The course was presented by Hugh Edwards of High Score Productions, whose video game credits include Harry Potter for X Box Kinect and various versions of Fifa, along with Peter Dickson – a man known to many as the voice of The X Factor, Britains Got Talent and Beach Volleyball at the London 2012 Olympics. He told us that he was given the opportunity to choose on which event he could commentate, so no surprises there!
Peter is a true legend in voice over, with a career spanning over thirty years, and in that time, he has lent his voice to a good number of game characters. This, coupled with Hugh’s fantastic knowledge as a producer and director, meant that the subject matter on this course really was golden.
Now obviously I’m not going to break down the entire day for you here. If you’re a voice artist looking to get into gaming, then you really do need to go on this course. They run them once a month and there’s plenty of information on the High Score Productions website.
However, I will share you with you what I felt was the most important lesson of the day, and that is that the characters we play have to be believable. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing a soldier in World War 2 or the disembodied spirit of a dragon, the characters have to feel real.
In order to create that reality, the voice over has to truly become their character, adopting as many of their physical characteristics as possible (not so easy when you’re playing a 20 foot robot, but you get the idea). Beyond that, it’s a good idea for the voice actor to know as much as possible about a character’s back story. You see, if you’re playing a good guy then you’ll speak in a certain way, but if you’re playing a good guy who actually turns out to be a bad guy, then there are subtle changes that will occur in the way you deliver your lines. Granted, they are subtle, but they are there.
Ultimately, the game player doesn’t want to feel as if they’re listening to someone who is merely reading some words on a page. That only serves to disconnect them from the game, and that’s what causes games to flop.
I’ve had the pleasure of playing a few game characters in my time, but now I really cannot wait for the next opportunity to do so, to put my new understanding to the test.