Jun 6 2005, 01:08 PM
In essence, the Screen Guild of Actors want to get more money for their members' voice-over work on games. Developers say that the actors make no real difference to whether a game sells or not so they don't deserve more than a flat rate.
I'm on the developer's side on this one. I've never purchased a game because of the voice cast, nor am I likely to in the future. I do however appreciate when a VO has been done with skill and sensitivity. A lot of the work on Final Fantasy's English dubbing was excellent, and the old Lucas Arts games like Full Throttle wouldn't be the same without the superb dubbing... But would this ever be enough of a reason to buy a game? I don't think it would be, but ironically I think it could be enough of a reason not
to buy a game if the VO was really annoying.
Jun 6 2005, 01:19 PM
112% agree with you. I will go out of my way to avoid a game with terrible voice acting. If at all possible, I'll turn the voices off, but I've even been known to mute the telly and put some music on to avoid the shockingly wooden hideousness of the dialogue (yes, Jade Cacoon, I'm looking at you).
It's not like it's difficult to find decent voice actors - loads of games have got it right, Psychonauts, that I'm playing at the moment, has a hilarious script, and excellant comedy voice acting. Star Fox Adventures had great regional UK accents (but then spoilt it by giving the vocal job of voicing Fox to an angsty american pre-teen). As Mata mentioned, FFX had excellant voice work, so much so it really propelled the series forward a leap for me.
Jun 6 2005, 01:27 PM
Agreed. I could care less about brand name voice actors, in fact I prefer people I've never heard of - voice recognition makes it hard for me to take thecharacter on screen away from the actor. I don't like bad dubbing, of course - and I'm thoroughly annoyed with bad acting; can't stand it.
The actors don't deserve more than a flat rate. I play the game for the game and goddamnit, I don't need prices going up (or profits for Capcom going down) because some piss ant actor doesn't think he has enough money in his pockets.
Jun 6 2005, 01:28 PM
Slightly (ok, very) off topic. I saw League of Gentlemen on Friday and when I suddenly realised who the voice was I blurted quite loudly.
"Woah, its Irenicus."
I never notice actors in a film, only just realised that Elijah Wood is in Sin City, yet I recognise the voice actor from a game. Geeky, no? The friend I was with was equaly geeky as we attempted a high five at this achievement.
Back on track. I would say that they shouldn't get more money for doing video games, which cost enough to make as it is. It says there are nearly 2000 actors who live off of voice overs, but I'm certain that there are more actors in film and tv who barely make a living.
We're washed over with the idea that its big bucks being on TV or on the big screen but you need to have a big name if you want a equally sized cheque to write it on.
Jun 6 2005, 01:38 PM
Are we in a minority though? Judging by the huge sales for movie tie-in games, even for massively average ones, it would be hard to deny that there is a link between the movie industry and games. It's not surprising that the actors want equal treatment.
It is of benefit to a game such as Lord Of The Rings to have the cast doing the voices. It wouldn't make me buy it for that alone, but maybe their sales to the general public would be less if those actors were not involved. Maybe... Good voice-acting can dramatically improve the quality of a game. In a time when narratives are becoming almost essential in games it is only natural that better actors will be desired to convey the plot. An average game with a great story can be worth playing just as much as a great game with an average story is.
Perhaps we are underestimating the actor's performance based on historical evidence. It may be that in the future the actors do become important to us.
I think what might be important to think about here is the representation of directors and casting agents. George Lucas has some good ideas, but he can't direct to save his life, but why should a game developer be any better? It's becoming increasingly the case that the cut scenes in games have their own directors, and as these increase their contribution to the gaming experience it is likely that the casting of good actors will also become more important.
There's a bit of devil's advocate for you...
Jun 6 2005, 02:53 PM
Ack - Mata got there before me: for licensed games, it makes sense to get the same actors to do the voiceovers. However, those actors are going to have a set 'going-rate' for work, which the develop is going to be bound to pay. Unless the actor is contractually bound by their contract with the movie studio (don't know if this actually happens, but if I was a movie studio, I'd bloody well put a clause in the contracts of the actor's I hire that would bind them into providing voice acting work for the associated spin-offs at an agreed rate).
Jun 7 2005, 03:24 AM
Good point, Jonman. It would make sense, however, people are greedy. Ahston Cutcher might make millions of dollars for "Dude Where's My Car?" the movie but you know he'd want more for the game, even if they simply lifted his voice from movie clips for "Dude Where's My Car" the game.*
*"Dude Where's My Car" the Game does not exist.**
Jun 12 2005, 10:54 PM
QUOTE (Jonman @ Jun 6 2005, 10:53 AM)
Unless the actor is contractually bound by their contract
Sir Psycho Sexy
Jun 12 2005, 11:08 PM
I remember Star Trek: Elite Force (don't laugh I'm about to make a point). You see, they had all the original actors for the main characters they needed, Kate Mulgrew, Tim Russ etc. but when it came to Seven of Nine, they couldn't, for whatever reason get Geri Ryan which annoyed the hell outta me because they got some second rate voice actress to do it instead, I doubt there was actually anything wrong with what she did, but it was blatantly not the same voice which just made the whole game even worse. So my point is, if you're going to make a game which features characters who already have a recognisable voice, bloody get the actual actors or someone who can do a reasonable impersonation of them.
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