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Sony's deBeer: Use Voice Actors, Not Celebrities In Your Games

Talking as part of an in-depth Gamasutra interview posted today, Sony dialog manager Greg deBeer (God Of War series) has been advocating for dedicated voice ac
Talking as part of an in-depth Gamasutra interview posted today, Sony dialog manager Greg deBeer (God Of War series) has been discussing actor choices for games, advocating for dedicated voice actors and personally suggesting games should "stay away from celebrity talent". When deBeer, who aids many of the dialog-utilizing Sony projects in production, including the recent Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, was asked whether he thinks voice actors or regular actors are the best way to go, he noted: "Absolutely voice actors. In general, my recommendation is to stay away from celebrity talent. My personal reasoning for that -- which I've discussed with a lot of people, and a lot of people disagree with me -- is for me, hearing an identifiable celebrity voice takes you away from the game. Instead of being immersed in this environment with these characters who are supposed to be a part of whatever world you're playing, you say, "Oh, I recognize that voice," and it brings you back into the real world. It's a very disruptive experience for me personally. I also find, in many cases, celebrities are used to a very specific way of being dealt with and dealing with production, and voice over is very different from that. And game voice over is different from just straight animation or ADR or something in a film setting. There are some actors that can handle it very well, but I've found that more often than not, the more exposure they've had in the film world, the less they are able to cope in these situations." When the interviewer continued by musing how easy it is to do audio-only contributions to an unseen game when regular actors are used to a full film production, deBeer suggested: "Yeah, I think it's hard for someone who's done a lot of film and isn't really mentally willing or able to make that shift over to games, because they just aren't as invested in the character as they would be in the film. They're not in-costume. They're not on-set. They have to get into the character in a very short period of time, and without the weeks and months of rehearsals and preps and script-readings, it's a very difficult thing to do. You need to have that very specific mindset to do that, and someone who is a professional voice actor, who basically does most of their work in games, is going to be much better at doing that." You can now read the full Gamasutra interview on the subject, including lots more specifics about how dialog for games has advanced majorly in the past few years, as well as many specifics on the actual recording of voice for major Sony titles.

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