Voice Acting

Popular Video Game Voices: A Guide to Gaming Voice Styles

Keaton Robbins | January 15, 2020

A cartoon blue dude holds his arms up

The best video games pull us into their worlds, enabling us to enter an alternate reality, filled with curiosity and adventure. This is made possible not only through graphics, but also video game voices, which come together to make the characters and storylines highly captivating. 

As a gaming content creator, whether you’re creating an elearning game or a fantasy video game, you must incorporate engaging voices to bring your characters to life and increase user engagement. 

In this article

  1. The Importance of Video Game Voices
  2. How Voice Overs Elevate the Video Gaming Experience
  3. Top Voice Over Styles for Video Games
  4. The Top 5 Vocal Qualities Video Game Creators Look For
  5. 1. Animated Video Game Voices
  6. 2. Aggressive-Sounding Voices
  7. 3. Authentic Voice Over
  8. 4. The Charismatic Voice
  9. 5. Authoritative Video Game Voice Overs
  10. The 3 Most Popular Video Game Voices 
  11. Iconic Video Game Voice Overs That Audiences Love
  12. 1.The adorable Italian plumber, Mario
  13. 2. Spyro from The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning
  14. 3. HAL Laboratory’s Kirby
  15. Voice Over is Still Central to the Gaming Experience

For a new genre of first person games, gamers are downloading and installing voice changers to create an even more engaging and personalized experience.

Learn about the importance of voice acting in video games and find out which video game voice over styles are the most popular in the gaming industry. 

The Importance of Video Game Voices

How Voice Overs Elevate the Video Gaming Experience

Voice overs play a huge part in the rapidly growing video game industry, adding to the overall gaming experience for players. Global Data’s research report estimates that the gaming industry will reach a whopping $300B industry by 2025. This growth shows the necessity to create impressive video game characters that stand out amongst the crowd.

Voice actors allow you to design lifelike characters that speak to a large audience. Using a human voice over for your character, helps you weave a strong narrative throughout the video game, allowing players to understand and enjoy the gaming world you’ve created. 

Furthermore, video game voice overs are not just limited to storytelling, they can narrate the thoughts of characters who may or may not appear in-game, and who shed light on the game’s plot. You can also use voice overs to give vital clues for puzzles that players come across, and to create more engagement – great devices for adventure and elearning games.

For example, Nintendo’s Mario games are not only engaging because of the fun missions, but also due to the fact that the main character, Mario, has a great personality, which is shown through the funny sounds and dialogues he voices throughout the game. His “woohoos,” make players thoroughly enjoy collecting gold coins and avoiding dangers, adding to the exhilarating game-playing adventure. While playing a Mario game, we begin to fall in love with his cute antics, developing fiery motivation to help him find Princess Peach.

Top Voice Over Styles for Video Games

Video games are just as diverse as films, available in a variety of genres, languages and forms. This variety allows for the creation of highly-unique characters with distinct voices.

As a game developer, you have a choice to make: which voice over qualities to incorporate so that you form a strong connection with your audience?

The Top 5 Vocal Qualities Video Game Creators Look For

When it comes to voice over, there are a few ‘gold standards’ to be aware of.

We’ve rounded the top 5 voice over styles that our video game clients prefer for their voice overs, to help you find the perfect one for your character.

1. Animated Video Game Voices

An animated video game voice has a lot of energy, livening up your game with highly-expressive dialogue and sounds. An animated voice can be electric, funny, goofy, or a combination of all of these styles. Such voices are great for adventure and arcade style games. 

A great example of an animated video game voice is found in the voice of Sonic, from Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic’s fast and energetic voice greatly shows off his animated and electric personality. After all, he is the “fastest thing alive.”

2. Aggressive-Sounding Voices

Aggressive video games voices are highly-popular in the competitive world of gaming. Such voices are assertive, bold and fierce. They set the tone for your character, allowing the user to absorb the fiery attitude of the character, while playing the game. 

Such a voice style is pretty commonly seen in role-playing games that involve combat. Bowser from Nintendo’s Mario games, is a good example of an aggressive video game voice over. Bowser has an angry and deep voice, which is used to intimidate players during battles, at the end of difficult levels.

3. Authentic Voice Over

An authentic voice helps you create a likeable video game character, as it incorporates a genuine and believable tone into the script. This technique allows you to design a humanlike character who speaks to the audience. 

This video game voice over style is highly versatile and can be used in role-playing games, elearning games etc. Spyro the Dragon, from The Legend of Spyro has such a vocal quality, which strikes a chord in the heart of the player through its genuine and kindhearted tone. 

4. The Charismatic Voice

Charismatic voices are highly magnetic, pulling the audience into the game through enthralling dialogue deliveries. Such voices sound poised and charming, making your character stand out in the gaming world. 

Imagine a wise owl who uses his alluring and mysterious voice to direct you through the game, or maybe a prince who charismatically narrates the game’s story. You can have fun with this voice over style, because the possibilities are endless.  

5. Authoritative Video Game Voice Overs

Authoritative video game voices are confident and commanding, making your character appear formidable. An authoritative voice works will with dominating video game characters who are powerful and wise, personality traits that can work with both negative and positive characterization. 

A good example of such a voice is, Cynder, from The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning. Cynder’s voice is both husky and commanding, showing her strong persona. She manages to steal the scene, during the boss level battle, by using her voice to intimidate young Spyro.

Tip: Read our video game sample scripts to learn how to write great scripts and job descriptions for your video game project. 

Iconic Video Game Voice Overs That Audiences Love

1.The adorable Italian plumber, Mario

Nintendo’s Mario is one of the most iconic video game characters ever created, capturing the hearts of audiences around the globe. The immensely talented Charles Martinet, uses a thick Italian accent to give little Mario an energetic and funny voice. He has been voicing the character for more than 25 years.

While playing a Mario game, players hear his funny one-liners, making their gaming experience extremely entertaining. Mario’s signature line is, “It’s-a me, Mario!” 

This line repeatedly appears in marketing campaigns, proving how it has become a signature for the beloved character and also the video gaming giant, Nintendo. The character’s success is an inspiration for gaming content creators, as it shows that unique characters remain commercially successful, withstanding the passage of time.

See how Mario was created:

2. Spyro from The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning

The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning revolves around a purple dragon, Spyro, who is voiced by Elijah Woods. In the game, players see Spyro’s story unravel through his multiple dialogues and scenes. Elijah Woods superbly captures Spyro’s innocent and caring personality through his voice acting, creating a huge fan following for the small, purple dragon. 

See Elijah Wood’s interview for The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning:

3. HAL Laboratory’s Kirby

HAL Laboratory’s Kirby is an adorable pink and round video game character. The creators have partnered with Ninetendo, releasing over 30 video games featuring Kirby. The character has been so well received by video game players all around the world. 

Kirby’s cuteness is elevated by his cheerful and high-pitched voice. Makiko Ohmoto is the talented voice actor behind Kirby. Players loved her voice over so much, that the creators decided not to dub the audio for the English version of the games. 

Kirby also has his own anime films and cartoons, which just goes to show how great video game characters are highly versatile.

Voice Over is Still Central to the Gaming Experience

Hyper-realistic graphics may have changed the gaming world, but their success heavily depends on talented voice actors who tell the stories within the game. In order to have a popular video game, you must design great characters that not only look interesting, but also sound interesting. The right voice over can connect to the large gaming audience, making your character highly memorable and unique. 

Create the most iconic video game character by finding the right voice actor today.

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  • Avatar for Clover Otsworth
    Clover Otsworth
    January 25, 2020, 4:29 am

    As a gamer, I admire your attempt to bring voiceover in the gaming industry into the awareness of younger actors, we most certainly need articles like this.

    I admit that the actors showcased on this list are each responsible for outstanding contributions to the gaming society. Charles Martinet in particular voices nearly every male character in the Mario franchise while still managing to make each one so distinct that to the casual listener, they all sound as though voiced by different people. Mario, Sonic, Spyro, Kirby, etcetera are all games that contain cute, colourful characters that run through at least semi-linear levels jumping on enemies and grabbing power ups. This represents a large number of games but even that is only a tiny fraction of the gaming industry as a whole.

    If you are interested, here is a list of performances and actors that I think deserve to be recognized and emulated by actors hoping to succeed in the gaming industry: John St John as Duke Nukem from the Duke Nukem, Dameon Clarke as Handsome Jack from Borderlands 2, Luke Sizemore as The Snatcher from A Hat In Time, David Hayter as Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid, Nolan North as Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series, Kari Wahlgren as Raine from Tales of Symphonia, Danny Wallace as The Narrator from Thomas was alone, Logan Cunningham as The Narrator from Bastion, Hellena Taylor as Bayoneta from Bayoneta, Linda Hunt as The Narrator from God of War, Courtnee Draper as Elizabeth from Bioshock infinite, Roger Craig Smith as Ezio Auditore da Firenze from Assassin’s Creed, Ellen McLain as GLaDOS from Portal, and many, many more.

    I hope I have been of some assistance, have a wonderful day.

    • Avatar for oliver
      January 29, 2020, 11:41 am

      Hey Clover,

      Thanks for this comprehensive list of video game voice actors who also merit some recognition. The next time we’re composing a roundup of popular video game voices, we’ll make sure to showcase some of the talented actors you mentioned.

      Have a great day!

  • Avatar for T.chandra sekhar
    T.chandra sekhar
    July 31, 2020, 6:25 am

    Sir thanks for giving me valuble tips..iam good in voice over
    For telugu language also later i will do english and hindi.