How long before virtual reality becomes a part of our everyday existence? Instead of being faced with screens all day we will be immersed in whole new worlds.
When we watch movies we will feel as though we are really there in the same room as the actors. At work, we can attend bespoke meetings or be taken on a guided tour in a museum in your favourite city. Even when we order sausages and bacon online we could take a leisurely stroll through a virtual supermarket to check out new products and special offers.
Playing games is another aspect of our lives that is going to be greatly enhanced by advances in virtual reality. While this is one of the most thrilling possibilities for gamers right now, it needs to be done right or the whole thing could be made a mockery of. It’s all comes down to the game experience and how convincing it is which is why every aspect of the game needs to be believable.
Don’t break the spell
Let’s imagine for a second that you are in a mysterious future world. The excitement should be so intense that it makes you forget all about the outside world for a few hours. As you discover interesting characters who appear so real you might even completely forget that you are in a game.
Yet, what happens if you start to interact with one of them and hear a voice that sounds like a robot from a best-forgotten 80’s sitcom? Or even worse, he could sound like Keanu Reeves in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The atmosphere will be completely ruined and the virtual reality bubble is burst.
There is no more destroying way of breaking the spell in a VR world than by using voices that sound completely unreal. Suddenly, the illusion comes crashing down around the player’s ears and they realise that they are standing in the kitchen in their underwear rather than on-board a magical pirate ship.
Create a world
If we flip the last point on its head, we know that super awesome voice actors can help create a world better than anything else. No matter how impressive the game is, the best voices can take it on to the next level and give it a huge degree of realism.
Imagine you are on a dangerous mission in the jungle and an urgent, authoritative voice starts barking out commanding orders in your ear. Or maybe you are in Dracula’s house (don’t worry, you aren’t Keanu so you don’t have to talk like some tortured guy who has no idea what century he is in) and you hear the Count’s menacing voice making suave but very real ominous threats. These voices will help to create the illusion of the mission and immerse you in the game’s world.
The right kind of voice over can remove the final portal that transports the player to a whole new world where anything is possible and everything is real. This is what VR is all about so missing out this piece of the jigsaw could drastically change it from absolute win to total fail.
Build up the tension
Have you ever noticed how much the right actors can crank up the tension with just a few words? Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs and Joe Pesci in Goodfellas are a couple of classic examples of when actors probably caused a few people to rush urgently to the bathroom.
How could a game possibly compete with this? Well, by using some of the same powerful techniques and great voice acting as the movies do.
A player who is terrified or inspired by the voices they hear in a virtual reality game are going to love playing it and feeling as though they are living life on the edge. A bit of tension goes a long way and can make any game into a hugely memorable experience for the players. Maybe someone will need to invent virtual reality toilets for all this tension!
Make it authentic
Finally, the challenge of making a game visually authentic is something that has become far easier for game production companies in recent years. With the introduction of VR it becomes even more viable, as the player can get caught up in a world that he sees as being completely and utterly real in 360 degrees.
By choosing the right accent, the right language and the right period you can get voices that blend in seamlessly to the game’s vibe.
This may mean a bit more research. After all, most of us don’t know off the top of our heads how people spoke in 18th century Ireland or on the moons of Jupiter. It could be the same accent in both cases and it may sound a bit like Colin Farrell impersonating Liam Neeson. Who knows?
Yet, by putting a bit of extra work in to finding the perfect voice actor, it is possible to get a game that looks and feels authentic to everyone who plays it. In this way, you get to squeeze the maximum enjoyment and realism out of virtual reality. The next challenge they need to master is the motion sickness with VR headsets, once they get that nailed then VR will be truly sick (in a good way).
Check out voice actor Guy who specialises in video game voices. Is this the kind of voice who would make or break your virtual reality bubble?