The evolution of gaming voice-over
Voice-overs in gaming have gone such a long way over the last few decades. It all started with the Intellivision console, which introduced Intellivoice in the early 1980s. It was a voice synthesis device built for games with speech support. However it wasn’t a big success and was phased out shortly.
The very first game featuring human voices was Disney’s iconic „Dragon’s Lair” arcade game. Those early voice-overs were recorded by the game’s developers to avoid extra costs.
As videogames evolved and became more and more advanced, the need for a good plot, well-rounded characters with authentic personalities araised. Thanks to that, voice acting became an important part of video games.
Although today’s gaming voice-overs – well in most cases where there is sufficient funding – are sophisticated, authentic and give the characters a much-needed personality, it wasn’t always like that. The early gaming voice-overs were clumsy at best, and laughable at worst. But they definitely left us with some fun or even cringy memories.
To give you an overview of how gaming voice-overs have evolved, we collected some voice acting in video games, starting from the 90s all the way to 2020.
Watch out, the videos might contain spoilers!
Last Alert (1990)
One of the first voice-over
Last Alert is a single-player action RPG game developed in Japan and was released in 1990 in the US. It is one of the first games having voice actors featured and well…it really speaks for itself! The English version of the game is well known for its cheesy lines, and hilariously poor voice acting. They rushed translations and ended up delivering lines that are extremely specific about literally nothing. For instance: „You have learned about Colonel Kadat’s men and what they are like.” But… what are they like?! It is a mystery that remains to be unsolved till the end of time.
Believe it or not, 30 years later, this game still has a small cult revolving around it. It is quite understandable after listening to the English voice acting performance, you really have to hear it to believe it.
To salute Last Alert’s contribution to the early voice-over evolution, let us quote a classic: „People will hate you, Steve, if you’re too sting-ee!”
Diablo II (2000)
Some of the best voice acting – even to this day
The addictive hack-and-slash classic, Diablo II was released back in 2000, and it has some of the best NPC voice acting out there. Deckard Cain, Akara, Tyrael, the three Prime Evils: Mephisto, Diablo and Baal – just to mention a few, they are all memorable for the fans of the RPG classic. The immersive story telling, the variety of voices and manners of speaking, the dialouges completes the gameplay and gives the players an unique – diablo experience.
The game still remains one of the most popular RPG games decades later, no wonder, the remake – Diablo II Resurrected is already on its way!
So, wanderer, „stay awhile, and listen…”!
Mass Effect 2 (2010)
A new level of voiceover
The Mass Effect triology brought voice-overs to a brand new level. Players have the chance to shape commander Shepard’s personality by choosing his answers in dialouges. These choices not only affect the characters personality, but it also gives you different scenarios and endings based on your answer. So, commander, you might want to choose your words wisely if you want to save the galaxy!
The game has amazing dialouges, impressive character development, fun plot which grasped players attention all over the world. Despite the intense storyline, the numerous deep quotable quotes, calling a hanar diplomat a „big stupid jellyfish” is still one of the most iconic lines in the game triology!
Resident Evil 3 (2020)
From cringe to modern voice over
The first Resident Evil remake relased in 1996 gave us the real horror of…voice acting! Oh those cringy lines and poor delivery…a beautiful nostalgic memory for many of us.
However, Capcom learnt from its mistakes and really stepped its game up. No more gun descriptions like „it’s a weapon. It is really powerful, especially against living things” or lines like „it was a huge snake, and also…poisonous!” in the newer Resident Evil games. The cheesy lines remained a big part of the franchaise though! They also reused some of the infamous lines from the original Resident Evil game to bring some of those good old’ 90s memories back.
The voice acting in the new resident evil games deserve recognition, especially knowing where it all started. They put lots of effort into modernizing the character’s voice and personality but also giving nods to the original game. Evolution at its finest!
So, what has improved?
… A lot!
As you can see from our brief collection, games – together with voice acting went through massive changes in the past 30 years. The tacky, rather clumsy dialouges and the bad voice-over evolved into fun, often meaningful conversations with amazing voice acting performances.
Nowadays, voice actors of triple-A games are not only working in studios using their voices only, they also act on spot. The characters’ features, mimics and movements are often based on the voice talents’ looks. So don’t be surprised if you see some of your favourite actors and actresses in a video game form!
Are you looking for the perfect gaming voice-over? Or maybe just a voice-over for another type of project? Don’t hesitate to contact us!
With more than 20 years of experience and a highly skilled team, we can find the right voice for your project.