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Why I think a fully voiced PoE:Deadfire is a mistake


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Till last week I'd never heard of Critical Role, so when the announcement came I looked them up, and they seem like a very goofy, twee group of people. So I'm worried about this aspect of the game, but I'll wait and see.

I feel like this is a gimmick for something that shouldn’t require a gimmick.
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 Save from some outliers (D:OS2 for instance) those are all games with enormous budgets behind, truly meant to be palatable to everyone and to achieve that they can't shy away from full VO. I think that a ranking like that, especially from a "generalist" portal like IGN, doesn't really tell all the story.

Well first one correction, you mean Original Sin 2 AND Persona 5, cause I promise you Persona 5 does not have even half the budget of say Witcher 3, maybe not even a quarter.

 

That said, you are right, it does not tell the whole story.  But it does make my point, people like VO in their video games, even RPG's.  This is not a "bioware" thing, or a "console fanboy" thing.  Looking at the top rated RPG's for the last 5 years you will see almost all of them had full VO, or really close to it.  If it was not considered an important feature, or worse considered a detriment, all the top rated RPG's wouldn't have it.

 

A lot of users on niche forums, which is what this is, live in a bubble and refuse to ever consider the big picture.  My post is not to say full VO or death, or even that Deadfire can compete with those games (though I promise you I will like it more than Original Sin 2).  I am just pointing out that full VO is basically a staple of most video games these days, even RPG's.

 

Suggesting it is a mistake is living in denial of modern gaming standards, and more to the point, no one has any proof to indicate the money could have been spent better elsewhere.

Edited by Karkarov
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I wholeheartedly agree. I was just nitpicking, can't help myself  :grin:

 

My stream of thought told me "Yeah, they all have VO but they are not in that spot in this kind of rankings for this particular reason, while certainly that helped a bit".

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 Save from some outliers (D:OS2 for instance) those are all games with enormous budgets behind, truly meant to be palatable to everyone and to achieve that they can't shy away from full VO. I think that a ranking like that, especially from a "generalist" portal like IGN, doesn't really tell all the story.

Well first one correction, you mean Original Sin 2 AND Persona 5, cause I promise you Persona 5 does not have even half the budget of say Witcher 3, maybe not even a quarter.

 

That said, you are right, it does not tell the whole story.  But it does make my point, people like VO in their video games, even RPG's.  This is not a "bioware" thing, or a "console fanboy" thing.  Looking at the top rated RPG's for the last 5 years you will see almost all of them had full VO, or really close to it.  If it was not considered an important feature, or worse considered a detriment, all the top rated RPG's wouldn't have it.

 

A lot of users on niche forums, which is what this is, live in a bubble and refuse to ever consider the big picture.  My post is not to say full VO or death, or even that Deadfire can compete with those games (though I promise you I will like it more than Original Sin 2).  I am just pointing out that full VO is basically a staple of most video games these days, even RPG's.

 

Suggesting it is a mistake is living in denial of modern gaming standards, and more to the point, no one has any proof to indicate the money could have been spent better elsewhere.

 

 

Or a rejection of modern gaming 'standards,' since they're fairly crap.  A good chunk  of IGN's triple AAA 'RPGs' you cited.... aren't RPGs.  They're vaguely RPG-adjacent, but not much more- a lot of (shoot or hack/slash) & exploration games.   Last year's critic's pet was an RPG, but that was deemed excellent long before even the review copies were in circulation. 

 

But if your entire point boils down to 'no one has any proof to indicate the money could have been spent better elsewhere, then again, no one has any proof to indicate the money couldn't have been spent better elsewhere.   That isn't much of an argument at all.   You're blithely assuming that full VO is a draw or even noticed in these games, but there isn't anything inherent in their sales that highlights full VO over gameplay or writing.  Nor does it account for critic/publisher deemed failures with full VO like ME:Andromeda.

 

Given that Obsidian still hadn't resolved what the basic attributes even were (among a lot of other ugly system changes from PoE1, or even beta3 to beta4)  right before they delayed release, I'm very confident that they've had some serious project management problems.  'Suddenly full VO' as a major feature in the lull between delay and release does little but reinforce that perception.

Edited by Voss
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I think I agree with this topic. I really only kept a few companions with me mostly I had adventurers. Every single time you went to Caed Nua they would repeat the same line over and over and over.  Eder whining about who would clean this place up even after it was finished or Pall commenting on castles and cannons.

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But if your entire point boils down to 'no one has any proof to indicate the money could have been spent better elsewhere, then again, no one has any proof to indicate the money couldn't have been spent better elsewhere.   That isn't much of an argument at all.   You're blithely assuming that full VO is a draw or even noticed in these games, but there isn't anything inherent in their sales that highlights full VO over gameplay or writing.  Nor does it account for critic/publisher deemed failures with full VO like ME:Andromeda.

Fair point, but no one crapped on Andromeda because of the full VO, more like the bad writing (not sure how lack of VO would fix that?), the bad story, the bland characters, the insane uncanny valley facial animations, etc etc.  And please, no one in their right mind doesn't consider Witcher 3, or Divinity Orginal Sin 2, or even Persona 5 RPG's.

 

Meanwhile, when someone says "a decision you made was poor" it is not on the person who made the decision to argue why it is not a poor decision.  It is on the person saying it was a poor decision after the fact to argue why it was poor.  So the burden of proof is not on obsidian, it is 100% on the people claiming full VO was a bad idea because the funds could have spent better elsewhere.  Yet I see no evidence to show that, and instead of providing evidence, you just claimed you don't have to prove your point it is my responsibility to prove you wrong.

 

So in the land of logical debate that means you have no actual evidence to back up your argument, therefore, I don't have to do anything as you have provided no evidence to disprove.

 

Also seriously?  Do some of you actually think full VO is something they came up with last week?  They announced it last week sure, but you don't fully voice your game on a whim 3 weeks from launch.  This decision happened months ago, if not over a year ago, and likely was implemented before the last beta patch. Which by the way is multiple versions behind Obsidians current build, and will certainly be even farther behind the release build.  This is because they are spending the last month on bug fixing, and maybe last minute balance tweaks.

 

Full VO being a feature in the lull as you described it is nothing but a hype announcement meant to renew interest in the game and drive more sales.  Which apparently it did.  If anything that indicates Obsidian's project management is doing a pretty good job to time this info drop to maximum effect.

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When it comes to RPG, there are things that are considered creative decision,and there are things considered standard. Pre-made protagonist or character creation is a creative choice, but fully voiced dialogues has more or less becoming a standard.

 

When it becomes a standard, having it won't become an advantage, but not having it would be considered a huge disadvantage. It's the same with things like auto-save.

 

Sure you can argue that fully voiced npc takes away something from the game, but the same can be said about pretty much anything: graphics with more details limits your imagination as well, and budget spend on graphics can also be spent on something else; and why make 10 different classes with only several abilities for each, instead of making 5 classes with more skills and passives?

 

Based on Bioware's data, only 31% of people play as female Shepard, so why bother having a female Shepard in the first place? Why not spend all those money on gameplay and story? 

 

In the end all those things boils down to personal preference, you can't judge the decision as "bad" when the game wasn't even out yet. And even the game did ended up bad, I really doubt fully voiced dialogue is the major reason for it. I feel like people are overestimating the budget for fully voiced dialogue to strength their argument.

 

 

Edited by jf8350143
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Till last week I'd never heard of Critical Role, so when the announcement came I looked them up, and they seem like a very goofy, twee group of people. So I'm worried about this aspect of the game, but I'll wait and see.

I feel like this is a gimmick for something that shouldn’t require a gimmick.
It's like that one game that featured Pewdiepie, Markiplier and other Youtubers. Except it's even more unnecessary to call them by Critical Role, as the majority of Crpg fans/table top players have never even heard of that name, yet alone think to make that connection when the name Matt Mercer (or the other members) when Critical Role is brought up.

 

Other than that, Matt Mercer has been very professional so I'm not worried about his involvement or the involement of other CR members being goofy.

 

 

 

 

I think people are projecting that voice acting or the quality of it will be an issue, it won't. What "might" be an issue is how Obsidian handles story-writing when voice acting was or wasn't in mind. Does anyone know if it was planned from the beginning? This makes a huge difference.

Just what do you think you're doing?! You dare to come between me and my prey? Is it a habit of yours to scurry about, getting in the way and causing bother?

 

What are you still bothering me for? I'm a Knight. I'm not interested in your childish games. I need my rest.

 

Begone! Lest I draw my nail...

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 Save from some outliers (D:OS2 for instance) those are all games with enormous budgets behind, truly meant to be palatable to everyone and to achieve that they can't shy away from full VO. I think that a ranking like that, especially from a "generalist" portal like IGN, doesn't really tell all the story.

A lot of users on niche forums, which is what this is, live in a bubble and refuse to ever consider the big picture.  My post is not to say full VO or death, or even that Deadfire can compete with those games (though I promise you I will like it more than Original Sin 2).  I am just pointing out that full VO is basically a staple of most video games these days, even RPG's.

 

Suggesting it is a mistake is living in denial of modern gaming standards, and more to the point, no one has any proof to indicate the money could have been spent better elsewhere.

 

 

 

1) There is also the question of whether most video games these days, even RPG's, are worth anyone's time. I did try two recent ones and lasted much less than an hour on both of them (which allowed me to cancel my purchase, luckily enough). So, there's that, too. It is entirely possible that essentially the whole industry is producing rubbish. And obviously I'm not saying that it's full voice acting that is ruining these games, but it would appear to be a contributing factor.

 

2) Strictly speaking, outside of mathematics, no one has any proof of anything at all. But even if we're being merely realistic, your argument about money spent is so speculative that no proper comment can really be made, as it doesn't really make sense. What could possibly constitute such proof?

Edited by xzar_monty
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1) There is also the question of whether most video games these days, even RPG's, are worth anyone's time. I did try two recent ones and lasted much less than an hour on both of them (which allowed me to cancel my purchase, luckily enough). So, there's that, too. It is entirely possible that essentially the whole industry is producing rubbish. And obviously I'm not saying that it's full voice acting that is ruining these games, but it would appear to be a contributing factor.

 

2) Strictly speaking, outside of mathematics, no one has any proof of anything at all. But even if we're being merely realistic, your argument about money spent is so speculative that no proper comment can really be made, as it doesn't really make sense. What could possibly constitute such proof?

I definitely agree on point 1, games I feel are worth the money are few and far between these days.   I think it looks worse than it really is simply because of volume though, in the past you didn't see 10-20 games a month released. 

 

Number 2 isn't my argument, it is an argument people opposed to full VO have made.  I also agree, it is pretty much impossible to prove it was a waste of money, or could have been spent better.  Which is why it is a pretty weak argument.

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I think there a lot more great games nowadays than there used to be in the past - especially when it comes to "worth its money". It's just all the junk under which they are buried that makes people think it's a decline. But that's mostly because nowadays you can develop an indie game pretty easily without a lot of superspecial knowledge or skills (see Unity3D, Godot and so on).

 

We had some awesome indie games in the past few years and also some really nice big titles. I remember times where Pools of Radiance was a great game - or Trailblazer (man did I love that game on my Commodore 128d). But the frequency with which those came out was... veeery looow. :)

 

The older I get the less I play or even try different games but tend to stick to one that really fits me/is fun for me. But that doesn't mean that most other games are rubbish.

 

I also don't think that the exisitence of Full VO makes a game worse per se. I can totally see how repetetive talking of every unimportant shmuck can be very annoying though. So I'd alsoways say it depends on the implementation. I personally don't need VO at all, but I also don't think it's a downgrade just because it's there.

Edited by Boeroer
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Based on Bioware's data, only 31% of people play as female Shepard, so why bother having a female Shepard in the first place? Why not spend all those money on gameplay and story? 

 

Because:

 

Based on Bioware's data, only 31% of people play as female Shepard.  (Is 31% considered infinitesimal where you're from? That's over a quarter of players.)

 

But yeah, for the VO argument, we don't know the hows and whys of the budget - so people saying "Full VO = no fishing" isn't a concrete argument.

(Saying "Full VO is not my preference" is fine as it's not my preference ;) )

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I think there a lot more great games nowadays than there used to be in the past - especially when it comes to "worth its money". It's just all the junk under which they are buried that makes people think it's a decline. But that's mostly because nowadays you can develop an indie game pretty easily without a lot of superspecial knowledge or skills (see Unity3D, Godot and so on).

 

We had some awesome indie games in the past few years and also some really nice big titles. I remember times where Pools of Radiance was a great game - or Trailblazer (man did I love that game on my Commodore 128d). But the frequency with which those came out was... veeery looow. :)

 

The older I get the less I play or even try different games but tend to stick to one that really fits me/is fun for me. But that doesn't mean that most other games are rubbish.

 

I also don't think that the exisitence of Full VO makes a game worse per se. I can totally see how repetetive talking of every unimportant shmuck can be very annoying though. So I'd alsoways say it depends on the implementation. I personally don't need VO at all, but I also don't think it's a downgrade just because it's there.

Quite happy to read this, having grown up in the golden age of gaming I can agree with this. I put off indies for a while, I thought "There are so many of these small developer games, they must be crap.. what? One out of every ten are actually good?" Then I played a game called Hotline Miami and the fog lifted.

 

We do have more quality games with better story-writing today than we did in the 90-s and early 00's. That said, we don't have more "bad games" which is a myth that people try to press "We have more good games but we have even more bad games" The ratio of good games is more through comparison whilist the ratio of bad games in comparison is less. In other words, the industry is in much better shape than it has ever been. Lower priced indies ($9.99-$19.99) are making more profit and selling more than the highly popular ($60.00 million selling) AAA games according to statistics. Proves that people care about quality over bells and whistles, that developers care more about their games than back in the day. There's that hunger which propels the gaming industry.

 

I, too, spend most of today playing indies rather than AAA and have stumbled on some gems, games made by 3 to 10 people that sell for $14.99 with more depth and lore than an rpg game. What sorcery is this that Hollow Knight a game made by 3 people could possibly dethrone Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night according to the majority of people who play it. Same thing with Shovel Knight overthrowing Megaman 2. Seems like indies are being made with more love and passion than AAA's of today or the golden years and for that, each of us should be grateful.

 

 

 

 

 

As far as VO, evidence concludes that we have alot more talent now than 15 years ago. Voice actors seem to pop up out of nowhere lately (probably due to people using social media to get themselves in the ring), nobody can deny that it used to be a rare thing to see a game with good voice acting but now it's all too common - which is why people like Troy Baker, Nolan North and David Hayter (undoubtedly the biggest names in vidgy voice acting) stood out but now everyday people want to do it more now than ever before. That most recent strike they had did absolutely nothing for hindering the quality of games because of this. It's really amazing to think about but actually quite impressive and shows how much more people want to be involved in the gaming industry today.

 

Alas, it's hard to imagine a game like The Witcher 3 without voices and I think we all know, there's just as much spoken dialogue there than any text-based rpg out there (including Crpg). Mass Effect'd be another example... Even when the voice acting is bad, can't say that no voice acting or partial voice acting would make it better quality. Some games, especially ones with 3D models just feel better with VO regardless of how terrible one thinks the voice acting is. As you basically said, it's no less common to find bad writing than it is bad voice acting but nostalgia will lie to us and tell us different :p

 

And then there are anime style fighters/rpg's wherefore the bad English voice acting is part of their charm. It's almost a rule lol and somehow makes the experience more authentic. Why? Because we know that the game was made for Japanese voice actors so when people criticize the American voices and lip-syncing, it is a bit contradictive. So that's a space of genres which should be left untouched. It's almost to where good voice acting would be weird in these genre...

 

Of course I have favorite rpg's that don't have any voice acting at all. Sunless Sea, couldn't imagine it with VO, while Kotor 2 is also a favorite and though voices are sub-par, I couldn't imagine it being better without those voices. Can we just accept that different games call for different resources? Or must it always be one or the other? Things that make you go "Hmmm...." So I personally do not see the need for concern for this development choice. I'm going to wait and see what the game feels like when it releases.

Just what do you think you're doing?! You dare to come between me and my prey? Is it a habit of yours to scurry about, getting in the way and causing bother?

 

What are you still bothering me for? I'm a Knight. I'm not interested in your childish games. I need my rest.

 

Begone! Lest I draw my nail...

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Its kind of irrelevant to me other than the cost impact to development / limiting dialogue potential consequences.

 

From a practical standpoint as a game player, I read faster than most actors speak their lines and unless the actual acting or scene itself engages me on a level beyond the usual, I'll be reading the text and choosing dialogue options without listening to the VO; in games where the choices weren't fully written out in text choices, I'd have subtitles on, read the subtitles and advance to the next dialogue piece when I was done unless, again, the scene invested me somehow.

If the scene isn't investing you, then the writers and actors have failed you.

 

 

I wouldn't say its a failure for me so much as, having grown up on games with no voice acting at all, my method of game play is still primarily focused on reading, and if you read faster than people act, it can make the game frustrating to wait for them to act out a scene.  So since pacing in a game is usually user controlled, as opposed to a subtitled movie where the movie has the pacing created by the editing of the film, I tend to still favor reading and advancing at the speed I read.  Only a scene of something remarkable (visual, acting, writing) will make me pause and watch it as it is, and honestly I'm more inclined to do it in a 3rd person game than a isometric one.

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Based on Bioware's data, only 31% of people play as female Shepard, so why bother having a female Shepard in the first place? Why not spend all those money on gameplay and story? 

 

Because:

 

Based on Bioware's data, only 31% of people play as female Shepard.  (Is 31% considered infinitesimal where you're from? That's over a quarter of players.)

 

But yeah, for the VO argument, we don't know the hows and whys of the budget - so people saying "Full VO = no fishing" isn't a concrete argument.

(Saying "Full VO is not my preference" is fine as it's not my preference ;) )

 

Because it's a feature only a minority part of players use, but Bioware still develop it. Let's face it, if they just make Shepard a pre-made character with the default male face, the game would still be praised, lots of people don't care whether they can play as a female or not, but that didn't mean the character creation is pointless.

 

My point is developers spend their resources on tons of different things and almost all of them only appeals to certain part of the players instead of  all of them. There is no point to say "spending on this is pointless, it didn't add anything to the game." because it adds a lot to the game to some people out there. Especially when we know nothing about the game is good or not, complain right now seems really unnecessary.

Edited by jf8350143
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please refrain from mentioning costs/expenses of VO, D:OS2 was fully voiced and with notable voice actors (every peasant/guard had a different voice, an immense work) all while costing overall less than half than deadfire (2M for D:OS2 vs 4,3M Deadfire), take into the account that developing in unity is considerably less expensive than Larian's own engine and you'll start wondering why Eder isn't voiced by Chris Pratt

Edited by The Crimson

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please refrain from mentioning costs/expenses of VO, D:OS2 was fully voiced and with notable voice actors (every peasant/guard had a different voice, an immense work) all while costing overall less than half than deadfire (2M for D:OS2 vs 4,3M Deadfire), take into the account that developing in unity is considerably less expensive than Larian's own engine and you'll start wondering why Eder isn't voiced by Chris Pratt

 

I'm not sure you can use the crowdfunding raised to create a budget comparison; I'm pretty sure that non-crowdfunded monies were applied to both games.

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@Kharkarov

 

You should really stop referring to Persona 5 as an example of full VO. As I already explained, less half of it is voice acted and so it's really an example of partial VO, not full VO.

Edited by illathid
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