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Various developers comment on Octopath Traveler's decision to go with partially-voiced dialog

Those who are playing Octopath Traveler know that the game uses voiceover for some of the dialog, while things remain quiet for other moments. On top of that, you'll hear a character speak lines that are different from what the text on-screen is. There are also moments when dialog is voiced by simple character utterances, like grunts or sighs. Wondering why a developer might choose to go this route? So was Game Informer, which is why they reached out on Twitter to scrounge up some possible explanations. Here's what Jos Hendriks, a senior level designer at BioWare, had to say.

"1. Money (VO budget) 2. Time (implementation) 3. Memory (loading conversation files) 4. Scalability of content (if every line is subject to VO, less content can be made because of the costs associated) 5. Same filesize (every little bit matters)."

I'm sure all those reasons above apply, but I think there's one that some devs might not be considering. Taking this approach to voicing dialog, where some lines are voiced and others get smaller noises/phrases is a very Nintendo-style approach. Nintendo loves to do that kind of thing. They emphasize certain words/phrases/sounds with special dialog. I wouldn't be surprised if Square-Enix wanted to take that approach to fit in better with what Nintendo fans are used to.

Categories: Interviews, Consoles

Comments

Top Rated Comment
hinph
Tue Jul 17 18 05:50pm
Rating: 5

The voice acting isn't bad, but I enjoy the game so much more with the voices off. I prefer to just listen to the nice music and imagine the character voices in my head.

Tales of Symphonia did this too.

Which of the companies actually localized the game though?

Gotta admit, Nintendo's stance on voice acting is something i really don't like about them ... Sad

Let's say a voice of a character doesn't jive well with some people. It could turn them off to the whole game even if has amazing gameplay. Same with Link, if he had been given a voice would he have lasted this long?

I understand those concerns - still, I personally even prefer bad voice acting (of which there is plenty in german dubbed games) over no voice acting. Smile

But I prefer no voice acting over "some sentences are dubbed, some not, sometimes it's just grunts."

Fair enough. It just seems like one other reason may be using actors and actresses could add some development time and extra resources to the project. For Breath of the Wild I wonder how much additional time was added just to fit in voice.acting. If done right I'm all for voice acting, I just don't find it something that's worth the extra effort if the game is already taking forever to make.

hinph
Tue Jul 17 18 05:50pm
Rating: 5

The voice acting isn't bad, but I enjoy the game so much more with the voices off. I prefer to just listen to the nice music and imagine the character voices in my head.

The only part of this game that I think is missing VO is the travel banter.

The game already feels lacking in character interaction so much, especially being inspired by classic story-driven JRPGs like FE6. You collect all the characters like Pokemon with no real context for why a career thief would be joining an orphaned cleric, etc. And then when they do finally interact it's in optional unlocked supports on a generic, vignetted background.

Anyway it turns out some of the best character writing in the game is in those travel banters, so I was disappointed not to hear any of them in the characters' voices.

sgtfly
Tue Jul 17 18 06:55pm
Rating: 1

I think voice acting was a bad fit for this game, it's kind of just an awkward clash with the SNES-style art, the english voice acting in particular is so cheesy and awful.

Nah, Nintendo's traditional approach has generally been to have next to no voice acting at all, bar some grunts or tiny grunts and sayings. And in this day and age it's very outdated. It was a necessity years ago because of hardware limitations, that excuse is gone now.

I'd say lack of money is the reason why this game has limited voice acting. It's made by one of Square Enix's smaller development teams. I think whether this game succeeds or not is a test for future and bigger games from them. Nintendo are pushing the game hard as well for that reason. It's also to show some effort to other developers thinking about whether or not to make games for Switch.

Personally, I'd rather they had no real voice acting. I think the speech bubbles work just fine.

This doesn't bother me one bit. I haven't started Octopath yet, but once I do the first thing I'll do is turn the voice volume off so that I don't have to deal with the annoying problem of reading faster than the VA takes to finish their line.

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