Monday, January 4, 2016

Post-apocalyptic Storytelling Techniques

"The movie wasn't as good as the book."
  - Everyone

It's not true, of course.  Movies are movies, and books are books.  A movie can display amazing visuals, and music to capture emotion.  Put a face on it, in a way you can't imagine.  Books allow you to tailor the story to your imagination.  The story can form to you, like an old shoe.  And maybe there are times when your imagination is more profound than the actors and special effects artists can come up with.

Voicing the main character in Fallout 4 may seem like the obvious next step.  I never even questioned it in the Mass Effect series.  Then again, who's going to argue with Jennifer Hail as the voice of your protagonist.  But Mass Effect was the story of an individual.  You could decide overall demeanor and moral decisions, but you were always a bad ass captain of a star ship, here to save the day.

The thing is, previous Fallout games were open world.  They gave very little back story, and let you decide who you were.  This one was a fundamental departure to that.  I was told I was a lawyer, and a grieving widow.  And by the way, you're a hero, and need to take care of these people.

Sure, I could make a strong, dumb lawyer.  Wouldn't really be immersive though, would it?  And I guess I could have abandoned the people the game put me in charge of.

This approach is very much in line with the idea of, instead of deciding what my character will say, I decide the kind of thing she will say, then find out what that is as she says it.  It's fine for a game, but I don't think this game.  Fallout games have been games where I decide who I am, and have many paths to choose from.

One more minor complaint.  If they were going to voice my character, they should have voiced each persuasion attempt separately.  It is immersion breaking to see vastly different reactions to the same words and tone.  A poor persuasion attempt should sound awkward, and a successful should really lay it on.

Other people's opinions will obviously be different  I would like to make it clear, that I do think it was voiced well.  I have no problems with the voice acting.

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