Gone are the days where you pop in a cartridge into the console, fire it up and blast aliens to kingdom come and never hear anyone utter a single word. The popular trend for gaming developers, trying to appeal to a much wider audience (as gamers’ entertainment dollars are being stretched thinner and thinner), is to develop games that resemble live-action films, complete with voice actors and character representations based on real people (example: Yvonne Strahovski as Miranda Lawson in Mass Effect 2; Kristen Bell as Lucy Stillman from the Assassin’s Creed series).
With the increasing element of realism to appeal to more customers, lines of dialogue continue to increase, even in games that traditionally had little to begin with. Diablo III, due out “sometime” in 2012 (hopefully), will be the next game to break its traditional mold and will feature 13,000 to 16,000 lines of spoken dialogue.
Other Blizzard titles such as World of Warcraft and StarCraft II each featured 3,000 lines of dialogue, impressive considering the latter is a real-time strategy game. The incredibly popular Diablo II had just a handful of cut-scenes and a modest amount of spoken words from various townsfolk, but the player never heard their character utter a word, save for the occasional one-liner when entering a new area, telling Cain to escape, or defeating a boss. There was never interaction from the player side when visiting with people in the towns, like Deckard Cain.
The lines of dialogue are broken down into 1,200 lines for each of Diablo III’s main heroes, and when considering each character has a male and female version, that puts the total around 12,000 lines. The remainder will be filled out with townsfolk and characters in the world who will actually speak to players, making the world of Sanctuary feel more alive and less static.
As for the actual monsters of the world and their vocal and sound interactions, Sanctuary is home to 16 unique creature types, each with its own sound palette. Blizzard used specialized voice actors to perform creature vocalizations — often blended with animal noises to create the final sound that players will hear in the game itself.
As a side note, this gamer likes that games have a more cinematic feel to them, though until the final product is released, I’m always skeptical of developers boasting about their lines of dialogue. In a January 2010 interview with Game Hunters, Mass Effect 2 producer Casey Hudson originally claimed Mass Effect 2 had over 130,000 lines of dialogue, a number that, when reported that 40,000 lines were being used in Mass Effect 3, shrunk considerably to 25,000 lines. One has to wonder what is the definition of a “line of dialogue” though, because how can a game lose 95,000 lines just weeks before launch?
Diablo fans, is the increased number of spoken lines in Diablo III a good feature for the game? Do you typically like games that offer more player interaction with spoken lines than games without it?
Diablo III, currently with no official release date (but likely sometime in 2012), will only launch on the PC and the Mac.
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Source: Game Front