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Joel McDonald
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So from the dev side of things, I see a couple key issues. First is that characters in video games are simply not generally very well developed or fleshed out by the developers. Compound to this the fact that many game stories, and thus, characterizations, are not done in-house. Therefore you've got the story being treated as an out-sourced deliverable with different "deliveries" appearing throughout the dev cycle. This inevitably leads to a pretty loose coupling between characters and story. Now this entire time, game development is trucking along--levels are being built, events are being fleshed out. All of this helps support the story as a chronological series of events. But again, because of the loose coupling (main characters are essentially interchangeable), this leaves any kind of characterization out of the picture. As matador said, it's hard to get decent performances with just dialog. The other problem I perceive is that there still seems to be this social stigma about video games as kids play things. I call it the "Saturday morning cartoon" syndrome, wherein people, especially those outside the industry, tend to have a certain tainted perception of video games and what they are supposed to be. In the case of voice acting, it's not that they aren't capable of giving a good performance, it is that, from their point of view, they *are* giving a good performance catered towards what they perceive to be the intended audience--in this case, children. Regardless of the *actual* audience for the video game, there still seems to be subconscious outdated views that many people have towards video games that could possibly affect their performances.
Toggle Commented Apr 10, 2009 on Voicing concern at Brainy Gamer
1 reply
I've yet to play Far Cry 2 (it's next on my list), but, having read all the reviews, interviews, and analysis on it, I'm both excited and scared. For the exact reasons in your anaylsis, Michael, I'm fearful that I simply won't care for the narrative or the characters. Reading through the comments here, it sounds like Nihilism is a common theme that people have been extracting from playing the game. While I can understand the importance of getting a message like that across, I can't help but think that this directly conflicts with the ludic elements of the game, of which, meaningful progression is a core underlying trait. I recently stopped playing STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl, after only playing for a few hours, for the very same reason as Michael cites above--not caring. I simply didn't care about any of the other characters in the game and, more importantly, I didn't care about the protagonist. This lead to me not caring about the missions and side-missions that I received. If a game is going to provide a non-linear, choose-your-own-adventure experience then it, first and foremost, must make the player care about the world which he has been dropped into.
Toggle Commented Mar 4, 2009 on Cold jungle at Brainy Gamer
1 reply