Bioshock Infinite: Perfecting Voice Acting
The second in Irrational Games’ series, ‘Behind Booker and Elizabeth’ for Bioshock Infinite, was released. These clips show the process in which the game developers toil over perfecting the script and voice acting of their project, Bioshock Infinite. Theses short films focus around Ken Levine, creative director, and his prototype scripts for the game. He works diligently with the two main voice actors: Courtnee Draper (Elizabeth) and Troy Baker (Booker).
The second film of this series further explains this script-perfecting process. Levine explains how he approaches the two actors with a prototype script in which the three of them sit around and talk about it – making changes. As Draper and Baker get more familiar and deeper into their characters, phrasing and differences can be modified in this prototype script. This technique allows the team to have a start, with a goal of where they want to get to, but the process is finding out how to get there.
This recording process itself is rather advanced. While doing the voice acting, the studio films the faces of the actors to see what sort of emotion is portrayed while saying their lines. This allows for the animators and graphic designers to refine the character faces to be aligned with the voice acting. The clip does an excellent job of showing the actor's face with the character face. This technique breathes life and emotion into the character in a way most games haven’t.
Due to these techniques, the ‘more is better’ approach is the way to go. The shotgun approach of recording (recording as much as possible and seeing what sticks) allows the team to go through their archive of recordings and choose which is the best to finalize in game. This approach allows the actors to explore different types of inflections and fully explore their characters. The clip shows Baker berating Draper to put her in an emotion state to deliver her lines better. This technique isn’t out of cruelty, but to help her reach that stage. Telling someone to ‘be sad’ isn’t the same effect of them being brought to real tears. At the end, she asks him to do it again.
Perfection is often a term that is used lightly. Will the voice acting in Bioshock Infinite be perfect? Probably not. Will the voice acting in Bioshock Infinite be absolutely amazing – yes. From the released trailers, the fact that ‘Bioshock’ is in the title, and due to this process explained – we know Bioshock Infinite is going to be a story-driven game with an astonishing narrative. I personally hope Irrational Games continues with these videos to shows their fans the elaborate process which creates for the epic storytelling aspects of this game.