Voicing concerns: the problem with video game acting.

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Mark Estdale was interviewed along with Side’s Andy Emery and David Sobolov by Keith Stewart for the Guardian Gamesblog.

"Mark Estdale, director at casting and voice recording agency, Outsource Media, has been working for ten years on a system to provide voice over actors with a quick-n-dirty frame of reference for their characterisations.

"What the actor needs is something at the point of performance that they can react to," he explains. "To provide that, you need to throw away all previous script models. What we’ve done is build a database that can actually emulate game engine behaviours and recalls for the actor any kind of pertinent information – visuals from the game, audio, other actors’ lines – and it’s all instant recall. So you get the actor in the studio and when they’re in the zone you hit them with this radical system – it’s all on screen in front of them, and they’re getting all the cues they’d get in the theatre or on a film production, they’re not reliant on trying to figure out what the heck’s going on."

"Actors need to be cast when the developer is starting the design process. I’m working on one production now where we’re there really early in development, and the whole cast is involved – they’re giving voices to the characters as they’re being designed."