Welcome to Our Community

Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.

A Look At Voice Acting In Wii Games - Or Lack Thereof

Discussion in 'Nintendo News & Rumors' started by Corey, May 1, 2007.

  1. Corey

    Corey WiiChat Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2006
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    [xFLOAT=left]http://www.wiichat.com/article-images/zeldawords.jpg[/xFLOAT]Question for you.

    If from this point onwards, Wii games never used voice acting up until the machine became obsolete, would you care?
    For better or worse, would you miss the aural strains of people voicing your characters?

    It's not going to happen any time soon, don’t worry. Videogame production has reached a point where it's proud to be able to scream down your ear and get away with it. If you've been gaming for only a few years, chances are you won't even remember a time when you'd be amazed if your favourite game peeped out a scratchy, barely intelligible voice sample as reward for your purchase. We've come a long way since "Awise fwm yor gwave", "Let's go Mister driver", and even "Ghhhssstbbsssters…. mwhahahahhaaaa!"

    (No, you don’t get any points for recognising them; they're easy.)

    But if there's something I've noticed the past few months, it's that some reviewers have started to lambaste certain titles for the lack of voice acting, most particularly in Wii games. Generally speaking, developers have been making a stylistic choice on this given that there's plenty of space on Wii's optical media discs for speech, badly sampled (although there's no excuse for that) or not.

    Take The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, for example.

    There's very little in the way of 'proper' speech in the game because, well, it doesn’t really suit it as of yet. The Zelda franchise has obviously been around far longer than the medium's ability to utilise human voices in-game, and so as tradition and design took steps into the 21st century, designer Shigeru Miyamoto has persisted that Link remain without a tongue as to make the gamer 'speak' for him, personalising the experience and making us feel more like the hero.

    Does that work for you?

    It's an individual thing, sure. And I can totally subscribe to that ethic. But there's plenty of people out there that simply hate reading. Despise it. I mean, hell, if you're reading this now, you're probably not one of those people anyway, so you're not going to be offended (not that there's much to take offence over). Others may be just skim-reading and picking up odd bits. To them, I could be typing any old thing between the paragraphs and names that catch their attention. In fact, this is for the skim-readers passing by right now:

    Zelda, Mario, Grand Theft Auto, Resident Evil, Shenmue, Final Fantasy, ding dong the witch is dead, hakuna matata, Purple Monkey Dishwasher.

    Fun and games, indeed.

    Not wanting to read in games isn’t a crime. It's a visual medium, after all, and we're living in a visually driven world where High Definition blasts us from every marketing angle, print is dying a slow and miserable death, and VIDEOgaming is one of the fastest growing entertainment mediums going.

    But have we really reached the point where we can't even stand to spend a few minutes at a time reading text in a game? We're dangerously close, I imagine. How many of you still read the instruction manuals these days?

    My problem with the push away from having words on a screen to ONLY a group of voice actors reciting their lines is that we lose a valuable part of the medium's diversity. It lessens its -oh, the irony!- voice. Among other issues.

    I want you to try a quick experiment. Once you've read this, try to imagine these words, trying to change your own internal voice as described in the paragraph:

    "I hated listening to Zelda's voice… it switched and changed with each sentence, making it difficult to focus on the importance of her words. Sometimes it screeched like fingernails scraping across a blackboard, other times it scraped and scratched like jagged rocks viciously crumbling with emphasis.
    "It was only when she randomly started singing did I realise the truth:
    "Zelda 's voice was breaking.
    "Zelda was becoming a man."


    Now, from that, a couple things have probably emerged (aside from the outrage of the lovely princess being outed as a frustrated male). The first is that every single one of you reading will have experienced something different. The voice in your head could have a subtle or massive slant away from another person. For each of you, that experiment created a separate result because you attribute your own voice to it.

    The second thing is that because of the above, the experience becomes interactive and hands-on. Speech runs in passive 'real time', while reading runs a-s… s-l-o-w… o-r… asfastasyou want it to be, on top of the unique little voice you give it. It's all controlled by you, and like in videogames, it's your input that counts towards helping make the experience what it is.

    Wii games, Nintendo's first-party games especially, are victim to this great advantage and disadvantage, arguably more so than other formats and developers because Nintendo is fairly adamant and coy with voice acting in its games. In fact, if you're lucky enough to have a copy of Super Paper Mario, you'll know just how brilliant and entertaining a game's script can be without it being voiced. Intelligent Systems has done a sterling job on making its witty text stand out, bounce, leap, flicker, change colours and all sorts of whacky stuff to stop it from just being

    r
    e
    g
    u
    l
    a
    r

    words
    i
    t
    t
    i
    n
    g
    on
    a
    screen.

    It plays with things, a little. Certain words are given emphasis and highlighted in inexplicable ways that only the gamer will personalise. And so it flips the script in more ways than one.

    For me, games like Super Paper Mario should be applauded for avoiding the dull text trap that many games within and around its genre often fall into. Because frankly, even I get bored with reading, sometimes. And I'm a bloody writer.

    I'm not saying that games should reject voice acting, because much of it these days is fantastically well done. And with some titles it helps convey a movie-like atmosphere, which is totally intentional. But surely the whole point of gaming is to be interactive. And reading, like it or not, is far more interactive than voice-overs and something that should really never be used at the exclusion of in-game text, which is utterly invaluable at times… especially to gamers who may be deaf or hard of hearing.

    In fact, I'm hoping developers like Intelligent Systems actually start experimenting a little. Because while Wii is expanding design sensibilities to make us think a little more out the box, Nintendo's dogged insistence to keep text in games could well lead to some additional invention.

    How about in the next Wii Zelda title we get Non-Player Characters in full voice (Link, alas, must forever stay silent, if just for our sanity – I remember Captain N and the Zelda cartoons and as much as I loved them… well…) - but as they sometimes speak, we hear them say one thing but they have on-screen thought bubbles thinking something else entirely, creating two different narratives of what's going on. Or in the world of a voiced cast, we come across a character that is mute and can only speak using text, which isn't always visibly clear. The player then has to decipher what s/he is saying (made quick and easy with the Wii remote, naturally) which then spurs that character down a certain story path, as well as being happy/furious with you depending on how well you decode their ramblings. If they're more amiable towards you, their stats and performance increases. If you've annoyed them, then they're a bit more sluggish and reluctant. And so on. A mixture of speech and text could open a number of gameplay related possibilities.

    Wii games shouldn’t be punished for a having a lack of voice acting, regardless of the decisions behind it (even if a developer is just being cheap) – because to be frank, the more people we have willing to read these little letters pushed together, the more options we have in diversifying gaming's presentation on a whole. And given that Nintendo's format is already heavily scrutinised on a visual plane as it is, it would probably be wise for someone to start looking at more neglected ways to impress us on a presentational level.

    After all, isn’t invention and interaction truly what Wii is all about?
     
  2. Haz

    Haz Nintendo Encyclopedia

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2006
    Messages:
    720
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    England, UK
    If Link ever speaks I will eat my hat. A total no go, it would upset too many fans. Personaly I like how link sounds in my head- I wouldn't have it any other way.
     
  3. Flagel

    Flagel Soul of highest Calibur

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2006
    Messages:
    399
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    UK
    Wii Friend Code: 4883-9225-1818-3903
    4883-9225-1818-3903
    Well excuseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee me princess.
    Enough said.
     
  4. Haz

    Haz Nintendo Encyclopedia

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2006
    Messages:
    720
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    England, UK
    lol - those video clips were cringful!
     
  5. IcedEarth81

    IcedEarth81 WiiChat Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2007
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    6
    Let's not forget the famous "master of unlocking" line from the original Resident Evil.

    I have to agree that the NPCs in Zelda need to speak. I have no problem with Link remaining silent.
     
  6. Darth_Zant

    Darth_Zant WiiChat Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    0

    that's EXACTLY what i was thinking, lol.
     
  7. ottoman

    ottoman Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Messages:
    1,334
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    London
    Wii Friend Code: 1156-6661-4692-6561
    1156-6661-4692-6561
    ummmm corey, i think your one of the best writers on here. you probably are, but i must be honest...that wasnt very good at all. you didnt keep me interested as you normally would. but oh well, everyone makes mistakes, and we can learn from them :)
     
  8. kingkoy

    kingkoy WiiOwner

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2007
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Toronto
    Wii Friend Code: 0384-8118-0272-6054
    0384-8118-0272-6054
    der is a simple solution to this. Options
    Voice On/Off
    Subtitles On/Off
     
  9. Vigilantiast

    Vigilantiast ROFLCOPTER

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2006
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Wii Friend Code: 4290-2442-2124-3318
    4290-2442-2124-3318
    Hmm lets have a look at the japanese game market....
    Hmm they sure do like them RPG.
    Hmm lets have a think RP in a Game means you kinda make yourself the character. You are his/her mind.
    Now if they spoke then you wouldn't be roleplaying that character you would just be telling him what to do. So there is no speech from characters so that you yourself can pretend i guess, that you yourself are speaking to the NPC (although im sure none of us talk to ourselves).
    The whole point is that you the player are meant to be the character 100%
     
  10. blueradio

    blueradio get crunk.

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Messages:
    1,151
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Cleveland.
    Wii Friend Code: 6390-2874-0535-4544
    6390-2874-0535-4544
    I don't really like voice acting much anyway.
    So it be blunt nah, it doesn't really matter to me.
    It doesn't really add to the game or the gameplay, it just takes away reading.
    Big deal.
     
  11. Wii-licious

    Wii-licious Wii360 FTW !!!!!

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2007
    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Canada
    Wii Friend Code: 1111-1111-1111-1111
    1111-1111-1111-1111
    Usually, many people that does'nt want to read are not hardcore fan of a game series. Honestly i would'nt want zelda with voice acting or super paper mario. But my wife would like...and she is a casual gamer...

    so i think they should keep the text, i dont miss the voice acting.
     
  12. Belmont

    Belmont WiiChat Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2007
    Messages:
    460
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Murray Kentucky
    Wii Friend Code: 8288-8038-4521-3885
    8288-8038-4521-3885
    Well i agree link and Mario and well most of Nintendo's characters need to be silent. But thats not to say i don't like voice acting... Look at the metal gear solid games the voice acting is a big part of those games and its something that pulls me back to those games and makes me actually care about the characters in that game because they feel like real people... voice acting is not what makes a game good but if it works for the game then awesome but if a game has its characters silent then i will still play it and love it


    i am sorry about the rest of those post my computer just freaked out i don't know why it did that so i am sorry for those repeat post
     
    #12 Belmont, May 1, 2007
    Last edited: May 1, 2007
  13. Major Tom

    Major Tom Uss Clan *****

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Messages:
    1,220
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    The Command Cluster
    Wii Friend Code: 5935-0595-2673-3600
    5935-0595-2673-3600
    Hahaha..... I was skimming the article when purple monkey dishwasher caught my eye.......
     
  14. unluckylink13

    unluckylink13 Member XIII

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    Messages:
    314
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    My man-cave
    Wii Friend Code: 0554-8372-1002-5500
    0554-8372-1002-5500
    Haha, this was the exact thing that came to mind when "Zelda" or "Link" and "voice acting" are said in the same sentence =P

    As for the issue, I do like voice acting, but some games don't require it. Zelda is one of these games. The occasional sounds from Link and the single words are fine.

    It'd be fine if other characters started using voice acting, but for Link, giving him a voice would be a sin.
     
  15. Stallyon

    Stallyon Don of NYC Respect Lvl 50

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2007
    Messages:
    277
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Norion
    Wii Friend Code: 2207-7954-7144-9623
    2207-7954-7144-9623
    zelda speaking? it would be like giving sooty a voice and silent bob wouldnt be silent bob if he spoke...
     
  16. huzzellio

    huzzellio WiiChat Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2006
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Aldershot, Hampshire, UK
    Voice acting really doesn't bother me. As long as games have some incidental voice sounds, like on CoD3 for example when they scream commands etc I'm happy. I quite like reading the text in Zelda, I find it actually immerses me more.

    The only game I can think of that has benefitted from voice acting is Metal Gear Solid and that was only because it was professionally done.
     
  17. cbrotherson

    cbrotherson WiiChat Feature Writer

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    UK
    Sorry it wasnt to your liking - I dont expect to win people all the time, but I'm glad it managed to raise some discussion and interest all the same (more so than the last article, it seems). That's really the very least I can hope for.
     
  18. ottoman

    ottoman Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Messages:
    1,334
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    London
    Wii Friend Code: 1156-6661-4692-6561
    1156-6661-4692-6561
    no problem, i know corey is a great writer!
     
  19. Adamquest64

    Adamquest64 WiiChat Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    Messages:
    556
    Likes Received:
    8
    Well Corey, who ever you are, I loved the piece. I actually read it all, unlike most of them.
     
  20. compodude

    compodude keep it compo

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    3
    if link did speak, what would be the point. there in a different world...land... place...thingy. they would have a different language. any way, it would stop link falling to his death and when someone sighs or somthing being special.
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

acting wii games

,
how to change your voice for voice acting in game
,
why doesnt wii games have voices
,
why dont wii games have voice acting?
,
wii games acting
,
wii games voice games
,
wii games with voice acting
,
wii lack of voice actor games
,
wii voice acting
,
zelda voice acting