

Good voice acting can do wonders to bring a character to life. Sheogorath wouldn't be half as crazy if it weren't for the voice actor hamming it up to eleven. And concentrating on only a few voiced lines, not full voiceover, leads to that somewhat random assortment of voiced and non-voiced dialogues that can be a bit jarring. (Most obviously in PoE with the unvoiced narration in between voiced dialogue. That was weird.)

On the other hand, not all voice acting is going to be good. And in those cases, when the voiceover doesn't really contribute to the experience, I'd rather just read the text. And if I'm reading, voiceover is a real distraction. I read a lot faster than the guy talking, so I either impatiently follow his pace, or try to ignore him and shut him up mid-sentence by clicking on. Both don't help the mood of a situation.

Also, voice acting is expensive. A situation like D:OS2 - written for half-voiced but then expanded to fully voiced - is really super-rare. Usually, voice acting will reduce the amount of text in a game, and that tends to be not a good thing. (Provided the writing doesn't suck.)

 

Oh, and voice acting for long narrations like in-game books or long-winded intro dumps is bad, period. :D

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I just made a thought: apparently being a native english speaker makes a big difference in english voice acting. If your native language is english, you can easily skip faster through text and don't mind the voice, especially if it doeasn't say much to you. For me, a not english native speaker, it helps more when it comes to massive lines of reading.
Also (I'm not sure about that but that's what I made from reading through this forum), depending of one's origin (British or American), voice preferences differ a lot (?) :)

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So since I've been playing Divinity Original Sin 2 I see just how great it can be to have full voice acting, including a narrator. Their voice talent is good too, it isn't sub par stuff.

 

I think full voice acting would make the game much more accessible without compromising at all in the complexity or writing department. Of course I don't know what the word count is of Deadfire compared to DOS 2, maybe it is large enough to make the difference, maybe the budgets and expected sales of the two are just that different.

 

I know if I could choose I would prefer full voice acting.

 

 

 

My issue with "full voice acting" RPG is that when companies started to do that (KOTOR forward) they started to invest into polish and presentation rather than what I really enjoy in RPGs. Of course, if its possible to fully voice a game, and still focus on reactivity and good storytelling without worring to much about word count  I am for it. It is not that I am against full VO, but I am for a more nuanced game and I would prefer if Obsidian would focus on that. If they nail that, and game is successful enough, sure expand the fluff for the next game (or even Deadfire if they feel up to it.)

Sadly to me D:OS isn't an example of good full VO in a complex RPG. I loved that game, but as far as writing and voiceacting go I can't recall a single character. There was this old mayor, whom I asked about local sect, and he got embarassed because he thought I am asking him about sex. ha. ha. ha. hilarious... that's about it of top of my head. Completely opposite when it comes to PoE. Of course, it is mostly the case of game focus and design, but I am really surprised you consider D:OS VO as better. Its all matter of the taste of course, unless one of us would be a connoisseur of acting and would have a more objective criticism (...i don't.) 

 

 

I hear you on DOS's VO. Have you played DOS 2 yet? The VO and characters are significantly better.

Edited by Mygaffer
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Playing DOS 2 right now. I like the writing AND the voice over. Actors are very good imo, even if they are few. Great job by Larian, better that Obs did in Pillars. The voiced narrator can get old fast BUT there is an option for muting him as muting voice-over and ambient voices too (all in different sliders). So if you don't like 'em, you just don't hear them. That means Larian put the effort to fully voice the game AND gave the option to those who don't like not to listen to it. Win-win.

 

@Tigranes, it is only a disaster if they make it one. Options/sliders for muting voice solves the problem for those who think only celebrity actors are worthy for voice acting.

 

@Quillon, the game is ultra high fantasy. Given that, I believe the dialogues are very good.

 

It's a win win if you can afford it, maybe, though I'd be genuinely interested to see how many people consider the trainwreck VA of the narrator added value. Larian have quite clearly squeezed every penny they have (and don't have) and risked the whole company, banking on bringing in the kinds of gamers for whom stuff like full voice acting is a dealbreaker. I hope they succeed, and I'm glad I can turn off the absolutely awful narrator, but that's not a "win-win situation" as if there are no costs or risks involved and that everybody should do it as a matter of course.

 

Unless you are Larian's finance manager I don't see how you can be so sure that they squeezed every penny they have. "Clearly" so! No one knows and no one should care unless they've invested money in the company somehow. What we should care about as players is the final product, and the final product is, imho, very good. As I said, if one's problem is the voiced narrartor or the voiced characters in genereal , they can very easily be muted. If one cares about the game being voiced, like I am, I don't think they'll be dissapointed at all.

 

What I mostly see, tbh, in this forum, is people being against VO because. There are, clearly, solutions to that and the budget-expert talks by fans are pure speculations if not just self-assurance that thank God our precious game won't be voiced.

 

Personal opinion, the voices of DOS 2 are way better than Pillars' - still I wouldn't have muted Pillars even if there was an option; I like voice in games where there can be - it makes their world more alive for me.

 

 

I care about companies like Obsidian and Larian, and it's not your place to tell me I shouldn't care, is it? That said, if you're talking about the consumers enjoying the best product they possibly can, I personally don't think voice acting adds value to 90% of games and I think any form of resources or priorities spent on it are better spent elsewhere. 

 

If you think people are "just" against VO then (1) you haven't been reading their arguments, and (2) you think somebody wakes up one day with some random hatred of VOs. It has been very well documented by many devs how costly VO is; how hard it is to get it to acceptable quality; and how, if not in all games, then in many RPGs over the years, it constrains the word count and prevents writers from having enough editing rounds. (You see one funny consequence of this in DS3's opening, which was voice recorded and then it was too expensive to redo VA when they wanted to change the script, so they ended up with a subpar script that still fitted the new storyline but ended up repeating "JEANNE KASSYNDER" (or whatever the name was) like 18 times in this spliced dialogue.) It also sets up additional barriers for lower budget / indie games to reach what many players demand as acceptable polish. I and some people also just prefer not having VA unless it really works well with the rest of the presentation and it is done really well. 

 

There are many reasons that rational consumers have developed their opinions about VO, many of which are well grounded in industry realities or their own preferences. I can't help you if you insist that I can't care about certain things to qualify as a rational consumer, or that facts about how VO impact development well documented (no, I'm not going to look it all up and give you citations) must be pure speculation, or whatever. I respect your right to your opinion, of course, about your own preference for VO.

 

DOS2, from a couple hours play, seems to have decent VO, everything except the awful narrator seems pretty OK. Nothing memorable or quality but nothing poor that detracts from the experience.

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Unless you are Larian's finance manager I don't see how you can be so sure that they squeezed every penny they have. "Clearly" so! No one knows and no one should care unless they've invested money in the company somehow. What we should care about as players is the final product, and the final product is, imho, very good. As I said, if one's problem is the voiced narrartor or the voiced characters in genereal , they can very easily be muted. If one cares about the game being voiced, like I am, I don't think they'll be dissapointed at all.

 

What I mostly see, tbh, in this forum, is people being against VO because. There are, clearly, solutions to that and the budget-expert talks by fans are pure speculations if not just self-assurance that thank God our precious game won't be voiced.

 

Personal opinion, the voices of DOS 2 are way better than Pillars' - still I wouldn't have muted Pillars even if there was an option; I like voice in games where there can be - it makes their world more alive for me.

 

 

I always find it a little annoying when people make pronouncements about what a developer has or hasn't done, how much something costs, what is possible and isn't possible in a given game, etc. If someone is an experienced developer they may be able to make some educated guesses, but unless you are in a position within a dev team to really know chances are a lot of the ideas a given end user may have are wrong, sometimes comically so.

 

That being said Swen Vincke talked about some of the stuff they did to fund the first Divinity game, and they did put all their money into it from the Kickstarter, from the money raised through a company they created to hold and license their IP that investors could then invest in, with their IP as collateral, and when they felt they needed even more money to make the game as complete and polished as they felt it should be they did Early Access and put that money into the game as well. So at least according to Swen for the DOS 1 they put all available funds they could into the game.

 

What I find interesting is that after launch when the game was received well and sold well they decided to make further improvements and release on console with the "Enhanced Edition." What did they do? Well one of the things they did was add full, high quality voice acting. They added controller support for the console version and the PC. They expanded the game, adding new quests, areas, characters, and reworking some existing dialogue. They added new gameplay features, new game modes, and general polish improvements to the entire game.

 

They did that for a game that they had already released and had already seen most of the sales it was going to. Of course the console sales would hopefully pay for this and then some but they probably could have gotten away with doing less. Swen's talk is very interesting and I think a lot of people here would be interested in it.

 

 

Looking at the sales numbers (which is always really tricky for us end users with no access to hard sales data) it would seem all of that paid off for Larian. I'll be using the best tools I have but I can never know exactly how accurate this information is.

 

SteamSpy shows roughly 1.5 million owners. That sounds accurate, as in 2014 three months after DOS "Classic" was released but well before the enhanced edition, Swen Vincke said the following:

 

 

“It has sold well over half a million units by now, mostly from Steam, with 10% from retail,” said Vincke. “Break even has been reached, our debts have been paid, and we are now in the profitable zone.

“While not all of the money is for us as we had private investors on board, the game did sufficiently well for us to envision funding our next endeavors with it, meaning we’re pretty happy about its performance.”

I don't know what their average unit price was and frankly I don't think I have even enough info to guess. If I was to throw out something wild I might say $20 average unit price, meaning gross revenue would be around $30m from all PC sales digital+retail of the base game and EE. That's a tidy sum even if you are giving half the profits to investors.

 

Console numbers are again difficult to find. If I look at VGChartz I get ~410,000 units, but I have heard that VGChartz is not that reliable and does not track digital sales, a problem today when I'm sure plenty of people on console bought the game as a digital download. I've read other reports that it sold closer to 900k on console but there was no attribution to that number. Let's be what I feel is conservative (but again, I have no idea) and say 500k units at an average unit price of $20. Now you are looking at another $10 million in revenue.

 

Of course platform holders take their cut and investors take their returns, but to me it seems like a pretty good return. They leveraged everything they could, including crowdfunding money, investor's money with IP as collateral, they repacked their older games and resold them for more revenue there, then Early Access for even more money to continue getting the game to the point they thought it needed to be to be a quality release. And you know what? It was their highest rated game, both critically and by users, in their history, though I have a feeling DOS 2 will edge it out now.

 

Pillars didn't move quite as many copies on PC I believe and I'm not sure how many units they'll move on the consoles. But I think Larian and Swen really showed that investing the time and money into your game to make it as good as you possibly can does pay off. At launch "as good as you possibly can" didn't include full voice acting, but after launch when the game was successful and well received and they decided to release on consoles they decided that full VO now was part of "as good as you possibly can." I believe their word count is significantly less than POE's, so I'm not saying this is necessarily something Obsidian can do with Deadfire.

 

One point Swen makes in his talk about this is that by giving extra to your community, like making all the enhanced edition improvements free to people who already owned the game, or releasing free DLC like the Bairdotr and Wolgraff characters, you really go a long way towards building loyalty and trust in your community.

 

This really went off on a tangent but I find this kind of stuff almost as interesting as the games themselves.

Edited by Mygaffer
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It's not as if Obsidian abandoned PoE after initial release. Though none of the free updates were as significant as EE for D:OS they did improve their base game over time.

 

It's really heartwarming to see devs care so much for their product. D:OS approach reminds me of early Project Red with their EE update for original Witcher. Being commited to leaving good game behind, instead of maximising profit can came back to you.

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It's not as if Obsidian abandoned PoE after initial release. Though none of the free updates were as significant as EE for D:OS they did improve their base game over time.

 

It's really heartwarming to see devs care so much for their product. D:OS approach reminds me of early Project Red with their EE update for original Witcher. Being commited to leaving good game behind, instead of maximising profit can came back to you.

Definitely. I hope no one read my last post about Larian's handling of DOS to imply anything negative about Obsidian's handling of Pillars, I think Obsidian has done a good job communicating with the community and doing post release support.

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They went for EE that way because (1) a major part of it was about building up a console userbase and expanding beyond their already excellent sales, allowing DOS2 to be significantly bigger budget and bigger dev team - which seems to be paying off; (2) they knew that things like really good controller support and full voice acting is really key to drawing in a lot of console players, non-hardcore RPG players, etc.

 

It's well known that Larian set up new international offices and ballooned to over a hundred employees across multiple nations - usually a recipe for production nightmare and huge costs - as they went from DOS1 to 2. Seems like they made it work, though.

 

It's also well known over the years that Swen is a risktaker, he believes in investing ambitiously to a degree that he himself has noted can look ludicrous, partly because he really believes in a big fat RPG that he's wnated to make ever since he started the company, and for various reasons (e.g. publisher demands on Divinity 2's direction, funding) was difficult to do until DOS1/2. 

 

None of this requires conspiratorial thinking or making stuff up - the various costs and difficulties with VO are well documented in, say, Obsid and Bio devs' comments on it over the years, and Swen has in various big retrospectives talked candidly about not only spending every penny for DOS1 but his vision of installing a solid playerbase to allow them to not only go independent but then have the resources to make big fat RPGs like DOS2, and how things like console EE release and full voice acting fits into that strategy.

 

We're all very happy, I think, that Larian's do or die strategy with DOS1 worked out - and while we can't speculate about how much DOS2 exactly cost and what they'll need to sell, at least it seems like it's selling bloody well.

Edited by Tigranes
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I believe The Witcher EE was also being done in part for a console port which never surfaced. The Witcher 2 EE was definitely done for the console port. By 3 they decided to wrap EE into expansions which included too much content to be for free, (my god they are like 15-20 hours a piece!)

 

But PC developers do have a lot to gain by getting on console, and it's a nice chance for goodwill and improving their game logic. Which certainly will be used going forward anyways.

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But PC developers do have a lot to gain by getting on console, and it's a nice chance for goodwill and improving their game logic. Which certainly will be used going forward anyways.

PC developers also have a lot to lose by getting on console if started out branding their game PC centric (explicitly or implicitly). The PC audience has already bought into the title, and if they feel that the developer has begun to cater to the console market and their sensibilities, a backlash becomes likely.

 

I don't see this happening with PoE however, not as long as Josh Sawyer is as heavily involved as he currently is:

 

It's extremely rare that anyone brings up non-PC interface questions like, "How would this work on a tablet?" or "How would this work on a console?" and my answer is always, "I don't know or care."

 

If we develop a game that's intended to be cross-platform, I have no problem entertaining those questions, but Pillars and Deadfire are both being developed for Windows/Mac/Linux, and that's it. I am not willing to compromise any aspect of the game's design for the possibility that maybe someday someone will want to put it on another platform.

Source: Josh Sawyer, The Something Awful forums.

 

As for full voice acting, I think that the keep in PoE1 proved that if you do something, you should do it well or not at all. To this day, the keep is still being brought up as a strike against the game.

 

I feel that you should either hire professionals to do voice work, or don't voice that bit. I have yet to find a case where speech synthesis has been done truly well, and I would be against using a cheap third-rate narrator for the bulk of the text, even if it was an option you had to toggle on.

Edited by Night Stalker
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I really, really hate full voice over. Three reasons:

 

1) I can read much much faster than conversation speed. For example, in Mass Effect Andromada I was bored to tears listening to characters talk endlessly about thier dull backgrounds, in the hope of learning a smidgin of plot-relevent information.

 

2) Poor voice acting can really put you off characters. In the NWN2 OC I developed a pathalogical hatered of pretty much all the NPCs companions, and I put that down mostly to the voice acting.

 

3) American accents. I'm British, and I'm sorry but I find some American accents extremely grating (especially whiny teen females).

 

 

Now each of these issues could be addressed by outstandingly good writing, outstandingly good voice acting, and British-English VO localisation, but keeping the amount of VO low is a far easier to achieve objective.

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Everyone knows Science Fiction is really cool. You know what PoE really needs? Spaceships! There isn't any game that wouldn't be improved by a space combat minigame. Adding one to PoE would send sales skyrocketing, and ensure the game was remembered for all time!!!!!

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We also have to remember that there's currently a VA strike going on in the entertainment industry. The likes of Jennifer Hale, Tara Strong, and Nolan North are participating in. But if there wasn't, I'm mixed about full voice overs. It should be mandatory that you can skip them, because I too, am a fast reader and can sometimes get annoyed waiting for the VA to catch up. But then there's such good voice acting that resonate sso well with such scenes, that if it was just in text it wouldn't have the same emotional impact. Take Dorian's personal quest in DA:I for example.

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Ok, now playing DOS2; I don't like the voiced narrating, it gets old too fast. And for dialogue...doesn't matter voiced or not if its not interesting, I'm gonna fast forward, which I'm doing more often than not atm.

 

Alright, ima gonna change my opinion once again on this topic :p I got used to the narrating guy, and all the voiced dialogue & not reading. Damn, DOS2 is making me lazier than I was.

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We also have to remember that there's currently a VA strike going on in the entertainment industry. The likes of Jennifer Hale, Tara Strong, and Nolan North are participating in. But if there wasn't, I'm mixed about full voice overs. It should be mandatory that you can skip them, because I too, am a fast reader and can sometimes get annoyed waiting for the VA to catch up. But then there's such good voice acting that resonate sso well with such scenes, that if it was just in text it wouldn't have the same emotional impact. Take Dorian's personal quest in DA:I for example.

The VA strike looks to be resolved now.

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