In Game Dialogue

Share your ideas and thoughts for the game with the community and team.
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evilkinggumby
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Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:53 pm

I'm curious what backers would like to see (or rather, HEAR) in the game. Would you prefer voice actors and fully voiced dialogue? Animal sounds and subtitles for speech? No dialogue at all and just an implied sense of story?

Also, if there were voices of some kind, should the main character be unvoiced/silent and other characters speak? (quiet as a mouse, hehehe).

If there is voice acting, what language would you love to see GOAT translated to?

Just some stuff to ponder and speculate :)
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david
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Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:59 am

This is an interesting question, at the moment Seith hasn't completely decided yet.

To quote voice actor Magnus Holvold: "Some games are stronger for having no vocals, as it leaves both the developers and the audience freer to create and imagine without the barrier of an actor interpreting the text. Others, I couldn't imagine without their fantastic voices."
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Pulsar
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Sat Jul 06, 2013 9:30 am

Unfortunately I would like the most expensive option of full voicing, I like the anthropomorphism of the animals and so I would like them to speak like humans (with a suitable voice reflecting their animal features ie the mouse being small and squeaky or a frog being 'croaky').
Gab_dC
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Sun Jul 07, 2013 6:29 am

I personally feel this game would benefit from no dialogue. The story and history of the island could be told through the environment and items. Possibly item descriptions, ala Dark Souls.
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evilkinggumby
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Sun Jul 07, 2013 5:18 pm

Gab_dC wrote:I personally feel this game would benefit from no dialogue. The story and history of the island could be told through the environment and items. Possibly item descriptions, ala Dark Souls.
I actually think since this is a small project and may only be created by a handful of people (or possibly just Seith) by the end of it's development we may end up with what you are talking about.

Looking at the original campaign description, Seith mentions this:
Game-wise the inspirations could be found in the early "Zelda" games, "Ico", the "Gothic" series and "Dark Souls".
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Now one common string between these games (except maybe Gothic, though I haven't played those) is that they make heavy use of visual storytelling. There is on screen text at times, but most of the characters and story end up existing through how the characters emote and what happens within the scenes. I almost suspect a degree of what we saw with Ico or Shadow of the Colossus will end up in the narrative, as you slowly grow to understand what the situation is (revolving around the mouse main character). Early scenes displaying the origins of the character, family, children, friends, lifestyle, etc are likely going to give us a sense of who the character is and endear us to them. Then the situation/plot will start and we'll end up fighting for (and as) the mouse in hopes to see resolution. If he sticks with a fairly simple plot/core story telling style (which, considering his inspiration for kids stories, I would sort of expect it) it should be fairly possible to do a complete (and even complexly layered) narrative without any dialogue.

The upside is if he has a really well conceived and planned story, this could make for a enriching, emotional, and amazing experience that has to be played to be understood (sort of like Journey on the PS3) .

But if he has a predictable, half baked, or overly simplified story, it could destroy an otherwise good looking game. It's a subtle and difficult line he'll have to dance, and I pray he does it as well as everyone wants to see him do.

SO I personally COULD see it unvoiced, maybe with just basic verbal cues (grunts, strains, shouts and squeals for combat and movement and stuff). I would be ok hearing subtle noises from the main character, heck even going with stomach grumbling noises to let you know if you need to eat to heal or to survive. Softly pausing to yawn when the character gets tired. Sneezing if it gets sick or diseased/fatigued in a rainstorm (ok, if weather occurred, no guarantee's there).

But if he went for fully voiced and acted characters, there is a whole different line to dance. Then you have to employ full-character fleshing out, establishing strong personality, dialogue that pops and ultimately, GREAT voice acting to make it all work. If it is done well (say, Secret of Nymh) it can really make for memorable and fun/beloved characters. If it is done shoddy it can shoot the project in the foot entirely.

Both side has risks.

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If going with a visual storytelling angle meant more money and time to focus on gameplay, animation, environments, and overall a larger richer game, I'd be more akin to that then shortening the game to budget in dialogue and voice acting. But that's me. Honestly either way I would be happy to play it :)
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david
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Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:34 am

There certainly are strong arguments for non-voiced and voiced approaches.

Personally, I suspect that Seith will lean towards an unvoiced approach, with the environment and objects telling the story, perhaps not even text dialogue (as Gab and EvilKing suggest). Certainly, early Zelda and Ico are some of Seith's influences. He has certainly mentioned (the awesome) Journey to me a couple of times too. :mrgreen:

To do a fully-voiced game properly is really demanding in terms of time and cost - at the moment it is just Seith... no-one else. As EvilKing suggests, it may be better to invest time/money in expanding the gameplay and environments. Some games are better without voice, and this may be the case with GoaT. I agree it would be great to hear some zippy dialogue, with mouse/frog/rat/crab voices, characteristics and personalities though :D

Does anyone have any thoughts about a narrator (remember how terrific that was in Bastion)?
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evilkinggumby
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Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:59 am

david wrote:
Does anyone have any thoughts about a narrator (remember how terrific that was in Bastion)?
YES! This right here.

This would come together in the tradition of folktales, bed time stories, and oral traditions that I think goes with what Seith mentioned as well about the kids stories and some of his inspiration. I don't know if we'd NEED constant narration, but having a warm comforting, interesting narrator to imbue the story with a sense of story and feel like it's a story told to a youngin for bed. Sort of like what they do in Borderlands 1 and 2, but without the cynical humor..lol

I would be interested to see if others like this idea, and if they would like the voice of a parent, grandparent, or child narrating. :) each would change the tone a bit.
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Pulsar
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Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:49 pm

In terms of dialogue I will have to concede that full voicing would be far too expensive, however I would still really like text dialogue (with accompanying animal noises! :D ). Although of course I would still like to see more interesting, environmental storytelling.

As for the narrator, I have not played Bastion but I guess it works in Trine 2, I think it may give more of the feeling of 'watching' or participating in an adventure that has already happened rather than the feeling I would prefer of truly being the little mouse on your very own adventure!
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david
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Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:30 am

Overall, with regard to text, sound and voice dialogue, there are certainly arguments in favor of all options, I'm really not sure which direction Seith will go, and I don't think he has fully decided himself either. Of course, as you know, most of it comes down to how well these choices are executed.

Pulsar, as you say, animal noises, squeaks, grunts, croaks, clicks (do crabs click or something?) and so on, really would fit GoaT well for sure. Text conversations and item descriptions are certainly a possibility, because it is really challenging to let body language, the environment, and objects do all the communication.

With regard to a narrator, imho there are a few options:

None - which makes the story more immediate, just as Pulsar says, and more fresh (i.e less cliche) perhaps

Narrator - this is the standard narrator who usually 'bookends' the story at the beginning and end, maybe adding some commentary in the middle occasionally. It certainly is commonly used for 'mystical' stories, so some styles would certainly fit GoaT, as EvilKing says. After all, GoaT is a 'tale' :D

Commentator - this is a slightly different approach triggered, not just by events, but by player behavior. It worked remarkably well on Bastion, where the narrator tells the story 'live' by commentating on what the player is actually doing (it sounds terrible, and I was utterly skeptical at first, but works really, really well). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76sIu8A7Ce8
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Seith
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Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:26 am

At this point I haven't taken any decision yet but as David was saying I am leaning towards written dialogs (with maybe some vocalization a la "Banjo & Kazooie" on Nintendo64). There will be reading involved, that's a given (after all there was some reading to convey the story even in "ICO").

But at this point I don't think there will be any voice acting for the following reasons:

1) When I read some text in an RPG and I hear the text being read aloud at the same time, I find it jarring. I much prefer to read and infer the tone based on the artwork's suggested emotion rather than having to endure an often sub-par performance.

2) The voice acting would have to be absolutely excellent: I've been spoiled by years of working with performances by fantastic actors (Robert De Niro, Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, Brad Pitt, Steve Carell, etc...) and almost every time I hear "video-game acting" I am appalled. There are exceptions of course ("Uncharted", "The Last of Us", "Bastion"...), but it would be a lot of work to cast and get terrific, low-key, subtle performances out of really good actors.

Again, if the budget and workload were different, that could very well be something worth exploring.
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