Guild Wars 2’s next living story episode, No Quarter, will launch without voice acting thanks to the pandemic

    
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While business is booming for online games during this pandemic-related quarantine, story-centric MMORPGs seem to be having trouble getting specific types of work done from home – most specifically voiceover work. We’ve seen delays from both Star Wars: The Old Republic and The Elder Scrolls Online, and both games noted that voiceover work has been a significant factor since the actors can’t physically enter the sound studios to do it.

We’ll now add Guild Wars 2 to that growing list. It doesn’t sound as if the next entry in the Icebrood Saga living story season will actually be delayed – we’re expecting it next month – but ArenaNet did announce today that it’ll launch without voiceovers.

“Because the recording studio staff and voice actors who help bring Guild Wars 2 to life are also abiding by shelter-in-place guidance to keep the virus from spreading, we’ve chosen to release the upcoming third episode of The Icebrood Saga without voice acting,” the studio says. “This was a difficult decision to make, but we want to keep releasing content updates for the community to enjoy on a regular schedule. When it’s safe, we’ll create a high-quality studio recording so we can update the episode with voiced lines.”

The trailer for the next episode, which we now know is called No Quarter, is dropping next week, so stay tuned! In the meantime, here’s a fun little bit from the voice team.

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Fenrir Wolf

No form of entertainment, no matter how good, is worth the potential risk of loss of life. I’m glad that they made this decision. It was the right call. I was expecting a delay in the release of episode 3 due to Covid-19 anyway. This seems like a nice compromise.

I wish ArenaNet well in what everyone seems to want to call “these uncertain times.”

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imayb1

Personally, I thought the VA vid clip was cool. Playing without VAs for a bit is fine, and for those who wish to wait until they put the VAs in, that’s fine too. IMO, GW2 has always had good quality VAs and sound and they’ve been consistent about their people. They also use union folks.

I think it’s unreasonable to expect voice professionals to have high-tech sound booths at home or just to ‘phone-in’ their work on whatever tech they do have. A little waiting isn’t going to kill anyone. :)

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sear.scar

/a slight offtopic
Suddenly, the thread triggers an ache in me: where’s my Age of Conan voiceovers? Sigh, that’s 2020 and I’m still in sadness. Sigh, Funcom!

The voice team video is lovely btw. Really.

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styopa

Um, lots of voice actors have (or have set up) home studios. Hard to imagine a job more suited to at-home work, in fact?

Are we sure that this has nothing to do with the “we demand a union” thing?

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Jeremy Kennon

If you watch the video attached, they mention ArenaNet likes to do it in studio with many people involved.

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Fenrir Wolf

Yeah, that isn’t exactly new for them either. That’s been their M.O. since the beginning.

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Lynx Raide

While they have home studios, gaming and other VO studios prefer if they have a cast to still do it in their own studio to guarantee consistency in sound

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

I’m sure it will be added later on.

That said there’s probably Union stipulations regarding how these actors do their work and where which is probably why they aren’t working from home. I’m sure if ANet tried to get non union scabs to do temporary voice overs from their bathroom recording studios it would be a violation of contract and prevent ANet from having any Voice Overs in the future unless they created an in house non union group of voice actors which would be extremely controversial.

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Gamhuin

I love the voice acting in GW2, it really brings the characters, world and story to life. I’m glad they’ve decided to do this to keep folks safe.

The game is worth it and I am patient. I can wait a little longer to enjoy the updates in their fully voiced glory.

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Life_Isnt_Just_Dank_Memes

seems crazy to me. i know modders for single player elder scrolls games who get voice actors to record stuff and send it to them all the time and the quality is really solid. i get if a voice actor doesn’t have the equipment or space at home to record, but like you could totally ship that stuff to them.

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Matthew Yetter

Which is exactly what American Idol did before the start of the live rounds last week. Everyone was sent identical sound recording equipment and most were also backed by remotely located band members and/or background vocalists. It worked beautifully. There’s no reason game studios couldn’t do the same thing.

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Malcolm Swoboda

Are episodes replayable?

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Mikey's Bored

Yes

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Bruno Brito

Yes. A lot of them have achievements for you to farm stuff, so they are replayable.

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Matthew Yetter

If American Idol can produce a quasi-live show coming from approximately 30 homes around the U.S. (and pull it off without a hitch!), studios can certainly find a way to enable voice actors to work from home.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

American Idol contestants are not Union Voice Actors with contractual agreements and regulations.

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Lynx Raide

There is a vast difference between a talent contest of individual performances which can be done like that, and professional studios doing voice overs. There have been a lot of other projects in similar mediums, such as anime, which have had to either delay projects based on this. It comes down to consistency in audio quality, and companies will prefer to use their own studios rather than actors home ones cause they can guarantee consistency and quality across the sound because it uses exactly the same equipment for all recordings. In the case of American Idol, it wont matter, cause it is supposed to be a competition and each act is supposed to be different, but when you are playing a game or watching a show small things such as audio inconsistency can break immersion

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Ironwu

Huh? People cannot record dialog remotely? This excuse makes no sense.

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Raidervc

Seems like the challenge would be recording outside of a traditional sound studio, with real time direction, and professional mixing. They *can* record lines, but it’s the quality that matters.

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Greaterdivinity

I imagine that they didn’t want to do some pretty garbage quality remote recordings that people would undoubtedly complain about.

They’re not the only developer that’s made/making this decision. A few others (not just in NA) have announced that voicework for upcoming updates/etc. is being delayed, and I know many others are actively having these discussions now.

Trust me, none of the developers or voice actors are particularly thrilled with this situation but they’re all making the best of it.

DittyYut
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DittyYut

To add, I think the scenario is more likely that they furloughed their voice actors to help cut costs for the company during the pandemic.

Instead of recording from home, where, technology is more than capable of creating a quality sound recording.

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Greaterdivinity

Voice actors aren’t staffers. They’re contractors, and likely all union folks (non-union work usually doesn’t come with your name on it for a variety of reasons).

And I doubt that all of these voice actors have studio-quality recording booths in their homes, or that Anet staff have access to the full set of hardware they normally use for this kind of recording.

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Ironwu

Folks, if you have not been keeping up with the capability of professional sound recording outside of studio environments then I can see why you think that it is necessary.

Now, it may be that the people they are tasking to do this sort of work are not up on the latest tech and are only capable of doing the job while standing in front of a mike in a studio.

But, that is yesterday’s way of doing things. I am sure they could find some perfectly capable voice actors that have the tech and the ability to do the job remotely.

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outlawxtorn

You have to read the whole article dude.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

Unions have rules, these rules and regulations get baked into contracts that are probably the backbone of any Voice Actor contract, they’re probably required to show up and record in a studio onsite.