If you look on the back of the box for Final Fantasy X, you’ll see that, before it advertises any other feature, it’s flaunting “CHARACTERS WITH VOICE.” This is because, for the first time in the franchise’s history, they were actually able to pull this off, owing thanks to the increased power of the PlayStation 2 and the larger standard disc size of the system. No longer was the franchise beholden to text accompanied by pseudo-speech sounds or basic “doots” to simulate speech patterns, and instead could use actual performance to draw the player into the world.
This was, undoubtedly, a very big deal. And last week when we asked you if you preferred voice or text, you proved that it still is, with just under two-thirds of you voting in favor of voiced dialogue, even if it required fewer lines. I myself voted in favor of text-based dialogue with more lines, but this is primarily a product of my history playing games with the sound off so as not to disturb anyone (or get caught, as the case may be). Had I voted this weekend though, I’d have voted for voiced dialogue as well. Why? Because this weekend saw the release of Thimbleweed Park, a fantastic adventure game made in the timeless style of a Lucas Arts classic. It’s fully voiced.
Every single line! It even works! Is anyone else as shocked by this as I am? Well you shouldn’t be. We shouldn’t be, because this is becoming more and more standard. Action FPS games adopted this standard a long time ago, but now even long-winded RPGs like Final Fantasy XV are ending up fully voiced, including the minutia of nameless NPCs with something to say. More than that, even the Zelda franchise is finally featuring voiced characters, and this is a franchise famous for its silence! The future is now and it is chatty! What does this mean for Gears of Eden though, right? Well, we definitely see the writing on the wall and would love if our game shipped fully voiced. The caveat to this, of course, being that voice acting (let alone competent voice acting) can get pretty expensive! Being an Indie team, funds are a precious resource, but if we can achieve that level of funding, you can bet it’ll be as important to us as it is to you!
— Gears Of Eden (@GearsOfEden) April 3, 2017