Voice Acting Video Games

I recently saw the documentary I Know that Voice on Netflix. It was quite an interesting one, and I certainly recognized a few actors from games and shows I was familiar with. One the of the elements that struck me was the discussion of voice acting for video games. While the actors generally had positive notes about voice acting for animated shows, their opinions on performing for video games were a great deal more negative.

Many stressed the repetitiveness and tediousness of the work. They emphasized the fact that a great deal of the recorded lines were just a variety of grunts and reaction noises. One actor even described voicing video games as the most grueling type of voice work he had done. In addition, they also brought up the fact we discussed in class, that the supporting cast of video games is incredibly small, so that many of the minor NPC’s in a larger game are voiced by the same actor.

I had a similar experience, working on a Division III animated film at Hampshire as a voice actor. I was cast in three minor roles, and one of the struggles was making my voice sound distinct for each one. We also did some background noise, which is a less recognized field, as well as providing hit and fighting noises. From this small experience with the work, I can only imagine how strenuous it must be to provide voice work for AAA games.

However, the actors of Uncharted, The Last of Us, and Bioshock Infinite have my eternal gratitude for providing their voices. It greatly enhanced the experience for me, and gave the games a level of cinematic fidelity. That being said, I realize that it is mostly the same actors between these three titles, but I appreciate their work all the same.

2 thoughts on “Voice Acting Video Games

  1. The father of one of my hallmates is a voice actor, and I recall he talked about it a little when he came to visit her. He did comment on all the reaction noises and grunts and stuff, but he didn’t seem unsatisfied with the work. It was an interesting conversation.

    1. I can imagine. That being said, I’d assume it would grow tedious, especially if you were doing vocally strenuous recordings. But I can also see how it could be quite fun to envision yourself in the situations of the game characters as you did the lines: a good source of vicarious fun.

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