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Feature: 'Hollywood Sound: Part Three'

In today's main Gamasutra feature, and our third and final look at Hollywood sound integration into video games, Rob Bridgett, sound director at Radical Entertainment in ...
In today's main Gamasutra feature, and our third and final look at Hollywood sound integration into video games, Rob Bridgett, sound director at Radical Entertainment in Vancouver, Canada takes a look at production values and how Hollywood voice acting is playing a growing role in video game development. In the part of the feature focusing on modern voice-related issues, Bridgett explains: "The sudden influx of Hollywood talent from all corners of the production environment; dialogue, animation, visual effects, and music composition, implies a large increase in production value. However, there are still some areas where the skill-sets haven't quite ported over as successfully as others. The music composition side is working out well, with new structural languages being defined to accommodate already existing composer's models and work flow. The dialogue side, on the other hand, seems to have been in a transitional phase despite the occasional caliber of GTA voice talent; however, over the last five or so years this has started to change. The changes are very much down to how well the writer understands the needs of gameplay, and how much money is invested in actors who can make the lines come to life while incorporating a degree of improvisation. Currently an audience seeing the cinematic trailers flaunted by next generation titles are expecting nothing less than a motion picture experience from a video game that cost around $60. The notion of getting properly trained and paid actors onto an interactive project is still a relatively new thing for most developers to deal with. Around ten years ago game developers tended to get their friends in to do the voices for game characters, or to employ cheap local student talent, both of which, while cost effective for production, would invariably undermine the believability of the finished product, and more often than not result in the long-term failure of the game. This attitude, to some extent, still exists in some dark corners of game development, with those who don't understand audio and its relationship to immersion and all other aspects of gameplay." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject, including musings on early '80s game storytelling through audiotapes all the way to current Hollywood paradigms (no registration required, please feel free to link to the article from external websites).

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