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When Voice Acting for Video Games Improves, Gamers (and Actors) Rejoice

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

August 11, 2009

Comments (7)

Man and woman playing video gamesRemember the first video games featuring voice over?

Do you recall the quality of the voice acting?

Suffice to say audio, specifically the voice acting aspect, has come a long way in gaming since the early 1980s.

Hear what professional voice actors have to say about this blessed phenomenon here at VOX Daily!

Hit and Miss

The lineage of voice acting in video games goes back nearly three decades.

Voice acting's family tree with regard to this form of entertainment has been varied to say the least, with the quality of voice over ranging from pure believability to well, you know...

Whether a video games' voice acting boasts of the stuff legends are made of (or conversely, if it stinks to high heaven), depends greatly on the resources dedicated to audio and the emphasis placed on casting professional voice over talent.

Recently, I polled a number of voice talent and gamers to see what their favorite and least favorite video games for voice acting were. The results are quite interesting!

Take a look.

Voice Actor Picks

"Stephanie, I'm going to go with Metal Gear Solid for the best and Desert Storm for the worst :) Well cast and well acted characters are vital in games that feature voice acting. It enriches the experience to no end. It further immerses the gamer in world in which they are playing and gives more depth to the interactive side of the game."

-- Matt Cowlrick


"I've found that VO in video games is very structured time wise.With every game character I've voiced-- even tho' emotion and depth are needed--they have to be conveyed within a certain frame to match the action of the game and characters. Favorite VO game--anything with a 'Madden' on it. Least fave--Pac-Man."

-- Herb Merriweather


"My personal favourites would have to be the Metal Gear Solid games, the voice actors take everything off the page but turn it in to something of their own. Also MGS contains classic voice actors such as Jennifer Hale, Paul Eiding, Cam Clarke, Debi Mae West, Heather Halley etc, the list could go on. My least favourite would have to be Resident Evil 1, unfortunately most of the dialogue sounded very flat and most scenes that were supposed to come across as serious were slightly stepped on by the way the Voice actors were talking. I'm afraid I may be a little too critical but voice acting in all the other incarnations of the Resident Evil series have been excellent. So 11 years on from Re 1 and I'd say Voice over in video games is taken a lot more seriously."

-- Philip McCabe


"Best VO game: Gears of War 2 (though most big-budget games these days have stellar casts). Least favorite VO game: Chaos Wars"

-- Avi Melman


"The Half life anthology is a good series with an amazing cast. Lots of backstory and you actually care about some of the characters. Least favorite F.E.A.R. Good game not much as far as Characters go. The Cast is legnthy but you don't really know the characters."

-- Carl Von Wolzogen


"Fave games for voice acting are "X2: The Threat" and "X3: Reunion" both by Egosoft. Not really got a least fave."

-- Mark Steele


@Miss_Bellatrix Best vid game is Gears of War! The voice acting was one of the things I loved about playing that game! The characters really came to life that way.

Conclusion

Video games can be known not just for the quality of the voice acting but also for their voice actors. Sometimes, those actors are known for their acting, while others are known for acting up.

What Are Your Favourite Video Games Where Voice Acting is Concerned?

Add your thoughts to the mix by leaving a comment!

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Stephanie

©iStockphoto.com/Diego Cervo

Related Topics: professional voice talent, union, video games, videogames, voice acting, voice overs, voiceovers


Comments


    As Matt Cowlrick says, "Metal Gear Solid" for me that has been the best voicing in games since i can remember. David Hayter voicing Solid Snake from 1 to the epic 4, Along with him and the many other voices within that game, drags you right into the storyline. Straight to the tear-jerking finale. (which doesn't usually occur in games that often) the voice acting is done so perfectly. It was what inspired me to start voice acting.

    Also i agree with Phil McCabe :)

    Posted by:
    • Deano Eld
    • August 11, 2009 3:11 PM

      Mass Effect and Fable 2 stand out as having some of the best voice acting. The worst? Can't remember. And that's the problem. Bad voice acting makes a game completely forgettable.

      Posted by:

        While playing a good game, it is important for the voice work to be able to immerse the player both during the movie sequences as well as during the core game play. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is a great example of this. During a flashback sequence, you play as a character named Lieutenant Price. You're following a character named Captain Macmillan on a stealth mission. The subtlety of the instruction from Macmillan and the tension of the situation are executed in a such a way that the player cares about what is going on in the level. Macmillan gives you options on how you can handle the enemies you're sneaking right past. He tells you when to stop, and when it's safe to continue. I've linked a video to demonstrate what I'm talking about.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3p_dW_iRuFg

        When you combine good game play and well-executed dialogue it can bring gaming to a whole level, and make for some very memorable experiences.

        Posted by:
        • David Jones
        • August 11, 2009 6:04 PM

          MY favorite voice actor by far is John Di Maggio of Gears of War, he was also the brute chieftain in Halo 3. Did you know that he also did the voice over for Bender? Yeah, Marcus and Bender are voiced by the same person. Mind-blowing and enlightening, right? That's one hell of a trivia for you guys. :)

          Posted by:

            This is so much fun!!!!!!!!!!!!

            Posted by:
            • Kristjan Sigurjonsson
            • August 12, 2009 7:40 AM

              I look at the VO's before I buy games to see who's in it! I really Love the Tales series. I've played from Tales of Symphonia to the newest Tales of Vesperia and the spin offs. To me they always have great story lines and they match the voices with the characters really well. I can't get enough of Yuri Lowenthal who plays Luke/Asch in Tales of the Abyss. MGS is also a fav of mine and I think David Hayter has a sexy voice, it's what drew me into the game! (Tomahome :) )

              Posted by:
              • Stephanie Szeponski
              • August 15, 2009 12:45 AM

                I find some of the choices of "good voice acting" to be quite odd. I'm only a consumer, not an actor, but I would not consider the acting in MGS, Resident Evil or X2/X3 (my favorite games incidentally) to be very good. However I'm open to the possibility that what I perceive as "bad acting" is really "bad writing" or "bad dialogue", the actors themselves could be doing the best they can.

                A game I remember having great acting was Tachyon: The Fringe, probably because neither the writing nor the acting let up (aside from one crazy scientist character).

                Posted by:
                • Eoin Carroll
                • September 23, 2009 5:04 PM

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