Voice acting for video games

Voice acting for video games

Although I come from a very traditional acting background (trained at Mountview in London in the mid 90s) I used to generally shy away from character projects in voiceover. That’s odd I know!

Not these days, and when a project comes along that needs it, I kick back into full on ‘actor mode’. This is one of those projects:  Voicing for a video game.

Carbon Studio were producing a new VR game for the global and massive Warhammer brand called Tempestfall. Over a few months, in addition to voicing one of the main characters ‘Celestant Prime’ I also provided the in-game dialogue for a number of other wildly varied characters.

There’s a Warhammer/Games Workshop near where I live and I’d always noticed their displays of stunningly painted models and the tabletop gaming definitely has an appeal (we are avid board-gamers in our house!).

Strangely, for the Christmas before booking the job I received an Age of Sigmar starter set with the models and paints etc. The painting is far more difficult than I’d thought and needless to say, my first efforts have been pretty poor!

I’ve recorded narrations and trailers for many other games in the past but not a huge amount of in-game dialogue.

Voicing for a video game remotely

Although lots of video game voice acting gets recorded in studios on both sides of the pond with creative teams all in the same room together, the pandemic has somewhat changed this. I run a fully pro studio and have done for years.

Therefore I can be trusted to deliver audio at the same quality as the on-site studio in a gaming development house or similar. For this project, we didn’t even connect for direction which was fine with me and gave me free rein to ‘play’.

Unlike other projects, where you get to see and work on the whole script, in a video game you generally just see your lines. You’re given a context and written direction and many video games are produced in this way. I’ve just recorded another (typically hands-tied by an NDA so can’t mention the title!) and all of the in-game dialogue was recorded in a similar way.

Working on a video game project is more time-consuming that much of my other work. You’ve really got to do your own research. I read up on the characters and luckily Warhammer has such a depth of material to draw from. I also looked at fan art and videos on YouTube. I wanted to be prepared for the session.

Even if you don’t get a full character history, you need to make one up and know as much about your character as possible. Make bold decisions. If they are wrong then the studio will tell you!

The video game industry is gigantic and it’s fun to get involved. I’m a gamer to some extent and some of my favourite titles include Skyrim, Days Gone and Sniper Elite 4. I’m a PlayStation guy but I’ve been playing games since around 1982, starting on the Atari VCS!

Voice has come to play a major part in modern video games. For me, the acting can make or break a game. I’ve actually stopped playing certain games because the voice acting is so cringey and one-dimensional!  Voice acting for video games requires the actor to commit just like they would for a stage show or making a movie.

I’m currently playing Horizon Zero Dawn (Video Game 2017) – IMDb and Ashly Burch who plays the lead is fantastic. It’s also got JB Blanc (as Rost), whom I interviewed a couple of years ago.

Anyhow, for next Christmas I’m going to ask for the Elder Scrolls board game…..then obviously that means I’ll be doing more voice acting for video games in the sequel to Skyrim!

If you are working on a project and think I might be a fit then please drop me a line.

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