As the authors of The Outer Worlds made it so that the voices in the game are not repeated – although there are only 40 actors for 346 characters

Developers from Obsidian talked about how the scoring process went and why each companion character needed a separate screenwriter.

Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds is a great action RPG whose production, of course, was quite difficult. A particularly difficult aspect of the development was the voice acting of the characters – there are 346 individual heroes in the game, and each of them needed to choose their own voice. Yes, so that the player does not have the impression that he has been listening to the same people for hours, as is often the case in old RPGs.

GamesIndustry.biz released a lot of material on site where sound engineers and voice directors from The Outer Worlds talked about how their work went. The game had to be voiced in two cities at once, and a separate screenwriter was attached to each of the companions of the protagonist.

 

Even before recording the sound for the game, Obsidian created the necessary infrastructure for a long time – it was necessary to prepare scripts for the actors, collect castes and establish connections with recording studios.

Seven producers simultaneously did this at once.

[These producers] checked that everything went smoothly, that everything was done accurately and on time.

Justin bell

sound engineer The Outer Worlds

Quite early on, Obsidian realized that they would not be able to hire an actor for each of the 346 characters – this is impossible from a financial point of view and too difficult in terms of organization of work. It was necessary to achieve a qualitative result as little as possible.

 

For this, the developers united all the characters into groups – ethnic, gender, age. And they tried to narrow the range so that one actor could cover the maximum number of heroes.

After that, we had to understand if we had enough actors for each of the groups so that we did not have to hear the same actor over and over again. Indeed, otherwise it will break the immersion of the player.

Justin bell

sound engineer The Outer Worlds

The authors divided all the characters of The Outer Worlds into two main groups – “City” (Townies) and “Guards” (Guards). The first is a conditional “extras”, ordinary civilians with uncomplicated artificial intelligence. The second – soldiers of different corporations, more complexly programmed.

At the same time, inside the “Guards” the team responsible for the sound divided the characters into different fractions. In one faction there were heroes who somehow interacted with each other.

To make you understand how this looked: I had a huge table with each character and his attributes. Gender, faction, race and each location where he appears in the game. In this table, I looked for contacts, “hot spots” to understand how many actors we would need.

Justin bell

sound engineer The Outer Worlds

In order to prevent a situation in which two heroes voiced by one actor met in the game and started talking with each other, seven narrative designers and three location designers helped the sound engineers. Together, they were able to minimize costs so much that The Outer Worlds eventually required only 40 voice actors.

 

To speed up the process of scoring 346 characters, Obsidian hired two recording studios at once – Game On in Montreal and Talkback in Los Angeles. Accordingly, in two cities, two voice directors worked simultaneously on the game – Simon Peacock and Amanda Wyatt.

Their task was not only to follow the actors ’play, but also to constantly keep in touch with Obsidian – to share material and make sure every day that they got the right pages of the script.

Both voice directors admit that in The Outer Worlds they were primarily attracted to the script – deep and smart, not like what they used to see in games. Peacock believes that “in games it’s hard to work with humor,” but Obsidian does it. In addition, not a single joke in The Outer Worlds, in his opinion, was written just like that – each of them has a narrative meaning.

 

Peacock talks about his special approach to recording jokes – he believes that if the team is not funny when they write cues in the studio, then the player will not be funny either.

Humor should resonate upon first reading.

Simon Peacock

voice director The Outer Worlds

Therefore, he recruited actors based on whether they have a sense of humor. After all, those who take the work “too seriously” are unlikely to be able to play quite energetically and brightly.

In the script there are such remarks that when you read them on paper, they sound incredibly ridiculous – nobody says that in life. But if the actor has a sense of humor, and he is deeply immersed in the story, this replica may work in the context of the game.

Simon Peacock

voice director The Outer Worlds

 

Another voice director, Amanda Wyatt, also said that Obsidian had its own separate screenwriter for each of the player’s companion characters.

The scriptwriters literally lived with these heroes for a very long time. And they always had an answer to any of our questions.

Amanda Wyatt

voice director The Outer Worlds

Because of this, the stories of many characters turned out to be especially personal. The voice actress Ashley Birch, who gave the voice of Parvati Holcomb, says that she rarely met in games such elaboration of the storyline of an individual secondary hero.

We are used to big bets when life and death are at stake. In The Outer Worlds, everything is different – the main quest of Parvati comes down to the fact that she is trying to gain confidence and finally call a person on a date.

Ashley Birch

voice actress

 

Wyatt says industry rarely works with dubbing with the thrill that The Outer Worlds did. It is very difficult to meet such a well-thought-out working system.

You can’t imagine how often I worked on projects where the screenwriter did not even participate in the development of the game at the time of dubbing. And no one could give an answer to a simple question like “Why did she say that in that situation?”

Amanda Wyatt

voice director The Outer Worlds

Despite the fact that the employees of the studio in Los Angeles did not know what was happening with the characters voiced in Montreal, Obsidian always answered any of their questions and actively maintained communication between the teams.

Wyatt admits that she was very worried about the idea of ​​recording the game in two studios at once, but the result, according to her, was amazing.

We had to trust. I had to go further. I had to believe that in Montreal they were doing just as well, if not better, than us in Los Angeles. I must pay tribute to Obsidian for believing that everything will work out right away at two studios at once.

Amanda Wyatt

voice director The Outer Worlds

 

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