As a fan of narrative-led games, there’s one subject that I’ve never taken for granted: voice direction. Which led me to wonder why so many games companies apparently do. Why do so many games have perfectly decent actors struggling with scripts, lines delivered with completely incorrect intonations, and conversations between characters which couldn’t sound more disjointed? Something as simple as this can change the tone of a game, reducing a big-budget epic to sounding like a junior school play.
A few months back for PC Gamer I investigated voice direction by speaking to those who get it right. I spoke to LucasArts’ David Collins, responsible for directing Monkey Island, FunCom’s Ragnar Tørnquist about creating April Ryan and casting The Secret World, and 2K voice director Jack Scalici who is responsible for the enormous voice cast of Mafia II. I also spoke to two of the most respected voice actors. Dominic Armato is the voice of Guybrush Threepwood, and Sarah Hamilton plays April Ryan in the Longest Journey games. Below they discuss the craft, and express their passions and frustrations about voice acting and directing. This article originally appeared in PC Gamer issue 206.