GWJ Conference Call Episode 341

Conference Call

Injustice: Gods Among Us, Dishonored: Knife of Dunwall DLC, Battle Block Coop, Voice Acting in Gaming, Unions, Your Emails and More!

What's in a voice? The growing importance of voice acting and keeping talent in the industry.

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind. You can even send a 30 second audio question or comment (MP3 format please) if you're so inclined.

Chairman_Mao's Timestamps
00.01.32 Injustice: Gods Among Us
00.14.24 Battleblock Theater
00.19.09 Dark Souls
00.22.39 Dishonored: Knife of Dunwall DLC (possible spoilers)
00.31.53 This week's topic: voice acting!
00.54.47 Your emails!

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Span (Malcos Remix) - BigBot Audio Drop - SGX - http://sgxmusic.com/ - 31:30

Push Anyway - BigBot Audio Drop - SGX - http://sgxmusic.com/ - 54:19

Comments

Knife of Dunwall, purchased. Can't wait to jump back in.

thinkklinck wrote:

Knife of Dunwall, purchased. Can't wait to jump back in.

You won't regret it, it's a really solid chunk of game. The first level in particular was really outstanding (and yes, pretty gruesome).

disagree with the assertion that the voice acting hurt SWTOR. Voice acting was one of the highlights.

I think there's a whole big discussion to be had on voice acting. One resource that's really interesting re: how the whole thing works is Rob Paulsen's podcast, Talkin' Toons - it's an interview show, for the most part, but he goes into the economics, and what sessions are like quite often. He's had Jennifer Hale, Steve Blum, Nolan North, Mark Hamill, etc..

ranalin wrote:

disagree with the assertion that the voice acting hurt SWTOR. Voice acting was one of the highlights.

I think I agree with you at the end of the day, but I like to imagine how much better SWTOR could have been if they'd taken the resources put into voice acting and used them to design a better game. I really wanted TOR to be phenomenal.

Glad to hear Dark Souls continuing to get run. Regarding which is tougher, Demon's or Dark, I think the community is actually pretty divided on which one is harder. I personally found Demon's a bit harder, only because the healing items were limited and if you didn't use them intelligently, you could put yourself up a creek. Some of the hardest combat encounters are probably in Dark Souls, but with the Estus Flask, at least you have a healing system that allows you to experiment and die over and over.

I hardly ever play games a 2nd time, and I think I'm on my 8th playthrough of Dark Souls. If anyone wants any tips or a co-op partner on PS3, feel free to add or message me (Drew327)

For fun, here is my Mt. Rushmore:
Baldur's Gate 2, Mario 64, Contra, Everquest

Hey Shawn, You and I briefly met the individual responsible for overseeing the VO in Bioshock Infinite at the Tamo bar during PAX East this year. PM me if you want the contact info.

RE: Battleblock Theatre, it's delightful. The grading system has me replaying levels and improving my in-game skills a lot. I'm on section 4 and I have A++'s on all but 2-3 levels and those I quit at A. I think it's a great sign is the only concern was the number of poop jokes.

My choices for a video game Mt. Rushmore:

A space invader, Pac-Man, Pitfall Harry and the original Doom marine.

On the subject of the importance of voice acting, Heavy Rain immediately came to mind. I've always been curious about the strange casting choices in that game. Was it a budgetary issue (or maybe just convenience) that led to them casting European actors and forcing them to take their best shots at an American accent? In a game so focused on story and character, I found the distracting voice work very detrimental to the overall experience.

Shouldn't have that problem with Beyond: Two Souls from the looks of things, though. Really looking forward to that one!

Certis wrote:

Skyrim is the Storage Wars of video games

Best quote of the entire episode.

You guys could talk about Dark Souls every episode. I can't wait to get home and download the fix. I have been playing this game almost exclusively for over a month, and I have been struggling to keep my brother's interest. Hopefully this helps.

Mount Gamemore:

Tetris block - Mobile gaming really started here on the game boy
Pacman - First big cabinet game I can think of
Mario - No need to explain
Farmville - Casual gaming really started here.

In the tutorial mode for Injustice, you can press pause and choose to skip the move you are practicing. I find that out after spending a long time trying to get my old man hands to do a particular combination.

It would helpful for the tutorials to give more information as to why you did not connect with a combo. "Too fast" or "too slow" would at least be more useful than "Nope!"

Was great to have Graham back, but I'll have you know, Mr. Rowat that women can also enjoy fighting games such as Gods Among Us.

"I'm in a beta which shall not be named" (Certis) Hmmm... Let me guess, would that be Elder Scrolls Online? Because if it is a whole bunch of us are gonna strap you down and tickle the information out of you!

Glad to hear all the positive feedback on the Knife of Dunwall DLC, it's really great that they decided to take the "different character" approach. I've yet to buy or play Dishonored (I will, I really want to, but that would require a rig upgrade I'll have to reschedule for autumn), but from what I gathered, the main game told a story which had a beginning, a middle and an end, so to speak. Adding Corvo centric DLC would really make it fell, well, tacked on.

Definitely looking forward to hearing more about Dark Souls!!

About SW:TOR ans its voice acting... *sigh* Its voice acting was good, but like you guys, I feel they should've improved other aspects of the game. I played about 4 hours of the game, and it wasn't the voice acting that put me off, but its unappealing mechanics.

Link with a voice?? That'd be like giving Gordon Freeman a voice! Blasphemy!

Mount Rushmore or rather Gamemore... (credit goes to mudbunny) That's a hard but really interesting question!... I'm confused, are we putting characters or games themselves? If it's characters, I'd go with Mario, Sonic, Link and maybe Kratos. Which is weird, because I've never owned a console. If we're naming four cornerstone games, I'd go with Zork, Baldur's Gate 2, Warcraft and SimCity (the first one ). Or Elder Scrolls (Morrowind was the first that really made a splash, I guess). Or StarCraft instead of Warcraft. Or maybe Doom or Counterstrike should be up there. Oh gosh, so hard to decide!!!

Creation and cooperation. What a great note to finish on!! I could not agree more, this is definitely the mindset I'm in today. I'm having more fun playing online with other goodjers than anything else, I'm enjoying crafting skills, and while there still is a bit of killing involved (gotta defend the Krytan nation!), it's a lot more fun doing it with other players, combing our skills to get combos, etc. And the funny thing is that the gamer I was two or three years ago wouldn't recognize or necessarily understand the gamer I am today. To quote a certain Mr. Sands, "Things Change."

Duoae wrote:

With regards to Eleima's email.

Credit where credit's due, that wasn't my email, but Padmewan's (not sure about spelling).
[size=8]The only e-mail I ever sent in was one of the many "OMG, how do you guys find time for gaming?!?".[/size]

Eleima wrote:
Duoae wrote:

With regards to Eleima's email.

Credit where credit's due, that wasn't my email, but Padmewan's (not sure about spelling).
[size=8]The only e-mail I ever sent in was one of the many "OMG, how do you guys find time for gaming?!?".[/size]

Haha, You know, I think my brain just seized up because you were the last person in the comments or something. I obviously need more whisky!

With regards to Padmewan's email.

I think the next phase of violence in games (such as FPS) is less of a horde of low level AIs and more of a set of a few high level AIs where you take a whole game to take down.

You think about the difference between those old black and white violent movies where there's tens of people falling over, being gunned down and then you see how that's evolved in the years since to be more character and inter-personal conflict-focused.

Just taking Tomb Raider (2013) as an example. One of the things I thought whilst playing it is how much better it would have been if there were only 20-30 enemies who take a lot to take down and you only face one, maybe two at a time. You'd have to use the environment and your wits against them to defeat and stop them from retreating when you have the upper hand. Instead we have a meat-grinder of epic proportions (like most current violent games) of AIs that only concentrate on attacking you.

The future is, or should be, about making these things more meaningful to the player instead of numbing the player's emotions to what's happening in the game.

Eleima wrote:

"I'm in a beta which shall not be named" (Certis) Hmmm... Let me guess, would that be Elder Scrolls Online? Because if it is a whole bunch of us are gonna strap you down and tickle the information out of you! :D

Wait? They have ginger ninja?! I need to get in to this beta!

Duoae wrote:

Wait? They have ginger ninja?!

Or Ginjas...

Tanglebones wrote:
Duoae wrote:

Wait? They have ginger ninja?!

Or Ginjas...

*Mind blown*

You know, I wasn't really on board with TESO but with this latest content leak (attributable to Shawn Andrich - Kotaku, Joystiq, Ars Technica and Polygon!) my interest is increasing!

Duoae wrote:

With regards to Padmewan's email.

I think the next phase of violence in games (such as FPS) is less of a horde of low level AIs and more of a set of a few high level AIs where you take a whole game to take down.

You think about the difference between those old black and white violent movies where there's tens of people falling over, being gunned down and then you see how that's evolved in the years since to be more character and inter-personal conflict-focused.

Just taking Tomb Raider (2013) as an example. One of the things I thought whilst playing it is how much better it would have been if there were only 20-30 enemies who take a lot to take down and you only face one, maybe two at a time. You'd have to use the environment and your wits against them to defeat and stop them from retreating when you have the upper hand. Instead we have a meat-grinder of epic proportions (like most current violent games) of AIs that only concentrate on attacking you.

The future is, or should be, about making these things more meaningful to the player instead of numbing the player's emotions to what's happening in the game.

Few specific enemies sounds like Shadow of the Colossus, except there's no real relationship with them.

I wonder how much better they could make Uncharted by reducing the number of total enemies/antagonists to 25 or less instead of 25 henchmen at each encounter.

As a native South Dakotan, I really enjoy that someone's email slipped Mt. Rushmore into a discussion in a meaningful way. Especially to hear Canadians talking about it.

mrtomaytohead wrote:

Few specific enemies sounds like Shadow of the Colossus, except there's no real relationship with them.

I wonder how much better they could make Uncharted by reducing the number of total enemies/antagonists to 25 or less instead of 25 henchmen at each encounter.

No, no. You misunderstand me - and SoTC. Each "enemy" in SoTC is a level and puzzle, not an individual enemy. You never fight an enemy in SoTC you only fight the environment - albeit the environment is moving around!

What I mean is that a good game could be one where your character might be surviving against the environment, mastering it, escaping from strong but limited, human enemies and then mastering them and then using your previously mastered skills against them to defeat them in a sort of Die Hard style.

[edit] ... And now I want to watch Die Hard! Good going, brain... It isn't even Christmas!

Cory's assertion that "all software development is like that" when referring to the insane crunches and wild swings of the gaming industry is not true at all. "All poorly managed software development is like that" would be a valid statement, however. I've worked for some well-run development shops where things are planned out realistically, and prolonged crunches NEVER occur.

The crux of the issue is probably that game development studios often declare a release season/month YEARS in advance. It's impossible to estimate the cost/time of even a small project accurately - to pretend that you can guess the release date for a complex game years in advance is an exercise in corporate stupidity... and is sadly endemic is game development culture.

Game studios should take a "it will be released when it is done approach", and stop forcing their employees into life-destroying working conditions - it will make for a better product in the end.

Keithustus wrote:

As a native South Dakotan, I really enjoy that someone's email slipped Mt. Rushmore into a discussion in a meaningful way. Especially to hear Canadians talking about it.

I feel so used.

What AndrewA said above is what I was trying to get at with my question on the podcast. As a freelance software developer myself, I've worked on on both well managed projects and very very poorly managed ones.

In my experience, most developers just don't know how these projects should be run. And many who do figure it out don't really start to do so until they're in their 30's or later. If you're not in the games industry by that point, it's pretty hard to break in... Or at least that's my experience

Given all that.... I have to think that it would be pretty difficult for development processes in the games industry to evolve. I'd love to be wrong, of course.

For anyone who hasn't watched a Demon's Souls speedrun, they are amazing.

I dunno about the rest of it, but I feel like Mount Gamesmore needs the Lantern from Zork somewhere. Either that or, in text, "It is dark, you are likely to be eaten by a grue."

I keep getting excited about the grown-up but still slightly uninhibited discussions on the GWJ conference call. As an older gamer with a job that requires introspection and sensitivity to social difference, most of gaming culture and discourse feels raw and alienating. GWJ seems different; the way that everyone on the podcast seemed to get behind the goal of eliminating sexist language and the tacit acceptance of discriminatory representations of women was really exciting.

Then Cory came back, and in reference to the idea of someone doing a deathless speed run of Dark Souls, dropped the following: "Interesting fact, the person who did that has never touched a boob."

Great. Thanks for the return to the frat house, and a reminder, through the set of assumptions inherit in the joke, that gamers are necessarily not women and not gay. It's all about tits and bros and killing sh*t. I guess we're back in the 90s, dudes. Oh well.