How do you create a character who's capable of naturally reacting and responding to the choices the player makes, while also having a personality that can be influenced over the course of not just one episode, but an entire game?
Read the full article:redbull.com/int-en/life-is…
We’re back again with another developer update on our progress with Episode 2 of Life is strange 2! You can find our previous updates here.
Work on Episode 2 is progressing well and we are just this week completing the final voice-over (VO) recording session for this episode. That means that all voice capture work for Episode 2 will soon be done, though it still needs be integrated into the game.
You can follow Daniel’s voice actor Roman George on Instagram here.
Usually we run about three VO sessions per episode, with each session being broken down into specific types of VO lines. We often start with the lines for cinematics and key scenes in an episode, which are often the very first lines to be written. The second VO recording session then focuses on the branching dialogues and any remaining VO lines from the previous session. The third and final VO recording session (the one that is taking place this week) is dedicated to capturing the main character’s inner voice lines. These will be the lines you hear in Sean’s head when he interacts with something in the game. Additionally, we will use this session to capture dynamic dialogues, which you can interact with as you walk around the game, and we will also be recording “pick-ups”. Pick-ups are lines that we decided to change after playtests or that we feel need to be improved and/or re-recorded.
The idea behind this flow is to record the most work intensive lines first. It’s only after the cinematic lines have been recorded that we are able to properly get to work with cameras placement, body and facial animations, VFX, lights, audio in these key scenes. That’s why this first session happens very early on in an episode’s development. In this case, our first VO recording for Episode 2 already took place weeks before work on Episode 1 was wrapped up. On the other hand, inner voice monologues are much easier to integrate into the game at later stages of development and are therefore among the final lines to be recorded.
As there is already much work to be done building an episode before any or all VO lines are implemented, we use a text-to-speech program that transforms our script into audio files using computer-generated voices. Even though the result of that can sound pretty funny and doesn’t accurately convey the same emotions that our talented VO actors do, having these placeholder lines is really helpful to the team and allows us to properly test scenes early on!
Note that the visual footage shown during the placeholder VO segment in the video above is captured from Episode 1′s final build.
For recording the VO in our games we use a partner based in the US, where our VO director Philip Bache runs each session and gets the very best performances out of each artist. Phil worked on the first Life is Strange too! Of course, it’s very important for some of our team to attend the sessions, but because we’re based in Paris (France) and the VO studio is based in California, we usually dial in remotely. Even though we’d love to fly to California each time, it would be logistically quite complicated and would mean that time that we could be working on the game is instead spent at airports or in an airplane. Remote attendance works great for us as we’re able to interact with Phil as if we were next to each other. The only downside is that due to the timezones difference between Paris and California, the team members remotely attending the sessions need to follow them from 6pm to 4am… but that’s why coffee exists! Still, we’re happy that such sessions are few and far between and we make sure to still get plenty of rest.
Finally, on the subject of VO’s, we briefly wanted to thank everyone who tuned into last week’s Extra Life stream with Gonzalo Martin, the voice actor of Sean, which was run by Square Enix North American office. You can find out more about Sean’s voice actor Gonzalo here, and more about Daniel’s voice actor Roman George here.
We’ll be back soon with another update on the progress of the second episode of Life is Strange 2 - until then, have a great weekend!
The Life is Strange team