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Dialogue in Obsidian Games

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#41
algroth

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Obsidian voice-over is always mediocre so I don't want voiceover is equal as argument to Obsidian games are buggy and upolished so I don't want polishing and bug fixing.

Obviously, when we talk about a wanted feature, we mean to be included done right not half-arsed.

If they come and tell us "look, we can fully voice the game but it's gonna be crap" I'm gonna say "no VO" too.

Not quite what I'm saying, however: I'm saying that the case with Obsidian in my experience is that the main characters are well performed, but the supporting ones are *poorly* performed, and that in my experience the less VO there's been in Obsidian games, the more focused and better it's been. As Gromnir says above, bad VO has the power of either ruining a character or changing him from an ignorable addition to an outright bad one, and as far as I'm concerned there's no reason *why* to voice them beyond it becoming slowly an industry standard (this is also why the bugs equivalence is false, since bugs and glitches do speak of a negative trait or a problem in the game, whereas the absence of VO does not). If they can do it well, sure, but experience so far suggests otherwise - which is precisely the issue, which is that I don't trust them to do a good job with this aspect based on past experiences. To flip your argument, if we were promised "good VO" and were certain to get it, then I too would be for it without a doubt - thing is, that is hardly a certainty.


Edited by algroth, 12 December 2017 - 02:40 PM.

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#42
Sedrefilos

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Why everyone's ignoring the muting option? Are most of you against vo by principal? :blink:

If there's a mute option n o ne's forcing voices. If they're bad, you can always mute them.


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#43
JerekKruger

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Why everyone's ignoring the muting option? Are most of you against vo by principal? :blink:

If there's a mute option n o ne's forcing voices. If they're bad, you can always mute them.

 

I doubt we'd be given the option to mute selected characters. Baldur's Gate 2 would have lost a lot if Irenicus's voice actor had been muted, but it would also have been a lot worse (for me at least) if every single line of dialogue had been voice acted poorly. I'd much rather have only the key characters in the game voice acted, but have them done really well, than have every single merchant and random person on the street have all their lines voice acted badly just because it has become the industry standard.


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#44
KDubya

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Why everyone's ignoring the muting option? Are most of you against vo by principal? :blink:

If there's a mute option n o ne's forcing voices. If they're bad, you can always mute them.

 

It's not a matter of not wanting to hear voice overs, the issue is that at a fundamental level of game design you're either writing deep dialogue trees where adding another tree is as easy as typing OR you design such that dialogue is as minimum as possible in order to minimize the amount of voice work needed. The first lets you add in whole sections of dialogue easily at any point, even post release via patching, while the fully voiced model is effectively set in stone at an early time and can't be easily changed.

 

Fully voiced games are attempting to chase the mythical 'casual gamer' that will reward middle of the road mediocrity with untold riches. I'd like PoE and its sequels to remain a high quality niche that can be modestly supported by its current customers. Limiting the expense on voice overs looks to be trying to stay and serve our niche market.


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#45
Sedrefilos

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Obviously many of you haven't played DOS2 and you base your opinions on what was told on kickstarters 5 years ago. And it's fair 'cause I was on the same boat until I played DOS2 and saw for myself.

 

DOS2 crowdfunding campaign started with no voice over and never had even a stretch goal for it. The ammount of dialogue (which is huge) made the devs think they can't put a single recording in it except the background talk, just as it was in the first base game.

Sometime near the end of the production they announced they're going for full voice over (in english only of course) without cutting anything from the writing. And they where cheered of course.

In my opinion, the voice acting of DOS2 is very good, way better than I expected even with some actors voicing multiple chracaters and way better than Pillars 1.

If you have good actors, the merchants, the guards, the innkeepers, heck even mice would sound good.

The best part of it was that they put options to sperately mute voice groups. Characters, narrator, background voices etc. So you can customize what you want to hear and what not. You want ot hear only the main characters? OK you got the option.

 

That's the way I'm hoping Obs will go. Now, I know many of you don't like voices but I don't see why you have problems if muting options are in. This is better than forcing half-voicing (especially if its ok-ish quality wise).


Edited by Sedrefilos, 13 December 2017 - 03:34 AM.

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#46
Messier-31

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No baldening hats > Full VO

 

But I wouldn't be surprised if we get none of the above... *shrug*


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#47
illathid

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Obviously many of you haven't played DOS2 and you base your opinions on what was told on kickstarters 5 years ago. And it's fair 'cause I was on the same boat until I played DOS2 and saw for myself.

 

DOS2 crowdfunding campaign started with no voice over and never had even a stretch goal for it. The ammount of dialogue (which is huge) made the devs think they can't put a single recording in it except the background talk, just as it was in the first base game.

Sometime near the end of the production they announced they're going for full voice over (in english only of course) without cutting anything from the writing. And they where cheered of course.

In my opinion, the voice acting of DOS2 is very good, way better than I expected even with some actors voicing multiple chracaters and way better than Pillars 1.

If you have good actors, the merchants, the guards, the innkeepers, heck even mice would sound good.

The best part of it was that they put options to sperately mute voice groups. Characters, narrator, background voices etc. So you can customize what you want to hear and what not. You want ot hear only the main characters? OK you got the option.

 

That's the way I'm hoping Obs will go. Now, I know many of you don't like voices but I don't see why you have problems if muting options are in. This is better than forcing half-voicing (especially if its ok-ish quality wise).

 

If DOS2 is your example of a what results from a game with full voice acting, you're not going to be very convincing. DOS2 was a horrible mess of a game with a lackluster plot, terrible game mechanics, and was in general a waste of money. Maybe if they used the money they wasted on voice acting into paying for more writing and development time they could've made a good game.


Edited by illathid, 15 December 2017 - 10:27 AM.


#48
Sedrefilos

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Obviously many of you haven't played DOS2 and you base your opinions on what was told on kickstarters 5 years ago. And it's fair 'cause I was on the same boat until I played DOS2 and saw for myself.

 

DOS2 crowdfunding campaign started with no voice over and never had even a stretch goal for it. The ammount of dialogue (which is huge) made the devs think they can't put a single recording in it except the background talk, just as it was in the first base game.

Sometime near the end of the production they announced they're going for full voice over (in english only of course) without cutting anything from the writing. And they where cheered of course.

In my opinion, the voice acting of DOS2 is very good, way better than I expected even with some actors voicing multiple chracaters and way better than Pillars 1.

If you have good actors, the merchants, the guards, the innkeepers, heck even mice would sound good.

The best part of it was that they put options to sperately mute voice groups. Characters, narrator, background voices etc. So you can customize what you want to hear and what not. You want ot hear only the main characters? OK you got the option.

 

That's the way I'm hoping Obs will go. Now, I know many of you don't like voices but I don't see why you have problems if muting options are in. This is better than forcing half-voicing (especially if its ok-ish quality wise).

 

If DOS2 is your example of a what results from a game with full voice acting, you're not going to be very convincing. DOS2 was a horrible mess of a game with a lackluster plot, terrible game mechanics, and was in general a waste of money. Maybe if they used the money they wasted on voice acting into paying for more wrioting and development time they could've made a good game.

 

 

I am talking about VO here only, yes, although I completely disagree with your view of DOS2 on other matters; I found it great as most of the people who played it, obviously.


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#49
illathid

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I am talking about VO here only, yes, although I completely disagree with your view of DOS2 on other matters; I found it great as most of the people who played it, obviously.

 

 

Ah, argumentum ad populum? You'll need to do better than that.


Edited by illathid, 15 December 2017 - 10:28 AM.

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#50
Sedrefilos

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I am talking about VO here only, yes, although I completely disagree with your view of DOS2 on other matters; I found it great as most of the people who played it, obviously.

 

 

Ah, argumentum ad populum? You'll need to do better than that.

 

Ι don't intend to. I don't care what others think of the game, it's not mine. I played it, I liked it. I'm just bringing up Larian's approach on VO and how Obs can take inspiration because I think they did a very good job and Deadfire can use, at least, some ideas.


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#51
Tigranes

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Budget experts strike again :p

 

Facts not speculation.

 

Games were ejoyed back then without VO, true. Games were enjoyed back then in resolution 320x200x256 colors, also true. Games were enjoyed back then having blips from pc speaker for music, also true. Games were enjoyed back then with only controller the keyboard, also true.

 

Isn't it you who is pretending to be such a knowledgeable person that when other people bring you facts and considered opinion, you can just dismiss it as baseless? 

 

The monetary and operational costs of voice acting that I cited last page are not deep secrets; they are very well known to anyone that's worked in the industry, talked to people who work in the industry, or have followed the industry in any level of detail for years; and even for a completely amateur fan, Bioware, Obsidian and other RPG devs have specifically talked about exactly things like word count limits or the inability to edit writing (e.g. DS3's intro, which suffered from this and resulted in repeating "Jeyne Kassynder" 80 times every 5 seconds). But, instead of offering any facts of your own or any rationale for rejecting the presented facts, you decide that 'oh no you guys dont know anything its all opinion'. 

 

I don't know what your second paragraph means, because nobody's interested in this reductio ad absurdum contest; given that nobody ever said VO adds nothing to games, this seems irrelevant to the costs/benefits equation at hand. VO is obviously wonderful when it is done well. It is also patently true that VO is extraordinarily costly. My personal opinion is that it is not worth it for games like Pillars; I equally think there's valid reasons to argue that it is worth it. I don't really see why the discussion needs to be dragged down by snarky comments insinuating that someone's deliberately bringing up baseless opinion. 


Edited by Tigranes, 15 December 2017 - 12:46 PM.

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#52
Wormerine

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but... but... but...

If you voice EVERYONE what about PC?!



#53
Sedrefilos

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@Wormerine  PC has MY voice hehehe ;)


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#54
captainfish

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Sorry, but maybe I was not clear in my wish.  one pointed out something I would be ok with and that would be considered partial voice-acted, and that was if the NPC would voice their introductory greeting dialogue.  I would be ok with that. 

 

But what I have a problem with is you get the first page of dialogue voiced, then 3 pages of nothing, then one line on page 4, then nothing on next page, then page 5 is voiced.

 

It's almost like the voice actors were recorded before the script was finished and the developers expanded the script post-recording.

 

And paying low-budget "actors" to read is only an hourly wage I believe. And they can do multiple characters to save money.  Even the AAA titles like Skyrim had people voicing multiple characters, esp the soldiers or market folk and vendors.

 

Anyway, thank you all for your input and thoughts on my little rant post here.



#55
Quillon

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VO in Skyrim was a joke, half the male population had VO of whoever voiced that Ralof dude.

But some mods for Skyrim had excellent VO, studios should track those people down.

#56
Baltic

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It's almost like the voice actors were recorded before the script was finished and the developers expanded the script post-recording.
 

But isn’t it good to have this freedom, it sets the expectation that the writing can be tweaked if it needs to be.
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#57
bonarbill

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I don't know what your second paragraph means, because nobody's interested in this reductio ad absurdum contest; given that nobody ever said VO adds nothing to games, this seems irrelevant to the costs/benefits equation at hand. VO is obviously wonderful when it is done well. It is also patently true that VO is extraordinarily costly. My personal opinion is that it is not worth it for games like Pillars; I equally think there's valid reasons to argue that it is worth it.

 

Despite your personal opinion, if we go by Josh comments in that previous stream, it seems Obsidian is debating to go down this route after seeing the success of Divinity Original Sin 2 (which sold over 1 million copies in a couple of months on ONE platform).  Considering they are investing even more money into this game compared to the first Pillars, it's pretty obvious they want this series to be successful and more than just a niche series.  I honestly expect the game to be fully voice acted by the time it comes out whether you like it or not.


Edited by bonarbill, 16 December 2017 - 05:55 AM.


#58
Wormerine

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It's almost like the voice actors were recorded before the script was finished and the developers expanded the script post-recording.


I think that is very much a possibility. One of the advantages of non recorded dialogue is that you can change it whenever you need.

Another possibility is that they recorded lines which they saw as the most important or non changeable. If dialogue has branching paths and they are recording some of it, they will go for lines which always stay the same.
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#59
zealotstim

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I'm glad to hear about there being much more voice acting in deadfire! It requires less of a commitment of mental energy, and adds to immersion.

#60
anameforobsidian

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In the Pillars original kickstarter, I was pretty opposed to full VO.  My reasoning was that VO creates constraints on how and when you can edit dialogue.  Generally work gets better over several revisions.  But in the end, they hardly revised anything in the original campaign.  Only the intro and Dyrford saw multiple revisions.  Perhaps not coincidentally, those are the best areas.  I still hold to my theory.  However if they're not going to revise in practice, then I don't see it making a big change except as a use of resources.  As long as dialogue matches the text and is skippable, I'm ok.







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