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Unnecessary audio speech in games

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Question:  Why do developers add unnecessary speech effects in games?  

Just because games can handle/hold audio dialogue bits in their memory doesn't mean they should.  Sometimes less is more.  Take Civilization on the SNES for example.  The game was on cartridge, so it wasn't feasible to cram any random bits of speech in there.  And the game was all the better for it.  Years later, along comes Civilization:  Revolution on Xbox 360 and PS3.  Suddenly, because of the greater storage capacity of discs, the developers thought it a good idea to add speech effects every time you encounter another nation.  These speech effects were incoherent garbled nonsense, some of which were along the lines of "Lallum, fallum".  And, they became very annoying as the game progressed and began being contacted by foreign leaders on a more frequent basis.  Why include this?  It adds nothing to the immersion of the game, but almost certainly reduces said immersion by virtue of the annoyance factor.

Nintendo has added audio dialogue to their Fire Emblem series to a less annoying degree in games like Awakening & Fates.  Rather than incoherent nonsense, characters will speak a complete phrase that attempts to vaguely relate to the actual speech bubble which appears on screen.  But even in this case, if the speech bubble itself isn't going to be spoken exactly, why bother with the pre-programmed phrases?  To me, the only semi-related audio dialogue feels tacked on just for the sake of being there.  It doesn't add to my experience or enjoyment of the game.  If they weren't present in the game, I don't feel like the presentation value of the game would drop in the slightest.  The cut-scenes are fully voiced, so if the random bits were axed, I don't the games would be lacking in the slightest.

The most recent experience that comes to mind was my playing Tiny Metal on Nintendo Switch last night.  Every time you do anything with a unit, move, attack, anything, the unit speaks a quick line of dialogue.  Because every single turn consists of moving units to advance, attack, capture buildings, etc., you hear these handful of phrases over and over again ("Ready to Roll", etc).  I like Tiny Metal very much, just as I did Advance Wars which inspired it.  But even my wife who wasn't paying attention to the screen, but overheard the game, commented "wow, that's going to get annoying fast".  Imagine a Transformers game where you control Optimus Prime and he has to say "Autobots, roll out" before every single time he moves.  It would be cool the first couple of times, but surely it would wear out it's welcome very quickly.  (Maybe there is a Transformers game that actually does do this, I don't know)

So, why do developers feel the need to insert these bits of audible speech in to games where the novelty wears thin rather quickly?  Is it because of a perceived notion that because of the year and tech, a game without this would be perceived as somehow lacking or primitive?  Sometimes less is more.  Do you think developers are overthinking it, or am I just easily annoyed?



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Agreed. I hate stupid talks over combat as well.



I hate voice acting (in a real language) in games.

1 Most voice actors doing games suck at it

2 In games in a fantasy or sci-fi setting having every one speak english/japanese/german/french etc breaks immersion tremendously. If you voice act use a made up language (like klingon or dothraki) or just jibberish (witch signals that a strange language is spoken) like in zeldas up to BotW

3 Germans, russians, arabs, that speak english in a situation where they clearly would speak their own language breaks immersion (the same goes for movies)


Im from a non english speaking country that have subtitles on all foregin movies. Subtitles breaks immersion less than an ailen speaking english with an american accent.



Spindel said:
I hate voice acting (in a real language) in games.

1 Most voice actors doing games suck at it

2 In games in a fantasy or sci-fi setting having every one speak english/japanese/german/french etc breaks immersion tremendously. If you voice act use a made up language (like klingon or dothraki) or just jibberish (witch signals that a strange language is spoken) like in zeldas up to BotW

3 Germans, russians, arabs, that speak english in a situation where they clearly would speak their own language breaks immersion (the same goes for movies)


Im from a non english speaking country that have subtitles on all foregin movies. Subtitles breaks immersion less than an ailen speaking english with an american accent.

1.  There are good voice actors, and bad.  So, I don't blanket hate voice acting, because sometimes it is done really well.  I think it depends on the company doing the hiring and where there focus is.  Atlus doesn't try to be a technical graphics powerhouse, so they make sure everything including the voice acting comes off as nicely polished.  Square Enix on the other hand seems to go all in on graphics while not caring how cringe worthy the voice actors they hire sound.

2.  Yes, "Star Wars:  Knights of the Old Republic" would be another perfect example of this being used well.

3.  Movies require a suspension of disbelief in the first place, so accents never really bothered me as long as the actor is good.  I love the movie "The Hunt For Red October".  I've seen dozens of times.  Never once did it bother me that Sean Connery is a Scotsman playing a Russian submarine captain.  Same with Mel Gibson playing William Wallace in "Braveheart".  If it's a great actor, I don't really care if they are able to hide their native accents.  It doesn't pull me out of the story in the least.  A more recent example is "In the Heart of the Sea".  Chris Hemsworth took a heap of criticism for being an Australian playing a first mate from Nantucket.  Should he only be allowed to play Australians?  I loved that movie, and I'm glad I saw it in the theater.

- I don't mind reading sub-titles in foreign films.  It's not a deal breaker for me.  But, I don't prefer it either.  Sometimes I feel like I'm concentrating more on reading off the screen than I am focusing on watching the actual movie, which is a disservice to the visual medium.



That's why good games have proper audio menus.



If you demand respect or gratitude for your volunteer work, you're doing volunteering wrong.

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Jeez what a weird thing to complain out. Yes it is you getting annoyed over literally nothing.



"Say what you want about Americans but we understand Capitalism.You buy yourself a product and you Get What You Pay For."  

- Max Payne 3

I hate voice actors that talk slow and no way to click through. If the option is there I put on subtitles and read ahead and click on. They don't really need to record more than the first few words of every sentence...

That's one issue I have with Skyrim VR, no subtitles, very wordy npcs, I just click through it and decipher what it's about from the responses I get to choose from or the quest synopsis afterwards. Maybe once you can actually talk back and have a real conversation it might be immersive. At the start it was still cool to watch the person talking in VR, yet after 120 hours play time, just get to the point already!

Okami got really annoying with the fake talk. (plus the person who thought up slow appearing text should be shot. I'm not in grade 2 anymore) Sims was alright though, picture balloon conversations are much more efficient. Dune 2 used to drive my parents crazy. Micro management RTS, every unit you click on "reporting" "yes sir" etc. constantly.



It reminds me of a game I played very recently, Divinity Original Sin 2, were the narrator spoke every single line through the game and made me wonder why did they pay for this bland old guy to voice over descriptive text when the late acts felt incomplete.



 

 

 

 

 

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Some games have unnecessary dialogue and pieces of written information thrown in to try make the game immersive, but to me alot of it is pointless and just distracts from the game. Currently playing through dishonoured 2, pointless stuff here and there