Tools and Resources

Game Developer’s Guide to Voice Acting

Gamers have come to expect a more immersive experience in the games they play, and the voice acting can be a key element in drawing the player into the story. Technological advances are certainly making it easier to include more dialog and verbal byplay in cutscenes.

For these two reasons alone, it’s important that game developers invest the time required to write a script and hire a professional voice actor to take their games to the next level.

How to Hire a Voice Actor for Game Development:

  1. Get To Know Who Voice Actors Are

Voice actors are performers that have a unique instrument, their voice. Their voice is used to help achieve the script writer’s goal, whether they are voicing a character in a console game for XBOX, PlayStation or Nintendo, a mobile game for the millions of iPhones, iPads, Android gamers out there or even those who prefer to play games on their desktop PCs.

  1. Understand What Makes a Good Voice Over

What exactly makes a voice right for voice acting? Everyone has a voice, but only some people have the necessary skills and traits needed for voice-over work. In order to do voice overs, a voice actor needs to be able to speak clearly, take direction, listen with objectivity and create characters simply by reading a script.

  1. Figure Out The Roles of the Voice Actor

Voice actors play many different roles in video games. In general, voice actors can find themselves voicing for four main categories of roles, each one representing a different purpose and segment of voice-over work. Those roles include the following:

  • Hero
  • Villain
  • Narrator or Announcer
  • Instructor or Teacher

These different roles help get the message to the listener, each with its own characteristics and purpose.

  1. Script The Dialog

One of the primary responsibilities of a voice actor is that of a storyteller. Instead of telling the story with relative passivity, the voice actor has an opportunity to be directly involved in how the story is told.

When writing your script, be sure that it’s easy for the voice actor to understand the five Ws and the one H. Those are:

  • Who is speaking (a character in the game or an unseen announcer)?
  • What specifically is being said?
  • Where is the dialog happening (inside, outside, between people or by an announcer)?
  • When is the scene occurring (the past, present or future) and is appropriate language being used?
  • Why is there voice-over at this point in the game? Be purposeful!
  • How is the voice-over helpful to the game player?

Take the time to write a compelling and engaging script. If you’re willing to give the voice actor some artistic liberty with the script, then remember to advise them of your flexibility when you’re in contact with them.

  1. Listen To Demos

A demo is to a voice actor as a portfolio is to an artist. The demo shows you what they can do with their voice. Typically a character demo is no longer than 60 seconds. For animation or character demos, you will hear a sampling of between four and ten different characters.

Here are some popular character types for video game voices.

  • Announcer
  • Banker
  • Chef
  • Child
  • Coach
  • Cowboy
  • Doctor
  • Drill Sergeant
  • Executive
  • Family Man
  • Game Show Host
  • Girl Next Door
  • Grandfather
  • Grandmother
  • Guy Next Door
  • Hobbit
  • Kid
  • Lone Ranger
  • Mobster
  • Mother
  • Motivational Speaker
  • Nerd
  • Newscaster
  • Patient
  • Pirate
  • Police Officer
  • Politician
  • Professor
  • Roman Gladiator
  • Super Hero
  • Surfer Dude
  • Teacher
  • Teacher’s Pet
  • Villain
  • Wizard
  1. Consider Saving Money When Hiring a Voice Actor

A platform like Voices serves as an online creative services marketplace that brings together thousands of voice actors from around the world. Many of these voice actors have experience in performing in video games and know the subtleties of creating a believable character.

If your game has multiple characters, consider hiring a single voice talent who can perform all of those characters. This is certainly a skill and should be left to the professionals!

  1. Estimate How Much a Voice-Over Is Going To Cost

When budgeting for a voice over in your video game, consider this rule of thumb, $100-250 per page of script. A page of script is approximately 250 to 300 words. Here’s an example:

  • 1000 words of dialog between characters in your game
  • Approximately 4 pages of script
  • Budget between $400 and $1000
  • Posting a Video Game Job at Voices.com

The fastest and easiest way to find a voice actor is to post a job on Voices. It’s free to do and will put you in touch with dozens of voice actors who are interested in working with you.

  1. Post Your Video Game Character Job – It’s Free

Posting your job is as easy as entering a few project details such as the gender of the voice, some artistic direction (you want the character to sound sarcastic, youthful, scared, or like a hero or villain). You’ll also want to include your script. By doing so, the voice actors will audition for you, meaning they will record a brief sample demonstrating their ability to bring your characters to life. 

Get started on the Voices platform today!

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