Xcommunication: There Came An Echo Trailer

There Came An Echo has geek credentials coming out of it’s face hole–Wil Wheaton and Ashly Burch are on board as voice actors–but I’m not all that bothered by the cast. Not when my voice is the real star. It’s a voice controlled squad strategy game where you’re shouting down orders to your team. Initially controlling a single player unused to the violence that’s being asked of him, you’ll talk him through each step required to turn a cryptographer into a corpse-maker. Follow my voice to the trailer…

It looks incredibly slick, but obviously that’s secondary to how well the command system recognises your voice and reacts to your tactical talk. Being Scottish, I’m encouraged by the suggestion that the voice commands can be customised, so you can tweak the game to your own speech patterns. The only relationship I’ve ever had with voice commands is when it does stuff I don’t want it to do, and then I try and test if it can understand ‘colloquialisms’. Ahem: “Shoot target number one… no target number… stop phoning my mum! I didn’t ask you to do that you fu – oh hello, mum. No no, everything’s fine. How’s the cat?”

And here’s a longer video of an action sequence.

The cat was fine, readers.


  1. Philopoemen says:

    As an Aussie, curious to see how it handles the accent. Hopefully better than Dragon.

    • JiminyJickers says:

      My accent is a mix of South African and New Zealand and speech recognition has never really worked for me. Will be tempted by a demo.

  2. Evil Pancakes says:

    looks pretty cool.
    I’m a little worried about a few things though. One, can a small indie developer really deliver solid speech recognition software? Even with it’s massive budget Apple’s Siri still gets things wrong, especially when it is used by non-native english speakers.
    Second, I am absolute pants when it comes to real time strategy, but I love squad tactics games. Wondering how terrible I will be with this.

    • Kapouille says:

      ” Even with it’s massive budget Apple’s Siri still gets things wrong, especially when it is used by non-native english speakers”

      The field of possibilities is much wider for siri than for a game. There are very good existing software packages for speech recognition. The constraints to those is that the whole recognised vocabulary has to be defined beforehand, but in such a game this is not an issue.

  3. Turin Turambar says:

    As an non-English person, I’m curious to see how it handles French, German, Spanish, etc…

  4. shawk says:

    I am not too bothered by accent right now. If those Dragon natural speaking things can get it right, so might a game.

    I just think this is one of the coolest gimmicks turned into a core game mechanic. Who else wouldn’t want to indulge in teeny nerd like phantasies of sounding like the biggest badass General in Command. Must be funny though, when everyone in your vicinity can hear in on your once private thoughts (“Corrin, take out this stupid patrolling motherfucker”)

  5. JiminyJickers says:

    The only problem I see from those videos, is that you seem to be watching cutscenes and occasionally give commands. It seems more like a choose your own adventure style game.

    Movement commands such as move to Charlie 1, stop, now move to delta 1 seems rather limited. If you can put in your own waypoints then it may be okay, but if you can’t, it looks rather like a puzzle.

    • Trithne says:

      That was what I got from the video too – It seems to be more enamoured with its voice acting than with being a strategy game.

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      Phasma Felis says:

      This pretty clearly looks like the equivalent of a tutorial level. Presumably there will be more options and more control in the proper game.

    • Wurstwaffel says:

      Yeah, from the screenshots I thought it was a proper turn based tactics game. I guess I went into the gameplay vid with the wrong expectations. It makes sense as a mobile puzzle game, maybe? I don’t know, man. Why would you not play something like that with a mouse?

  6. rhubarb says:

    If the entire game is going to have the same tone as the “vertical slice”, I can see myself getting really annoyed by it. Particularly the “so did my parents”, “faster than you” character.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Her bullying the hacker guy got annoying very quickly, but one of the characters did say “we need to have a chat when we get back” to her so maybe this is a plot point. I was quite joyously looking forward to seeing something nasty happen to her in about 2 minutes though.

  7. Geebs says:

    I sincerely hope that Yuri Lowenthal gets to point out that that isn’t how something happened. And then voices another PoP game.

  8. Kefren says:

    Obligatory link when mentioning voice control of things with a Scottish accent on RPS: Rab Florence! link to bbc.co.uk

  9. ElmaSherry says:

    It looks phenomenal your voice and reacts to your tactical talk. Being Scottish, i agree with this statements” entire post is exceptional.http://desertleather.com that’s what i am saying this,

  10. DrMcCoy says:

    I still got nightmares from this game: link to mobygames.com

  11. Jambe says:

    Ronald Jenkees, woo.

    Voice control seems to reside in the WTF-ULTRA tier of gimmickiness, but I dunno, maybe it’ll be good.

  12. kwyjibo says:

    I don’t think voice control adds anything meaningful to the game. I saw this on Kickstarter and was not convinced. Voice recognition is fucking hard. Google, Microsoft, Apple, Nuance have billions to spend – they can do it. Some indie team? The original videos seem to suggest that you had to set the voice commands yourself, or follow some prescripted orders – that doesn’t sound fun or naturalistic. Reading from a menu does not give you any new gameplay possibilities.

    • KevinLew says:

      To make it even more disappointing, it’s already been proven that Kinect’s voice controls don’t always work if you have a strong accent, and Microsoft poured millions into the voice recognition.

      Regardless, I’m starting to get puzzled why video games think that new and innovative ways to control them will make them better. Voice control has the same pitfalls as motion control as far as I’m concerned. Both are kind of neat when seen in action, but in the end, you wonder why those games couldn’t just use better AI or more intuitive controls.

  13. suibhne says:

    “We gods do not play at dice”? Seriously?

    Great overall feel/mood, but the devil will be in the (tech) details.

  14. Wahngrok says:

    They are using the Microsoft Speech Platform for recognition. During the kickstarter they had backers send in recordings of commands in their accent / language. Check out the video if you like to see how good the voice recognition is:

    link to kickstarter.com

  15. Nixitur says:

    Ouh, those are the guys behind Sequence!
    That was a great game.
    I’m cautiously optimistic about this one.