In the last decade or so, video game voice over has grown into one of the biggest genres in the VO industry. Games have evolved from single-player arcade games with basic graphics and sound into multi-player story challenges with advanced sound and pictures. Part of the sound in a modern video game comes from narration and character conversations, which is where voice over actors come in. If you’re thinking about breaking into the ever-growing genre of video game VO, here’s what you need to know.
Video game voice over doesn’t operate at the same pace as television or radio VO. It’s much faster, and the scripts are notorious for being challenging due to lack of prep time. Oftentimes, actors don’t even see the script until they’re reading for production, and depending on their role, scripts may be between 4,000 and 5,000 words. Cold readings are tough enough, but with the quickened production pace, video game voice over is no joke.
Actors supplying the voices for video game characters also usually are responsible for multiple roles. This means that the talent has to be ready to shift from one character to another quickly and seamlessly to keep up with the production pace.
Acting Still Required
Just because it’s a video game, it doesn’t mean you’re off the hook in terms of actual acting talent, either. Even if you’re just reading quick bits of dialogue, like “He’s down!” or “Let’s get out of here!” you still have to do so in a convincing manner. Remember, video game players are often heavily invested in the games they play, and they’re not going to buy into a game where the voice actors aren’t lending sincerity to the characters.
Overall, video game voice acting is extremely demanding. Between the faster pace and challenging scripts, it takes a true professional to master this genre. Additionally, there’s often not a lot of context for the actors to work off of, especially if they’re switching characters and reading for a variety of “levels” within the game. Vocal stress is another factor, as most actors are expected to deliver high decibel performances for long periods of time.