Talking Heads Qu’est-ce que c’est?

August 5, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 9 Comments
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Arenanet strikes again with the second blog post in one week. Tonight, again posted rather late, an article that gives us an insight into the voice over work, writing, and dialogues of Guild Wars 2.

In the past Arenanet has reasonably described their MMO as extensively voiced, pulling up short where other MMOs tend to speak in grand hype. Star Wars: The Old Republic boasts their MMO is 100% voiced, but I think we all know a lot of that is going to be random, repeated, alien languages that nobody can understand anyway. Nevertheless Guild Wars 2 has boasted that there won’t be quest markers, there will be people yelling out to you to get your attention, so I’ve been waiting for something like this.

That doesn’t stop them from bragging a little bit, at least in this blog post.

we’re crossing that proverbial picket line into the 21st century and giving our characters voices. Entire cities of them.

I’ve heard some examples of their sound effects previously. The GDC videos had music and ambiance. The skill videos had sound effects and voice overs. I even think there was a couple of specific examples of sound effects given way back, I can’t recall. What I have noticed is, I admit, it does sound pretty good.

Featuring, in the role of Zhaitan, Liam Nieson, because he's in everything

That was all before I heard the sound file they have at the blog. Go ahead and check it out. Its just a couple of paragraphs with a guy reading over it, but it gives me confidence in their story telling abilities, and their technical skill, when you hear that does it not?

More bragging.

We’re voicing the equivalent of more than 60 feature-length films

Of course most of that is spread out, but I don’t doubt a game would require that much voicing.

There’s another clip, played for comic effect, about old-style dialogue, people speaking in arcane forms of English, but, I don’t know I kind of like a little forsooth sometimes. Maybe I want to tell my female companions “Get thee to a nunnery!” at some point. Arenanet! Thou villainous abominable misleader of youth!

That brings up a question. You got any foreign voice over action going on Arenanet? Just what are Spanish, French, German, and other nationalities going to be hearing?

I should see about getting those audio clips added to this post.

Anyway. Time for me to Run run run run run run run away
fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa



  1. Great. Now I want to make a character called Sir Robin the Brave, and his pet, Hapless Bard. “He bravely ran away!”

    • it was more a reference to a talking heads song, but i like python too

  2. Is it ok now to expect two posts a week? Cause I am going to now.

    I love sound, and I love to hear that the game is going this way. It’s amazing how much it adds to the feel of a game. A decent sense of time is important too; nothing like to clock tower chiming away on the hour and the lights going down when your playing at dusk.

    They should map the whether in parts of the world to particular locations too; that would be cool.

    • yeah they’re definitely working significantly towards immersion.

  3. weather, dam it weather. oh to spell

  4. It was my concern about the non-English chatter/voice acting as well. I wonder if that is why they claim as many hours of voice acting as they do. Also, will they continue to have subtitles available? I recall hearing Tasha saying something about it on one of the Relics podcasts. I mean, ANet is trying to reach a lot more gamers, but a lot of gamers a) don’t speak English as their first language, or b) are deaf (ok, so there prolly aren’t a lot of deaf gamers, but there are definitely some out there).

    • i don’t expect them to cater to absolutely everybody but people who don’t speak english might just get super disappointed here.

  5. On one hand I am really looking forward to the audio in GW2, what with the voice acting, sound effects, and of course Jeremy Soules music. It sounds like they are really doing a bang up job on it all.

    On the other hand I am a little concerned about this emphasis on audio for the sake of immersion. I am sure they are going to have multiple languages, at the very least subtitled. But I have to agree with Jason, how are they accomidating those with hearing deficiencies?
    Even though they may break immersion somewhat, there is something to be said for those little green exclamation marks and walls of dialog text. They serve as visual cue’s for people who may need them. I imagine there will be a range that your character has to be within in order to hear the npc’s shouting for your attention. Are the npc’s going to be jumping up and down waving their arms at us as well? I think without visual indicators as well as audio it will be rather easy to miss stuff unless you feel like running up to each and every npc in town looking for things to do.
    I dunno maybe these concerns are all unfounded I just keep imagining a really crowded town square full of shouting npc’s mixing with the ambient sounds and music. While it may be immersive and make the place seem alive and buzzing with activity it also seems it would make things a bit confusing.
    This also begs the question, if the towns are persistent rather than instanced will we be able to activate skills in town? That would just add to the mess, not to mention if we have audible emotes aswell.

    And lastly though it is not a big concern for me as I dont use it much. How is all this emphasis on audio going to play out for all those die hard voice chat users?

    I dunno, like I said I am all for the depth of audio that they are obviously going to have, but at the same time I see a lot of reasons to have those visual analogues aswell.

    • they have said there are visual cues i’m pretty sure.

      as much as i sympathize for the disabled, i really can’t blame anet for pushing forward their ability to make great stories and games even if it leaves some people behind. they can’t cater to everyone, but i’m sure they’ll do their best to include as many people as possible.

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