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Regional FlagAm I the only one really disappointed with the voice acting?Source
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#1 -

I mean, am I? Particularly with personal story quests. The lines always feel so artificial, as if they characters aren’t necessarily addressing each other, just talking at one another. This was always especially apparently with Trahearne and battle sequences. His voice isn’t urgent enough, his tone inappropriate.

Maybe I’m just being nit-picky, but I was just expecting something… more.

ArenaNet Poster
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#16 -

The jokes on the Mad King Thorn outfit from the gem shop are simply the worst voice acting in the game, period.

He sounds like a bored office worker.

Shouldn’t the Mad King sound threatening, supernatural, imposing, crazy?

Or are we not using his voice, and instead using our character’s? Because the voice sounded exactly the same on my norn and sylvari, and neither sounded a whole lot like my character.

The voices on the Mad King costumes were purposely different. They’re supposed to sound like novelty masks voiced by people other than the Mad King himself, hence the tinny processing. There are two voices: one male and one female.

ArenaNet Poster
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#17 -

Are your criticisms mostly being leveled at the personal story and cinematic conversations, or also with the ambient scenes and events?

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#88 -

Personal story/cinematics: HORRIBLE
Ambient scenes and events: AWESOME

I still can’t believe the difference. Possibly two different teams?

Yes. Separate teams handled writing the different content types leading up to ship. That is no longer the case. My team is now responsible for the final output of all text and VO in the game, and I am now fully responsible for the quality. As a result of this change, I am now empowered to take the writing and VO in a direction that’s more consistent with the ambient scenes and events.

Personally, my biggest concern with the voice acting in this game is the lack of variety of accents. EVERYONE in the game sounds american, and they all speak in AMERCIAN english rather than British english, or just pronounce words how people would pronounce them if they had come from the same part of america. Prime examples are “CenTAR instead of CenTOUR” (thats the main one I can think of off the top of my head because it is said so much) but I have noticed many, many others that could have more diversity to them in order to add to the immersion. (Imagine if every english speaking person in the world said things exactly the same)

That’s not entirely true. We have a number of non-American accents in the game that are delivered by natural speakers. Here’s a small list as an example (but there are more).

  • Robin Atkin Downes
  • Gideon Emery
  • Jane Windsor
  • Roberto Medina
  • Lin Gallagher
  • Jenny Veal
  • Etc.

Also, the game is made in America, we write it in American English, and most of our actors live in Los Angeles. That stated, I agree that we could use some more vocal diversity in the game, but I don’t want Guild Wars 2 to sound like every other fantasy title out there with the standard British accents on every character. So aside from more British accents, what other types of voices would you like to hear?

And yes, some of the pronunciations are a little janky. That sometimes happens. We fix what we can, when we can. I’ve also named a clear owner of our pronunciation guide, which should minimize these kinds of gaffes going forward.

It’s always a little bit awkward when you’re about to write a post criticizing the writing and voice acting of the game only to see that the game’s lead writer is watching the thread. Even so, I’m going to agree with everyone else- ambient dialogue is great (if a bit repetitious in LA) and story writing and voice acting is generally quite terrible…Conclusions: ambient dialogue is great, the cutaway conversation scenes highlight the worst parts of the game’s voice acting and writing. Norns are bad, Asuras are great, and Nolan North is playing Nathan Drake with a codpiece.

I hope you’re all comfortable voicing your opinions here. We value your honesty, and read as much of your feedback as we’re able. I can’t be too specific right now, but rest assured that we’re making some changes to how we write, edit, cast, voice, and present story in the game. The past few live releases should hopefully give you a small idea of where we’re headed.

For the record, Nolan doesn’t show up to VO sessions in a codpiece.

I doubt they’ll have the time and/or will to re-record all of the story dialogue. However, I would LOVE them to add in the ability to (at least outside of the story dialogues) change your characters voice.

Rewriting and re-recording the entire game would be too time consuming and cost prohibitive, though we have analyzed certain parts of the game to see where we could make some improvements, if given the resources. It’s safest to assume that the current voiced content will remain, and that new additions to the game will reflect a new direction. If that changes, we’ll be sure to let everyone know.

Erasculio is right that adding additional player voices is hugely expensive due to how many lines are assigned to the PC (player character). Whenever the player speaks in shared content, that line must be recorded a total of 10 times (5 playable races x 2 genders). Also, due to how variant lines are used in the game, the contents of the line have to be written exactly the same, which makes it hard to do any meaningful voice or roleplaying differences between characters.

That stated, all ideas are valid. We had discussed finding ways of giving players new voices, or building a pitch slider for those who wanted such a feature. We settled with what we have now due to time and resource constraints, however.

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#98 -

I don’t want Guild Wars 2 to sound like every other fantasy title out there with the standard British accents on every character. So aside from more British accents, what other types of voices would you like to hear?

As a British person, I can tell you that there are a LOT of accents in Britain itself. I wonder if by “standard” British accents you mean either of the ones Americans tend to know; kittenney (Dick van kitten in Mary Poppins), and Posh (the rest of the cast of Mary Poppins) (The filter is stopping my from naming the Dick van kitten accent, but it is a regional accent from London. Oh wow, I can’t even type his name. This censorship is insane). You could also try (and I know I’m lumping a lot of regional variations and/or dialects together here);
Northern Irish,
Northern English,
South-Western English.

By far and away the worst voice acting I have ever heard is Detha in AC saying, “but I have to build them myself”. A completely ridiculous emphasis on the word “build” makes this sound absolutely comical.

I think we’re in agreement that there are many types of British accents—just as there are many types of American ones. I was referring to the common practice and perception that most fantasy games (and films) tend to feature British accents of all types for the cast. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with that, by the way, just that it seems the norm.

We tended to get the best performances from actors who spoke in their native accent. Perhaps it’s a comfort zone thing. There were a few exceptions, though. I thought Jennifer Hale pulled off a great sylvari performance, all things considered. I rather liked Brandon Bales, too. Neither are from England as far as I know. Then again, I’ve never lived overseas so I doubt my ears can detect where our acted British accents sounded “off” as well as you can.

We’ve already made some changes to our casting process since launch, so I’d like to hear your feedback as time goes on and newer performances make it into the game.