Bungie: Peter Dinklage’s ‘Destiny’ Voice-over Will Be ‘Updated’

Published 11 months ago by

Destiny Game Questions

After years of being touted as one of the video game industry’s most reliable studios, it seems only fair that Bungie should encounter some criticism. But with Destiny inching ever closer to release (with the Beta coming to Xbox owners at the end of July), it isn’t the game design, enemies, or even fiction that has drawn the ire of some gamers – it’s the narration.

The talented voice cast for Destiny was deduced long before the studio made it official, with both Bill Nighy (Love, Actually, Shaun of the Dead) and Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) lending their talents to the game. Both actors boast impressive resumes, but when players were finally let into the Alpha following E3 2014, some issues arose. Namely, that Dinklage’s performance – as the player’s AI companion, ‘Ghost’ – was uncharacteristically flat, at best, and downright boring and lacking personality at worst (you can hear the voice-over for yourself in our series of Destiny gameplay videos).

The studio stayed quiet on the matter, while other developers and press made it clear online that the issue was a significant one, as opposed to nitpicky players making jokes at the game’s expense. Now the developer has weighed in (sort of) in Bungie’s weekly update, as Community Manager Eric Osborne explains that the criticism of Dinklage’s voice work had obviously not been missed by the development team:

“Hey, we read the same forums… In fact, the Ghost dialog has already been updated for Beta. It will be updated again for launch on September 9th, as well.

“Funny thing about Alpha builds…they’re not done. Please pardon our Moon dust!”

Destiny PS4 Exclusive Gear Showcase

Hopefully some of the issues with Dinklage’s lines can be corrected with the expected addition of robotic effects (as heard in the game’s E3 trailer), but nobody was criticizing the voice-over for sounding too human or unaltered; it was Dinklage’s direction and performance. Bungie might be able to accurately claim that the game isn’t yet finished, and they’ll be “updating” the voice-over in one way or another, but it stands to reason that the voice-over put in place will be the one that remains to release. Of course, only time will tell.

Much of the anger voiced by some fans at narration and voice-over they deemed lacking was due to the rumored cost of development, with Activision boss Bobby Kotick claiming that all told, Destiny would come with a $500 million price tag. At that price, any aspect of the game deemed sub-par would be downright inexcusable, but Bungie COO Pete Parsons told GamesIndustry.biz that the estimation wasn’t quite as it sounded:

“For marketing you’d have to ask Activision people, but for development costs, not anything close to $500 million. I think that speaks a lot more to the long-term investment that we’re making in the future of the product.”

In the update, Osborne reiterated Parsons’ statement:

“We’re pouring everything it takes into Destiny to ensure it meets our fans’ expectations, and our own. Activision is, too. But the budget for Destiny, including associated marketing costs and pizza Wednesdays, is nowhere near 500 million dollars.”

Destiny Crucible Competitive Multiplayer

It’s strange to see that it isn’t the gameplay or next-gen aspects of Destiny being most heavily scrutinized, but the public reaction will be even more fascinating if the finished game ships with lengthy voice-over that is genuinely lacking in an otherwise AAA production. Can one weak link break the chain? Bungie has proven themselves in the past, but there’s no doubt they were caught off-guard.

What do you make of the ‘controversy’? Do you think the voice-over is a genuinely important part of the player experience, or was it all an overreaction?


Destiny will be landing on the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One on September 9, 2014.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Bungie, GamesIndustry

TAGS: Activision, Bungie, Destiny, PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

  • Cal

    I saw your videos of the beta and loved Dinlage’s audio. Only problem I had was I’d wished Rob had have (i mean this in good way) shut up a bit more so I could hear it.

  • Neo

    I’m all for amazing voice work but it wasn’t bad enough to take away from the game, in my opinion. Glad they’re addressing it, but I’d have been fine.

  • COREY_1993

    he was terrible… just replace him completely. a game never sells on the actors involved anyway. well, saying that i think the only actors that makes people excited about a game is troy baker and nolan north.

    peter sucked in the beta so he needs to be either better directed or just better..

    • Maxios

      To be honest, I think that’s partially the fault of the writing as well. I can’t think of any actor living who could’ve made the moon wizard line sound good.

  • osbert

    “The talented voice cast for Destiny was deduced long before the studio made it official”

    source for official voice cast please?

  • Jen

    What? He’s Ghost! What are you expecting from a robot? I think he did a great job. I love that he’s dry and witty. I think it is weird for robots to have a lot of emotion. Also, most of the character in Destiny sound a little plain, but it doesn’t bother me.

  • Outlawstar silver

    Funny how people not doing the job are nothing but bitch bitch bitch. I think the voice acting was great and wasn’t flat but portrayed just how serious the fight was. Peter you did a great job and where emotions where needed for ghost was shown ‘little light’ :). Overall been a long time since a game came out that made me want to put hours of investment into it so well done from me chaps looking forward to the next instalment. …

  • uri

    [b] should not have used peter dinklage, GOD every time i hear him speak i fill like kicking a midget field goal.[/b]

    Seriously though, his voice acting and acting in general are sub par at best why the hell did they use him………..

  • Anomaly382

    Wow, we are seriously criticizing an “actor” who “acts” and has a role as a “speaking part” in a video game as a “robot ghost”. Calling it flat and un-emotional is a complement to the person doing the “acting/speaking” role. Robots with emotion are not robots, Mr. Dinklage did an exceptional job. Just bought the game a few days ago, can’t put it down. Even if the narrative wasn’t up to par this game delivers, albeit from what I’ve read short in comparison to RPG’s like FFX that I put over 150 hours into getting all the final weapons, or FF7 which i put just as much time into, I see myself putting 75+ into this, checking out all the characters, and social/team aspects. Lets not put down a game because a voice isn’t what you expect it to be. Be less of a troll and more of a gamer. GG

    • _

      “be more of a gamer”. what does that mean? consuming whatever fake hype garbage you’re told is genius? wanting quality doesn’t make you a troll.

      when i first saw a walkthrough i thought ghost was the family member of some programmer, or something. when i found out it was a professional actor i was stunned.

  • Skothingtoshin

    See this is proof they are lying about everything. Then cutting costs and justifying it by making up excuses about it. Waiting until something else like DLC comes out. Then shifting the criticism to that. When it’s obvious that they are oblivious to the fans and instead just their profits.

    Tops trading cards was like that and they destroyed trading cards.