BioWare came out at E3 this year in full Jedi garb and told us all that they had undertaken the biggest voice acting project in the history of all MMOs, and they were not kidding. In a developer blog BioWare has been kind enough to give us all insight into the process that’s going into one of the most elaborate voice systems in any MMO. It appears to be a long and complicated process that we’re all hoping pays off in the end.
First off it should be noted that Star Wars: The Old Republic will have over ten times the amount of dialogue that Knights of the Old Republic had. The process starts as simply as you might expect with writers scribing up the scripts for the plethora of voice actors to relay. After the initial writing, the approved script gets passed off to a dialogue editor who melts the scripts down to ensure that it will produce quality voice acting. Once that editor finishes it’s then passed down to the next rung in the latter where it gets cut up and formatted for the voice actors.
Because The Old Republic’s dialogue is nonlinear, the scripts are complex, assuming all possible of the story and conversations. This also causes complexity in the recording process for every possible scenario has to be recorded. And the complexity doesn’t end there. Because characters are unique, their voices have to reflect their personalities. The way the do this is the guy approving the scripts, the Lead Writer and the Voice Over Director meet up and talk about the characters for hours on end. This ensures that come recording time, the proper moods and inflections are captured for the characters so that their personality is reflected in their voices.
Once all that is out of the way and the VO Director has a good handle on the characters, it’s time to push the actors into creating amazing performances. The actors then go in to the number of recording studios that BioWare operates in Los Angeles, New York, London, San Fransisco and Toronto, and record the dialogue that’s laid out for them. It’s then run through post processing and dumped into the game.
The process appears to be very involved and it also seems that BioWare is really dedicated to creating rich and quality dialogue. Aside from the actual process, BioWare threw out a couple of interesting facts about the voice acting project: The game has approximately 40+ novels worth of content, by the time it’s finished they will have worked with hundreds of actors and they work very hard to keep pronunciations of words like “Solo” consistent across all actors. It’s clear that this voice acting thing is no joke, and if BioWare’s other games are a tiny indicator of what’s to come, we’re pretty excited to see the result of all this hard work.