I was browsing through some of the earlier roundtables on Man Bytes Blog, and found one on voice acting. It’s a little late to join that discussion, but I decided to throw in my opinion nonetheless.

Personally, I can manage quite well without voice acting in games. Of course, when well-done, they can add much to the personalities of the characters you meet. For all that, they’re distracting more than anything else.

Talking takes longer than reading. I can get through the text long before the NPC is done. Provided I can tune out the voice and concentrate on the written word. That’s not always so easy, especially if the speech is a long one.

Also, sometimes the voice doesn’t seem to go with the character. I can do a better job in my own head regarding what a particular NPC should sound like. We all do that when we read, as it is.

Replaying a game makes things worse. I already know what’s coming. Occasionally, it’s possible to short-circuit the speech, but there are times when it isn’t. I’ve been known to turn off my speakers just to avoid hearing the same things I’ve heard before.

I dunno. Maybe developers figure most gamers will only play through once, so it doesn’t matter. But unless an RPG is a real turkey, I expect to play it several times, at least. That’s when voice acting, even when it’s good, gets on my nerves.

Yeah, I prefer peace and quiet. Or as much peace and quiet as one has with the music, ambient sounds, and clang of battle ;)