With all of the chainsaws and blood spatter in the franchise, one of the overlooked aspects of the Gears of War series is the voice acting. The series is unquestionably built upon combat, but its the various voices of the games that lend an emotional aspect to the breaks between slaughtering Locust hordes. Gears of War 3‘s Executive Producer Rod Fergusson feels so strongly about the voice actors in the Gears universe, he’s calling it the “best cast in video games”.
Voice acting has become stronger and stronger across the video game industry, not just limited to Gears of War.
Red Dead Redemption, the Mass Effect series, and even Dragon Age 2 have possessed great voice acting that lends individuality to each character and, at times, delivers an experience more similar to a movie than a game.
Battle chatter may serve a useful purpose in intense shooters, but in an interview with OXM, Fergusson explained just how much acting goes into modern video games.
One of the most memorable story scenes, and one Fergusson gives as a prime example, is the moment in Gears of War 2 where (SPOILERS!!!) Marcus and Dom come across Dom’s missing wife Maria, finding she has suffered a very cruel and painful torture at the hands of the Locust.
For Fergusson, its story scenes like these that give the game’s developers a chance to go the extra mile in delivering a realistic performance:
“That was even emotional for [Dom's voice actor Carlos Ferro], that was one of the things that was really cool… Being involved in every voiceover situation for all three games, and having to prepare for that scene, and having to turn off the lights in the studio so he could get into it, and actually having him cry in the studio over it.
“One of the things for me is, I see that scene and I don’t just see Dom, I see Carlos in the studio, having that effect. We have an editor who types things up, so when the actors ad lib we can resolve it with the script, and she was crying too.
“In certain cases there are those argument scenes, like when they’re trying to work out whether to go save Maria or not – we brought both actors in to have that fight in person.”
It’s hard to argue that the performances of Carlos Ferro and John Dimaggio as Dom and Marcus aren’t one of the best parts of any Gears title, but there are plenty who play Gears of War while transposing Marcus’ dialogue onto that of Bender B. Rodriguez.
No single-player footage of Gears of War 3 has been released at the moment, but the multiplayer beta is in full swing (and will be ending soon). Voice acting isn’t the only way Epic Games is trying to convey a sense of emotion for the GoW series, with the box art for GoW3 carrying plenty of imagery to get fans’ imaginations working.
How do you think things will end for Delta Squad and planet Sera? Will the script, story, and performances of Gears 3 be able to stand above the combat and bloodshed? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.
Gears of War 3 will be releasing exclusively on the Xbox 360 on September 20, 2011.
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