Here’s An Interesting Idea: Multiple Languages In Cyberpunk

By Nathan Grayson on March 2nd, 2013 at 1:00 pm.

If that dove-coated mech doesn't speak in authentic mechanese, I'm out.

The absolute most surefire way to kill my in-game immersion isn’t graphical glitches or frustration or a trench-coat-clad man who grimly grumbles, “But maybe your entire life is a videogame.” It’s accents. Seriously, if I’m in some crazy fantasy land or multicultural space civilization, I refuse to buy the notion that everyone sounds like a bored 30-something American man. Refuse. Jade Empire, for instance, very nearly drove me mad. Mass Effect too, actually. But it’s not just BioWare. I honestly can’t think of many developers who’ve gotten it honestly, truly right. However, if nothing else, CD Projekt’s at least trying with Cyberpunk 2077.

The developer explained its plan for a fascinating translation system in a (fittingly translated) YouTube interview. Here’s the gist, via Cyberpunk’s forums:

“As of yet no decisions have been made, but we’re thinking about a system that could tell the world’s story. The idea is to record everything in original languages, i.e. if we’ll meet Mexicans in the game, they’ll be taking – Mexican slang even, portrayed by Mexican actors. The player would be able to buy a translator implant, and depending on how advanced it is, he’ll get better or worse translation.”

“You can’t reliably recreate street slang of Los Angeles or some other American city, you can’t simply dub it and reproduce those emotions, rhythms of speech, mannerisms. Everything has to be cohesive. Otherwise we’d simply hear that Polish actors are trying to imitate Americans. That won’t work.”

In short, yes. A thousand million billion times yes. It doesn’t take a rocket-scientist-level cyberbrain to see that this is the right mindset. But yeesh, the potential logistics of this plan make my regular meatbrain ooze confusion, like some kind of exceedingly bewildered sponge. That’d require an insane number of voice actors from different regions – especially given how much CDP’s touting Cyberpunk’s size and scope.

But I respect the train of thought behind this, as I do think it’s more important than most developers give it credit/resources for. So I’m definitely pulling for CDP to succeed here, if only to show everyone else that it’s semi-doable – on a triple-A scale, if nothing else. And then, finally, 30-something generic American male – my arch-nemesis – will be out of a job once and for all. Just like I planned.

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157 Comments »

  1. lijenstina says:

    I have no money, no artifacts.

    • Muzman says:

      Haha, very good. That’s exactly the game I was thinking of too. It actually benefits a lot in the atmosphere department from being marginally translated.
      I was hoping they’d do it even more with multi nationalities to give the vibe of the book even more so (which Cyberpunk appears to be doing, so cool)

    • kibertoad says:

      What game is it from?

    • Douglas_Taylor says:

      my roomate’s aunt makes $89 an hour on the laptop. She has been out of a job for 10 months but last month her paycheck was $13333 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more… http://tinyurl.com/vcbppre

  2. finbikkifin says:

    This is the best news I’ve heard about the game. I hope it works.

  3. PopeRatzo says:

    One word: sub-titles.

    Or is that two words?

    • iGark says:

      It’s one unless you incorrectly decide to hyphenate it.

      • PopeRatzo says:

        No, by “sub-title” I mean, “Trollface: The Embiggening”

    • bfandreas says:

      It’s been done before. Over a decade ago in fact.

      The Last Express was a game set on the Orient Express and a lot of characters spoke their native tongue. The Austrians would speak German(ish) amongst themselves and Pidgin with you.

      I speak German, French and English and I had a lot of fun with that game. Still switched on the subtitles. I don’t speak Russian and Serb.

      The immersion was nearly perfect.

      • sirdavies says:

        It’s been done in every non-english speaking country with every form of media ever, too.

        • Premium User Badge

          gnodab says:

          nope. in france and especially in germany everything is dubbed. horribly, horribly dubbed.
          that is why i can’t go to the cinema anymore.

          • ulix says:

            You do know that there’s cinemas in every halfway larger city that show films in English?

      • Chaomancer says:

        Gabriel Knight 2 did this, with the sections set in Germany having a few puzzles that were hilariously easy if you understood German. People would ask you to do simple things in German, and I guess if you don’t speak the language those would have been pretty frustrating…

        • cowardly says:

          Yes, but the German was fucking ridiculous.

          NAAIIN! ER KANN SIE NICKT SÄ-ÄN! NAIN! ERR ISSST SU BESCHÄFFTICKT!

      • sinister agent says:

        And as a bonus, the player character is an American at a time when the rest of the world didn’t take them seriously, so they all thought he was just some idiot and continued to talk about him in the four or five languages he just never told anyone he could understand. God, I love that game. Even the regular white American everyman hero was a smart and likeable character.

      • iucounu says:

        Swiss are OP

  4. Alexander says:

    Dumnezeule. abia astept sa vad ce fac cu asta. (you’ll need a translator for that)

    And yes, it sounds great. Look at videogames evolving!

    • kovy36 says:

      Toate bazele voastra sunt detinuta de insine. (also translator)
      Out of all the AAA developers, CDProjekt sounds about right, pushing new ideeas and such.

      • Alexander says:

        Salut kiki.
        Yeah, when it comes to things like creativity and integrity, CDP still manage to hold the line.

  5. Drake Sigar says:

    Games vary accents up a bit more than that. Yes there’s bored 30-something American man, but you completely forgot about bored 30-something American man pretending to be English.

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      Bored 30-something American man pretending to be Canadian, eh! Though my favourite is probably the sheer they-did-not-care-at-all degree of Hollywood Irish.

      • The Magic says:

        Or as is more often the case in reality: bored 40 something Canadian man pretending to be American.

        • Premium User Badge

          RedViv says:

          Yeah, that situation is a wee bit curious, with the animation and VA being split between the south-eastern regions of both of these countries.

        • Ignorant Texan says:

          You may add most attempts at regional American accents, especially South’ron ones, to the list..

          • Rindan says:

            Botched southern accents have nothing on botched Boston and Maine accents. There are a large number of people with southern accents and only a few with Maine and Boston accents. Speaking as someone who grew up in Maine and spent his entire adult life in Boston… it is painful. Most people fail miserably when they try and pahk their cah in Havad yahd.

        • SuperNashwanPower says:

          The original shit accent was Scottie from Star Trek: TOS. He veers from Belfast, to Montreal, to Fife – all within a sentence.

          • Premium User Badge

            RedViv says:

            There’s some good old Hollywood casting. “We need someone for this Scottish engineer! What’s the closest we have? A Canadian? Not rea… Oh, okay, his parents came from Ireland, that’s good enough!”

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            Heh :)

          • RProxyOnly says:

            It’s better than having a fucking Englishman do it as they have now.

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            Welcome to the comments section, Person From Scotland :D

          • RProxyOnly says:

            I’m glad someone understands the politics of the situation. ;)

          • Phantoon says:

            Other countries are weird. Why get mad at each other when you can get mad at yourself?

          • Davie says:

            It’s because here in ‘Murica it’s basically just a half-dozen little countries anyway, tenuously held together by government. Seems like even Americans often don’t get mad at themselves so much as other parts of America.

          • Premium User Badge

            Malibu Stacey says:

            It’s better than having a fucking Englishman do it as they have now.

            Aye but it’s the genius that is Simon Pegg so I’m willing to let them off on that one seeing as his wife is from Maryhill & they cut a line about Square Sausage he tried to get into the first movie because it was apparently too “futuristic”.

      • 9squirrels says:

        They should get Sean Connery in to do the voices, the man is a god damned vocal chameleon. Just looks at his repertoire – English (James Bond), Spanish (Highlander), Russian (Hunt for Red October), New York Irish (The Untouchables). Apparently under all that, he’s actually got a Scottish accent in real life! ;)

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Personally I’m a big fan of german/east european actors hamming it up in pseudo-broken english. Who needs to pay for for voice actors when your level designer does a mean pirate impression!

      • PopeRatzo says:

        Yeah, I’m married to one of those. She sounds like a bad impersonation of Natasha Natale, but for real. It’s a trip and the locals get a kick out of it.

        • The Random One says:

          Wait, are you married to to a German/Eastern European voice actress, a level designer, or a women who does a mean pirate impression? Or all three? It’s all three, right?

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        Arma 2. That is all
        “Hi Pat! Lets squeeze a few off on the range!” :/

        Pat

    • povu says:

      And sometimes you get 30-something Russian man pretending to be German Nazi.

      • Premium User Badge

        Malibu Stacey says:

        Probably sounds closer than a 60-ish Scottish man pretending to be a cold-war era Soviet submarine commander alongside a 40-something New Zealander pretending to be his First Officer.

  6. MOKKA says:

    Oh please do this. I wish for something like this ever since I read a preview of Outcast where the developers said that they intended to make the player ‘learn’ the language of the aliens and that at first you would not understand a single word.

  7. mouton says:

    Hey, Mass Effect did have some variety and even when it didn’t, Bioware’s voice acting quality is their biggest asset.

    Btw, still no X-Com international accent mod? Sigh.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      Yes, the acting was the main draw… shame, considering it should have been the gameplay.

  8. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    Grand plan indeed. Grand and expensive.

  9. Bhazor says:

    Here’s hoping you can play with a completely broken translator implant resulting in dialog like a Malkavian run.
    The phrase, which way to the train station translated as:
    “Drop your panties Sir Edward. I can not wait till lunch time”

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      I think it is common courtesy to say something about eels and air-cushion vehicles here.

    • Jay says:

      I like the idea of a translator that starts off with google-level machine translations upgradeable to levels that brings out clues and nuances in suspects’ speech. Would be a massive pain to write for, though.

      • Kitsunin says:

        Not necessarily! Couldn’t you just plug the script into a translator for the lower level translation, and have the high level translation done professionally?

        • Premium User Badge

          Aninhumer says:

          If you wanted to hide clues you’d need to put a bit more effort in, and sometimes you might need to throw in a couple of mistakes when the translation is too good.

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      “My nipples are exploding with delight!”

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        Do you want to come back to my place, bouncy bouncy?

    • Low Life says:

      Zetatech corporation is proud to present its latest breakthrough in translation technology:The amazing Malkavian translator. Order yours today!

    • 28843253 says:

      **Sir William was it not?

    • Totally heterosexual says:

      “I GET THE BEST SCRAMBLER QUOTES <3"

    • Phantoon says:

      Doesn’t John Cleese know Hungarian? I’m pretty sure he knows, like, five languages.

  10. lordcooper says:

    You…you want to terk his jerb?

  11. Premium User Badge

    Tunips says:

    I think Taratinto forcefully made the case that even in mainstream culture there is no longer any excuse for fake English. Native tongues that the player uses in-game tech to interpret? Even better.

    Of course, most of the dingy black-market operators the game must deal with are probably quadrilingual at least, and should be smashing colloquialisms together in an anarchic freewheeling babel.
    Which is, after all, exactly what cyberpunk is for.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      The problem is everybody speaks English now. I go to Italy to practice my Italian and everybody wants to practice English. I was in South Asia a few years back and the cab driver wanted to know how the Bears (Chicago) looked for the coming season. So much for local flavor. I ended up sitting the hotel room watching Song of India on Netflix.

      • JabbleWok says:

        Nah, there are large parts of the world where English is yet to make much headway. The most you’ll normally get are some schoolkids practicing a little, but those who speak it well are few and far between. Think of places like Indonesia or Congo where there are already many local languages as well as the national ones, so learning extra languages usually means some of them. Any “international” language is French, Portuguese, Spanish, etc, often a result of a colonial past. Change will come, but it won’t be quick.

        You can easily find parts of the world where you have to learn enough of the local language to get by.

      • Premium User Badge

        Gap Gen says:

        In France, people are typically quite bad at English. Plus there’s a difference between getting by as a tourist and understanding two people talking fast in a weird dialect.

  12. Prime says:

    I think I read somewhere that voice-acting was among the smallest parts of any game development budget. This sounds like CD Pojekt are taking it more seriously than anyone I can recall at the moment. I’d love this to work. I’d love voice-acting to become a much more important and considered part of any game. Right now, because games are seen as such trivial things by the big publishers, they seem to do just the bare minimum, a fact never more explicitly depicted when MMO The Old Republic decided to release a video showcasing its stunningly average vocal work against that of the legendary Alec Guinness.

  13. Njordsk says:

    I like the idea of not understanding local language, it’s part of immersion.

    Rockstar did it very well in MP3 with brasil.

    • Premium User Badge

      Fontan says:

      And also when you first get to Mexico in RDR, as in the beginning people speak Spanish and Marston has a hard time communicating.

      At least for the first 10 minutes, when all of a sudden every Mexican anywhere speaks English and breaks the immersion they had achieved.

      • Mr. Mister says:

        They can still keep the original lip-synch, and even make the transla-dubbing a robotic monotone voice.

  14. misterT0AST says:

    I see a moltitude of foreigners, drooling in anger as their language is mispronounced and mistaken. And I’m among them.
    Good luck with this. It really is something else.

    • Premium User Badge

      Fontan says:

      Ah, the supposed Brazilian Portuguese spoken in some movies. It’s awful.

      • Premium User Badge

        Cinek says:

        Most fun for me is when “Polish” is actually made by Czech or Russian actors speaking their own language. So… yea…

  15. GenBanks says:

    Wow, that’s a fantastic idea!

    And a great use of the medium of games as well!
    In a film, if the hero goes to a foreign country the existence of language barriers will only arise if it’s convenient to the plot or to add comic relief. In real life, language barriers can grind things to a halt. This sort of system would really convey the notion of language barriers better than any game.

    I really hope it happens…

  16. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Totally with you on the accents thing. The american kid doing an appalling russian accent was the thing that drove me to change Metro 2033′s sound files to russian and just put on the english subtitles. Seriously, it sounded like a kid from chicago trying not to vomit as he spoke, and he did the voice of EVERY boy in the game. It was worth being distracted by text just to be rid of him.

    Not that STALKER wasn’t guilty too. COP’s Nitro had the worst amerussian accent. When put in a game with accents that are genuine, they stand out so much. Worse than Robbie Coltrane in James Bond. Yes. WORSE.

  17. HisMastersVoice says:

    “But yeesh, the potential logistics of this plan make my regular meatbrain ooze confusion, like some kind of exceedingly bewildered sponge.”

    Would it really be that hard to make one localization of the game using multiple different languages mixed in rather than do ten separate versions using one language? I’m assuming the implant would give us text translation or perhaps a synthesized voice over.

    • Bhazor says:

      Thats an excellent point.
      Doing a single multilingual version would be much less work than making the all French, all Polish and all Spanish versions

    • subedii says:

      Yeah I have to admit, that does sound like it would be the way to go. I mean English would probably still be the dominant language, because marketing. It’s way less work than having multiple voice actors from different countries trying to do their take on a Japanese / Mexican / Whatever accent for the same character.

      After that, you just have to hope the localisation crew isn’t just using Google-Translate for the text.

  18. Mr. Mister says:

    How is this going to translate (he) into translations? Nowadays, you can’t have a non-JRPG A^3 release in Europe without translating all the voices into the latin-descendant langauges too. Maybe all charcters speaking the language of translation on the English version will switch to English and viceversa?

    (I bet they’ll employ Mexican voice actors because Spanish voice actors are more costy).

    • Mr.Bats says:

      I sure hope not. I’d have to kill my Spanish self. It would be horrid for us spaniards.

      • Ignorant Texan says:

        What do you have against burros? ;-)

        • Mr.Bats says:

          It is known we hate each other accents. I wouldn’t mind if a Mexican speaks Mexican, but if a Spanish speaks like a Mexican, that is abominable.

          • Mr. Mister says:

            I have never, ever heard a Mexican speak like a Spanish though, so I guess their throats are conditioned to be totally unable to do so.

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            Indeed. It would be much like having a man from Birmingham voicing the Queen’s

            POPPYCOCK I SAY

          • Ridye says:

            Clearly (perhaps thankfully), you haven’t heard of certain Hugo Sanchez (futbol player).

          • Premium User Badge

            cpt_freakout says:

            I don’t know if something similar happens over in Spain, but here in Mexico there’s a certain kind of middle-class to rich guy/woman that whenever they go to Spain for more than two days they, um, “acquire” the accent. Of course, they just imitate certain sounds and do the tongue-to-teeth ‘zeta’ while still speaking quite clearly like a Mexican, so they sound absolutely ridiculous and everyone with a brain laughs it off as a sort of very superficial (and awfully stupid) cultural posing.

            Anyway, yes, I agree that if they’re going to do different languages, they should also take the regionalization very seriously. It would be pretty fun to have several regions that use the same language represented… as a ‘guess that accent’ kind of thing. :P

  19. Stevostin says:

    Ah, I love CD Projekt for this kind of things. Care on some important things forgotten by others.

    Can’t wait to see screens of that one. If it’s a first person view, that may instantly become my most awaited game. If not, I’ll cry, but still be curious about it.

  20. karthink says:

    Can we just take a moment to appreciate the fact that the fella in the image is a thin, lanky sort wearing a sporty blue coat? Any other company would have had a 30 something American bloke with biceps the size of my waist in glowing power armor.

  21. Klarden says:

    Чудова новина
    heh.
    By the way, always loved that at least several languages were present in KOTOR games, they led to some wonderful moments like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdSG2v3Z-0s

  22. Philomelle says:

    CD Projekt aren’t the first company to attempt this. Back in 2005, LucasArts published this amazing third-person shooter called Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction on consoles. Aside of its wonderfully realized world and interesting mission structure, it had this thing where characters in the game came from different countries and a lot of them had a habit of talking in their own language, particularly when they wanted to plot against your character in their presence without the character realizing it. However, all three playable characters knew one additional language on top of English and the game provided subtitles when the language that character understood was spoken in front of them.

    Unfortunately, LucasArts sold the Mercenaries brand to Electronic Arts, which promptly proceeded to shit on it. The world of well-written games about military conflicts was never the same.

    The language approach was one of Mercenaries’ finest and most unique features, so it’s nice that someone else decided to make use of it.

  23. Willie Trombone says:

    I took an ambitious localisation to the knee

  24. JabbleWok says:

    That’d require an insane number of voice actors from different regions

    This show that there’s a potential niche sub-industry based on providing voices for games. As we’re all (mostly) connected on the interweb these days, such an industry would be eminently possible, and this looks like there’d be demand for it.

  25. MrLebanon says:

    What drove me craziest about Mass Effect was the Quarians with pseudo Russian-Persian-Arab accents. Was sexy though… and those hips…

  26. Kasab says:

    It really bothers me that everyone in Dishonored has the same flat, American accent regardless of social status. Even the guy from exotic not-Italy has an American accent. It doesn’t help that the dialogue is largely forgettable, but you really do put a dent in your fiction when everyone sounds like they’re from the same cardboard cutout country.

    • unimural says:

      I’ve never been bothered by everyone speaking the same. I admit semi-realistic accents for all characters probably would be close to ideal, but I much prefer everyone speaking with the same accent to actors doing poor accents.

      Also, for me, it’s much more important to have good acting than good accents. If everyone sounds the same, I can pretty soon just ignore that aspect of it.

      But I guess these are just matters of taste and I can imagine that for other people lack of accents might be hellishly off-putting.

  27. robjwells says:

    I’m surprised that no-one’s mentioned Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory yet, which had a “native languages” option in the sound settings. It wasn’t on by default, meaning you got accented English, but if you checked the box the speech was swapped out wholesale — Panamanian guards speaking Spanish, Koreans speaking Korean, etc. The one downside, though, was that the recording quality wasn’t quite as good for some bizarre reason.

    Does anyone know of any other games that have at least offered this as an option?

    • Low Life says:

      In the original Crysis, all other difficulties had the enemy soldiers speaking English (with a bad accent), but playing on the hardest difficulty made them speak Korean – presumably to make it more difficult for the player to figure out their plans.

      I rarely play games on high difficulties, but in this case I didn’t even consider playing on an easier difficulty level.

      • subedii says:

        You can also tweak the .ini file to make them speak native Korean even in the lower difficulties if you want. But yeah, Crysis was the first game I thought of as well. Better than cheesy Amer-Korean.

      • Premium User Badge

        Joshua says:

        Best thing was that they ocasionally hurled english insults at you, even when speaking Korean.

    • cckerberos says:

      Chaos Theory also featured one of the more horrendous accents ever (Adm. Otomo). It’s not that he spoke with a terrible Engrish accent; I’ve known plenty of Japanese with poor English skills who do just that, so no problem. The problem is that he was voiced by an American who apparently was just told “speak English like a Japanese person who sucks at it”. It was Engrish but sounded nothing like real Engrish. It sounded more like what you hear in wartime propaganda movies.

  28. Ignorant Texan says:

    Ah, yes, that horrid American Broadcasters’ accent. What’s funniest about it to my, and many of my fellow colonial savages, is hearing them swear in movies, TV and games, as it’s design to sound as inoffensive as possible.

    Reply Fail – This was suppose to be a reply to Kasab.

  29. JonasKyratzes says:

    One of the main reasons I can’t enjoy Skyrim is the accents. If at least they were uniform, or consistently based on character ethnicity! But no, Skyrim is populated by the descendants of Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Finnish-Russian-Norwegian-Swedish-German secret agent with a voice box stuck on shop demonstration, and packs of escaped American schoolchildren. Oh, and Max von Sydow is occasionally possessed by the Devil.

    I found it so irritating it actually made me avoid the cities. And I likes me some cities, you know?

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      In that regard, Skyrim accomplished something that I did not think possible: Being annoyed by Stephen Russell showing up.

      The generic female Nord though were all right. Unsurprisingly, given that those were done by two Swedish actresses. Personally that got a bit weird, as especially Mjoll the Lioness sounds close to my Ma now.

      • sinister agent says:

        I’m glad someone else said this. I wasn’t sure if it was just me, but the women seem to have much more naturalistic accents than the men.

        I do think Skyrim improved over Oblivion and Fallout 3, though. But then having more than three voices is an instant improvement over Obliv, to be honest.

        • Premium User Badge

          RedViv says:

          True, true. They also didn’t repeat the mistake of using someone without experience in voice work, after the horrible line deliveries from Sean “Most Likely Dead By The End” Bean in Oblivion.

        • JonasKyratzes says:

          I found Oblivion’s voice acting to be silly, but slightly more bearable than Skyrim’s (perhaps because the setting itself is so generic that it is less incongruous). Both games make me weep at the lost opportunities, though. I *want* to experience the rich culture of Tamriel, damn it!

  30. goettel says:

    Why not have an AI translator with a bored 30-something persona doing the translating ?

  31. Servizio says:

    You know what I’ve always liked, but was knocked at the time? KotORs alien gibberish. I thought it was a fairly elegant solution to a problem that still happens; Aliens speaking English.

    I guess it’s not really relevant to this, since it’d probably be pretty lame to have Mexican gibberish.

    • Low Life says:

      It was a cool idea, but the fact that they had about two different lines for each language made it really jarring after a couple of hours.

      • subedii says:

        Yeah once you heard a hut speak his few spoken lines, having him drone out those same lines over and over again at length just made you want to skip it all. In order for it to work you’d probably need a lot more lines, but I suspect that would still be cheaper than having a voice actor voice ALL that character’s lines in English (depending on character).

        • SuperNashwanPower says:

          Red Dwarf’s use of Esperanto as a ‘future language’ was an inspired decision IMO :)

          As others have said here, if CDP use actual other european languages, then people who already speak them will not have to use the gameplay mechanic of translations, rendering it pointless in some countries. Maybe it would be better and easier to invent some future language, or just gibberish? The same voice actors can do it and just inflect weirdly, like Greedo. I think there are even movie supply companies you can pay to invent whole languages for you (someone ask Bethesda)

          Its much less ambitious admittedly, and I would prefer the real languages option, but still, its not without its problems.

    • Brun says:

      Alien languages would be easier to do as you could simply make them various modulations of sound effects – grunts, chirps, etc. As long as you used the same algorithm to modulate the sound effects for a particular alien species, you would end up with something that resembled a consistent (if unintelligible) language. Star Wars (and thus both KOTOR and TOR) already had canon alien languages though, so they had to stick with those.

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        Yeah I think this would be more practical from 2077′s perspective, and get round the ‘issue’ of players who already speak whatever language is being spoken. Having said that, its easier to believe that we would still have the european languages by 2077, rather than that some random alien language had taken root.

  32. Shookster says:

    As an American, I’ve never really understood why every film or game set in Europe (or fantasy Europe) needs British accents. I certainly understand if it’s set in the UK, but in a movie where everyone is speaking French (in terms of the plot, that is), why bother with making them British? Surely a British accent is just as innacurate as an American accent?

    But I agree, games should definitely stop making everyone sound like a 30 year-old American (from the West Coast).

    • subedii says:

      What was most hilarious to me was Enemy at the Gates. We can’t have our heroes speaking in Russian accents, people would think they’re evil!

      So you end up with Jude Law being our hero Vasily Zaytsev. I suppose it’s a mercy that he didn’t try for a Russian accent at all.

    • JabbleWok says:

      There seem to be some well-formed stereotypes regarding accents, such as Shakespearean actors being used for accents that need gravitas. Look at the number of Hollywood movies that have British thesps as the arch baddie, or for characters set in the Classical world. Similarly in the UK, northern English accents are often used for e.g. Soviet characters, as it’s associated with industrial hammer-wielding workers. I suppose the US equivalent would be a “blue collar” accent rather than a regional one.

      As for depicting Europe in general, I have no idea why a British accent would be used except for certain role-based niches. After all there are plenty of European actors who speak good English while retaining their own accent. Maybe it’s a market / comprehension thing, worried that part of the audience can’t cope with certain accents with which they’re unfamiliar.

      I prefer original language + subtitles anyway, though that leaves dilemmas of how to translate expressions.

  33. sabasNL says:

    I totally agree. Atleast use some fake, stereotype accents like they did with Call of Duty for example. I find it hard to believe that everyone in the world speaks a perfect American accent.

    • lijenstina says:

      But if it is done by American actors then it isn’t a perfect accent.of a foreigner speaking English. :)

  34. sinister agent says:

    Good for them. This is an area that needs work and consideration in games in general, and I can’t say I’m surprised that it’s a Polish company stepping up to do it. We native anglophones have really dropped the ball on it far too many times.

    As a bonus, a science fiction game will surely present opportunities for monoglot cret-wits like me to invest in technology that will do the translation work for us, so they can have the cake and eat it too, if they want.

  35. cjlr says:

    Everybody should just talk like Edward James Olmos in Blade Runner.

    • Stan Lee Cube Rick says:

      This is exactly what I was thinking.

    • JabbleWok says:

      He say you Spade Shunner…. wait… was that in Nosferanto or Spanglefish? Origami no substitute for subtitles!

  36. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Given the amount of europeans I have met who said they learned English by watching TV over the years, I wish more UK / US media WOULD include other languages as standard. Hopefully then I could learn Russian or Spanish without those god awful Pimsleur CD’s or the help of the ubiquitous Margareta “I’m a Polyglot Don’t You Know” Danbolt-Simons

  37. Jae Armstrong says:

    I think I almost would prefer the bland “everyone is a Yank” solution to Rare’s “let’s showcase every excruciatingly obnoxious accent on the British Isles, guys!!!” (c.f. Star Fox Adventures)

  38. Navagon says:

    Unless this is going to be The Most Epic Game Ever Made (TM), this does suggest that the cityscapes might be somewhat restricted. Otherwise they’re going to have to employ everyone in the world to do some voice acting for them.

  39. -Spooky- says:

    “Yo Chummers. Needz another language? Buy talentsoft via chip oder datacom. Ez .. Peez!”

    I hope they use x100 voice actors for diff. languages in a gobal system, like Shadowrun have it.

  40. Andrew says:

    They could appeal to the community. “Want to have your voice in the game? Record these lines and send the file to us. Best versions are assigned to one of the characters in the game.” A reward of some kind to those chosen.

  41. Scumbag says:

    Even electronic brain pancake crystal elderly

  42. Strangerator says:

    Bica, tosa thes’click isili?

  43. Asurmen says:

    Deus Ex chinese accents. Nuff said.

    Ah Meester Jah C Denton in da fresh.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I SPEEL my DREENK!

    • JimK. says:

      On the other hand. Deus Ex Human Revolution had some (not all) actual Chinese dialogue in the Shanghai part. Something that pleasantly surprised me. But concerning the quality, since I don’t speak Mandarin, I wouldn’t know if it was a good or bad voice-over.

  44. Dowr says:

    I went insane during the Hengsha section of Human Revolution; those accents were terrible.

    Beyond shit.

  45. Arglebargle says:

    While nice, the general concept may cost more and be more trouble than it’s worth. If you can’t handle some levels of abstraction, maybe gaming just isn’t for you.

    Now the idea that for Cyberpunk 2077, you don’t localize, just have people speaking in their own language, with perhaps a translator chip, that’s clever. And appropriate to the genre in this case.

  46. Ridye says:

    Small/indie companies would greatly benefit of Crowd-sourcing. Specially for games like these ones, where actually having “day-to-day” accents would actually make for better impersonations.

    And since Cyberpunk is set in a distopian computarized future, it wouldn’t matter as much if the voices are not recorded with professional microphones.

    That’s black market voice generators for you…

  47. Axelius says:

    If they do this I will throw my money at CD projekt.

  48. Premium User Badge

    Hidden_7 says:

    I think the big take-away, for me, from this thread is that everyone should just grow up somewhere where the local accent is basically just Newscaster or “unaccented” North American. That way the over-presence of that accent doesn’t sound grating, just normal, and you can’t tell if someone is doing another accent badly. Win-win!

  49. Premium User Badge

    tomeoftom says:

    Wow, I really want this game now.

  50. SuperDuperStormTrooper says:

    This is genius: If -for example- I can speak English, Spanish and French then I won’t need the translators for those languages, I could save a few :whatevercurrency: and invest them in a weapons or other stuff. If I want to save money in the game then I can use the skills I learnt in real life to help me!

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Thats like the most awesome pre-order bonus, but without pre-ordering :D