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‘Dragon Age: Inquisition’ lead writer reveals the voice over process in detail

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Bioware titles are known for their rich spoken dialogue and this will certainly still be the case in Dragon Age: Inquisition when it launches later this fall. However, many fans don’t understand the amount of work it takes to create these spoken lines. From his personal blog on March 31, Dragon Age lead writer David Gaider decided to detail the process from the initial writing to the final implementation of fully voiced in-game lines.

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Gaider revealed that Bioware titles average somewhere between 25,000 to 80,000 written lines whereas modern novels reach only around 12,000 lines. This means that writing a Bioware game is a massive undertaking that requires a system to keep everything in track.

Most games don’t come anywhere near that much writing, never much attempt to record all of it. So we need a system to organize all of that, one many companies don’t have.

Each line of dialogue is written directly into a conversation editor. This program contains a field that contains the actual line as it will be spoken, a second field to explain the emotion that the actor should perform the line with, and finally a string that leads that line of spoken text to whatever dialogue is meant to follow.

Without have a program that allows them to directly give notes to voice talent regarding how a line should be spoken then the recording process would take much longer since no one would know if they should read the line with anger, sarcasm, or any other possible emotion. Once a voice actor is chosen, they then start recording their lines. Gaider noted that up to 400 lines can be recorded in a four hour session. As was previously stated, these titles can contain upwards to 80,000 lines so the entire process is rather lengthy.

Dragon Age: Inquisition releases this fall on Xbox One, PS4, PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.

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