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


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Based on the beta, I wouldn't say anything was noticably different than the way Pillars was written, so I'm not too worried about "dumbing down" for voice acting. More generally, if forcing lines to be read aloud reduces the number of lore dumps, I'd say that's a good thing. A lot of Pillars could have done with having less but more punchy text, rather than more.

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Based on the beta, I wouldn't say anything was noticably different than the way Pillars was written, so I'm not too worried about "dumbing down" for voice acting. More generally, if forcing lines to be read aloud reduces the number of lore dumps, I'd say that's a good thing. A lot of Pillars could have done with having less but more punchy text, rather than more.

Right you are, Mr. Cotton!

 

I suspect many will not like your comment but it's true. Full vo is and has always been a reasonable way to cleanse the game from filler, streamlining it to the story's simplest and natural form. Some people call that dumbing it down because they feel they need or deserve the filler, it upsets them, I guess. Like sprinkles on a doughnut, so is that of which we desire to be needed in the games..

 

This is exactly why I consider my 50 hour rpg's (whether full vo or not) to be better lore examples of lore than a 200 hour rpg. No bs, no filler - same story quality and same length otherwise.

 

 

 

The big question here is, can we all look forward to Deadfire just the same knowing this? Or will we go into the game with unrealistic expectations and a tainted mindset? Will we love Deadfire just the same or will it become the second favorite automatically? I think we know the answer but this thread has proved very entertaining.... with all the "I don't understand how you like Full VO more" which is similar as saying "I like blue, I don't undrstand how you like red more than blue. I mean, it's red for crying out loud! NARF."

 

Now, did the announcement of full VO make any members here squirm a bit? You bet lol Obsidian trimming the fat for the ultimate steak, I see *Gasp*

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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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I am not particularly bothered by fully voiced dialogue. Games like Skyrim have it as well and you learn to deal with it. Namely, ignore it if it gets repetitive. What I am hoping is that the dialogue in the second game has a faster pace and that not every character is a professionally-trained orator. I would like them to feel more like conversations. The pauses between the sentences were often too long, for example.

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Some love, some hate, and someone who said he (or she) refuses to buy the game now...lol. 

 

You guys do realise you can just turn off voice volume? XD And if not now, you surely will once full game comes out (though, i'd bet the beta has an opinion for that as well.)

 

As for me, well, I think I'll enjoy what the voice actors have to offer, while reading the action....unless someone tells me the action is voiced too? I'd rather not have that, I think... xD Unless there's a separate button to leave in the voice, and leave out the interactive action scenes. Then well....then anyone can chose whatever. Like right now. You don't have to have any voice if you don't want to, right? :) 

 

I don't mind reading, a lot of people do though. Like my best friend, he didn't finish PoE still, despite me praising it with each breath....the reasons? Not much voice acting he says, too much reading he says....his loss, but yeah. 

 

I think Obsidian did what's best for both parties. This is kinda like romance...a lot of people are for it, and some also claim they'll refuse to buy the game if romance is in but...guess what? It's an RPG, you don't NEED to chose to romance anyone lol. Not even Bioware games force you into it. And I highly doubt Obsidian would either. 

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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.

 

What is this "if you read faster than people speak" stuff? Doesn't everyone? I know I do. I still listen to the voice work if it's any good. That can't be it, or I'd not care about voice work either. I also grew up on games with no voice work, so that can't be it either. Or at least none of those are the sole reason. There's something else here.

Edited by The Sharmat
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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.

 

What is this "if you read faster than people speak" stuff? Doesn't everyone? I know I do. I still listen to the voice work if it's any good. That can't be it, or I'd not care about voice work either. I also grew up on games with no voice work, so that can't be it either. Or at least none of those are the soul reason. There's something else here.

 

 

If the plot is too good I don't want to wait for the speaker. I don't blame the voice actor though. It's not their or the designer's fault, I blame my impatience 

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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 think those numbers are just the amounts the kickstarters raised. I'm told Sven at Larian remortgaged his house, sold his kids into slavery and his soul to the devil to get DOS1 out of the door. I'm pretty sure he put pretty much all the proceeds of DOS1 into DOS2. He might have bought back his kids, but that's about it. But he might have had to add them to the devil's soul account as well though.

 

I think he increased the studio headcount from about 30/40 for DOS1 to over 100 for DOS2. Warm bodies are costed at around $10k per month a piece in the games industry, so given DOS2 took at least two years to make the back of my envelope has an eye watering number written on it. I dare say he might have managed to squeeze some change out of $20m, but not that much. 

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Warm bodies are costed at around $10k per month 

I'm sorry for going on a tangent, but are newly-hired videogame developers really this well-off? Holy cow, have I picked a wrong field of work.

 

Yeah, that kind of raised an eyebrow for me, too. Certainly not the case for the industry in Poland. :p

 

source: myself

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Warm bodies are costed at around $10k per month 

I'm sorry for going on a tangent, but are newly-hired videogame developers really this well-off? Holy cow, have I picked a wrong field of work.

 

Surely that's not just their salary?

That said Obsidian is in California right? Very high cost of living.

Edited by The Sharmat
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Warm bodies are costed at around $10k per month

I'm sorry for going on a tangent, but are newly-hired videogame developers really this well-off? Holy cow, have I picked a wrong field of work.

 

Yeah, that kind of raised an eyebrow for me, too. Certainly not the case for the industry in Poland. :p

 

source: myself

 

General rule of human resources, employees cost x2 their salary to the company (office spaces renting, hardwares, software licences, etc).

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Azarhal, Chanter and Keeper of Truth of the Obsidian Order of Eternity.


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What is this "if you read faster than people speak" stuff?

 

I don't like to assume that just because I do something others automatically can or do.

 

Doesn't everyone?

 

I don't know everyone, so no clue.  If you know everyone, feel free to ask.

 

That can't be it, or I'd not care about voice work either. I also grew up on games with no voice work, so that can't be it either. Or at least none of those are the sole reason. There's something else here.

 

I'm not really sure what your point is, I'm not aware that I've argued anything other than personal preference when explaining that I actually don't care one way or the other about full VO?  I'm pretty sure that I didn't make any sort of "these rules apply to everyone - #9 will amaze you" claim.

 

What I did is state my preference - to read text - and supported that with some conditional examples using friendly "if you x then you might y" statements to demonstrate my personal preference to read text and skip VO performances if I have to.  And to counter your reply, to show that this wasn't, IMO, a problem with acting or writing, but entirely on my own preferred game playing preference.

 

Ergo, to bring this back to my original point, my only concerns about Full VO as stated previously, are the impact of such a thing on the development budget with respect to the possibility of cutting things to afford Full VO.  From an actual user perspective I, personally, will probably never listen to all of the dialogue so its existence will be irrelevant to my game experience.

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Stumbled upon this the other day. The point Josh makes is why, in general, I prefer critical path only VO for games such as these.

 

https://youtu.be/hpp9EUVFaQM?t=2m7s

Nice find!
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"Art and song are creations but so are weapons and lies"

"Our worst enemies are inventions of the mind. Pleasure. Fear. When we see them for what they are, we become unstoppable."

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Warm bodies are costed at around $10k per month

I'm sorry for going on a tangent, but are newly-hired videogame developers really this well-off? Holy cow, have I picked a wrong field of work.
Yeah, that kind of raised an eyebrow for me, too. Certainly not the case for the industry in Poland. :p

 

source: myself

General rule of human resources, employees cost x2 their salary to the company (office spaces renting, hardwares, software licences, etc).
Yep. Keep in mind that that $10k almost certainly included non-salary benefits such as health insurance, long-term/short-term disability insurance, etc. Rule of thumbs is 30% of your total compensation comes from this kind of stuff.

"Art and song are creations but so are weapons and lies"

"Our worst enemies are inventions of the mind. Pleasure. Fear. When we see them for what they are, we become unstoppable."

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Bottom line: We all agree that it isn't necessarily a mistake for the game, just that some do not agree with it.

 

Must wait for final release, yes the inclusion if full voice overs changes the game's mood 100%. What's done is done, Obsidian just wanted to have fun and make the game stand out even more from its predecessor.

Edited by SonicMage117

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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I would prefer limited voice acting similar to the infinity engine games. I agree with comments, by Gromnir and others, about cost, about subpar voice acting ruining a good game and about good voice acting not saving a bad game.

 

However, those of us who think the above are in the minority. It is a matter of preference and the mob has spoken. If I was making the decision for Obsidian, I would have gone with full voice acting. It's expensive, but it's an investment. More people will probably buy the game as a result (unless the acting is truly terrible) and they will get back the money that they spend on voice acting.

 

What I would like: 

 

1. Good voice acting so that it doesn't hurt the game. It should be possible, it's not like there is a shortage of actors; it just requires a bit of ruthlessness.

 

2. Voiced lines to be tagged as "necessary" and "other" with a toggle to turn off "other". Necessary would be minimal lines similar to the infinity engine games to establish characters and interactions like Maerwald (who was channeling multiple people) where the voice serves a specific purpose.

 

I don't expect to get item 2, but it would be nice (it would also be useful for market research - How many people use this option? It can tell the developer whether the budget is being well spent in practice - especially if players use that option part way through the game).

 

If item 1 doesn't work out, well, at least we can turn it off (Also useful for the developers to know - How many players think that the voice acting hurts the game? Is our voice pipeline working in practice?).

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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.

Didn't say it had full VO, I said the majority of it was.  Every scene that is important to the story (which is a crap ton of scenes) is fully voiced.  Additionally I am willing to bet Persona 5 has considerably more dialog in it than either Deadfire or Divinity Original Sin 2. 

 

It also has it's VO in two languages, and only by professional voice actors.  I am willing to bet Divinity and Deadfire both are English only, and have at least a couple "people from the company" doing VO.  So the odds are incredibly high that Persona 5 probably has a VO budget that dwarfs both Deadfire and Divinity Original Sin 2 regardless of it not being 100% VO.  Forget about the fact that at least 25% of the music in the game also has actual vocals in it by professional musicians.  I somehow doubt Deadfire or Divinity have more than 1 maybe 2 tracks with vocals, or maybe none, not sure.

 

In fact VO was probably the most expensive part of Persona 5's development budget, if it wasn't it was certainly in the top 3.  So I would say it is not a good game to use as an example of  "less VO is good".

 

As for budget, there is no doubt the budget of Divinity Original Sin 2 was much higher than Deadfire, the game was basically at beta level before they even started their fundraising campaign.  The kickstarter money was pure extra funds, and even if the funding had somehow flopped the game still would have released.  Just probably without full VO and a few other bells and whistles.

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I won't believe that they've voiced every single potential NPC bark in the game until I hear it for myself. Yes, a shopkeeper you do business with will have her lines voiced. The kids chasing a piece of poo down the gutter with their poo-sticks probably won't be. There could be exceptions, but those tend to be clues.

Edited by Clawdius_Talonious
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Of course not, and some characters will re-use others' lines... just like any other game on the market. We don't really expect every single character to be viices for the sake of having it. And perhaps there will be a mute or possessed character or two as well. Some story writers are smart enough to see this through and it makes the game more relevant to a modern audience.

 

Also, reminds me of The Witcher 2 when kid girls and boys in the townstead used adult men voice overs, it was extremely awkward but nobody really complained. That was voice overs gone wrong in both production and publishing affect lol

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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They patched that out in later versions of Witcher 2. But kept the "everyone in Flotsam is in their underwear" glitch, because they thought it was funny.

 

Thinking about it, for all the people wishing there was less voice acting in games these days (and I do understand a lot of the reasoning mind you) I'd imagine a bunch of people playing the infinity engine games as kids thought to themselves "I wish more of these lines were voiced". And some of them are probably the same people. It's never quite the same when you actually get it, I guess.

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They patched that out in later versions of Witcher 2. But kept the "everyone in Flotsam is in their underwear" glitch, because they thought it was funny.

 

Thinking about it, for all the people wishing there was less voice acting in games these days (and I do understand a lot of the reasoning mind you) I'd imagine a bunch of people playing the infinity engine games as kids thought to themselves "I wish more of these lines were voiced". And some of them are probably the same people. It's never quite the same when you actually get it, I guess.

Actually I was thinking about this after my earlier post and realized the ultimate irony.

 

If no one likes VO, and it isn't helpful, why does every streamer read aloud unvoiced dialog or little documents they find in games?  Even streamers playing Baldur's Gate 2, or Planescape Torment do it.

 

Oh well you say the answer is obvious, it is more exciting for the viewer.  I reply by saying, exactly.

Edited by Karkarov
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