A video game script is different from what actors get on stage or when shooting for a movie. The video game voice over scripts is developed long after the designer has conceptualized the game. Just like the scriptwriter, the voice-over artist will play a role that is fundamentally different from what a movie actor or documentary artist would.
Before you think that a video game voice-over artist is a stooge of the designer, you need to consider the crucial role he or she plays in the assembly of the video game.
It is an indisputable fact that the fun in video games lies inaction therein and the characters at play. These characters have to behave, sound, and appear in a way that endears them to the player. The ability of the voice actor to enact the script with perfection will be responsible for endearing the player to the character and putting life into the action.
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What Makes Video Game Voice Over Scripts Different?
- The script must capture different routes or scenarios that a player takes: It’s more like scripting for a driver on the road. When the driver gets to a junction, he can choose to turn left, right, proceed, or even return. Each of these options requires different wording, tone, and continuity. The scripting needed in such a scenario is different from the linear approach taken by movie-script writers.
- The game comes with limitations that will affect your script: The video game scriptwriter has to follow the directions of the programmer. Literarily, you will be slipping through the cracks like water at a fountain. It creates the impression that creativity is not welcome.
- Video game voice scripting comes long after the programmers have designed the actions. While the honors of decorating a movie script lie with the scriptwriter, a video game requires writers to work as part of larger teams. A lot of your imaginative ideas will be shot down.
But do the restrictions and differences leave a video game scriptwriter helpless? Of course not!
Video game scriptwriters can be compared to the science-fiction writers of the 1950s. The storyline exists at the ream of imagination. It, therefore, takes the innovation of the scriptwriter to bring the game home.
How To Write Winning Video Game Voice Over Scripts
Though under the command of the game designer, the scriptwriter is responsible for breathing life to the storyline. Remember that developers borrow from mythical stories, religious legends, political characters, and such known figures. The scriptwriter has to translate the story into a game that players will enjoy.
A video game script rides on the overall story created by the designer. Still, you have a leeway that will determine the quality of the text you produce.
Here are a few crucial points a scriptwriter must remember and consider when drafting the lines:
Points to Consider
- The Bigger Storyline– in movies, the scriptwriter creates the story with all the creativity and imagination possible. Video games are different for scriptwriters. Video game scriptwriters are guided by the crafting of the programmer. In reality, the writer does not script for the entire game. Some of the sections are filled with sound effects and actions of the gaming characters. The scripting experience is, therefore, different.
- The Character at Hand-movie characters is enhanced by their actions, setting, visual effects, and co-stars. A video game is different because it is the voice-actor who brings them to life. The scriptwriter must build believable characters to life. The animation of characters is the real point where the creativity of a writer is tested. You must give the characters befitting words and tone. Any disconnect will weaken your script and affect the overall reception by your target audience.
- Continuity- the video game storyline is not linear. The direction a game takes will depend on the performance of the player. However, the player must feel as though he is playing a linear game. The voices, words, enthusiasm, and all elements of the game must give an impression of continuity. It is the scriptwriter to deliver this continuity.
Writing a video game voice-over script requires a paradigm shift. The writing captures thousands of technical issues, some only understandable to programmers. The scriptwriter also ends up with hundreds of pages, unlike a movie where you have a few tens of pages.
Video Game Voice-Over Artist
Video games are standard for using sound effects as opposed to voice-overs. However, the need for a voiced-over script will depend on the nature of your game or story. It is this story that also determines the kind of voice-over artist to hire.
As a voice-over artist, your role is to help the team to achieve the interactive and immersive experience that comes with video games. How should you approach the script as an artist to meet the expectations?
Critical Consideration Points of Video Game Voice Over Scripts
- Master Cold Reading–a movie shooting stage can have a thousand takes on a single line. But for a video game shoot, you might have 5,000 takes to consider. Time limitations, therefore, mean that an artist must master cold reading. Sometimes, the video game voice-over script is presented a few minutes to a recording. It can leave the artist with limited time to rehearse. The best video game voice-over writer is one who can play around with words, bringing the best experience during gameplay.
- Understand the character you are writing about– video game scripts come with instructions on intonation, volume, and general character articulation. Mastery of the style you are trying to bring out aids substantially in character development. It is especially important to master the role considering that your writing will determine how well players resonate with the characters.
- Understand the video game scripting gimmicks- a video game script is different from your ordinary movie script where cues come from fellow actors. Video game scripts give signals from the actions of other characters. Movement and results from game players could also be your cue. If you do not understand how they are denoted on the screen, you end up producing a disaster in your voice over. Study the video game idea to make you a helpful member of the production crew.
- Keep up with Production Technology- video voice-overs have moved from recording booths to a full-performance capture. The actors adorn motion capture suits that mimic the characters and, at the same time, record their voices.
- Commit to the project- game development differs from movies. It takes a more extended period to develop a game because the designers have a long term view. It might take a year or two to complete the project.
So, what next?
The video game voice over is needed for continuity. Place the intonations in necessary places, take care of the text to achieve consistency, and be a team player. A relaxed production environment makes your work even more exciting.
Each video game script is unique and will require a specific approach. Learn the environment around the production process to position yourself for success. It is also essential to master voice characterization. Most of the video games do not use ordinary scripts. Developers are looking for a voice scriptwriter who can imitate characters consistently. It requires a lot of practice.
Video Game Voice Over Jobs
Video game voice over jobs offers script writers the opportunity to work on immense/intense projects. The earnings are also attractive, considering that games have a global audience. You also get to make history by animating a viral game that ends up on a mobile phone and in the hands of billions of people globally for years. It is, therefore, a massive opportunity for voice scriptwriters.
Gaming companies prefer seasoned voice scriptwriters who can handle intense projects. The actors must master the art of characterization to reduce production time. Your voice must be believable and conversational, helping to make the game feel as natural as possible.
New video game voice over scriptwriters still have a chance to join the industry. Since scriptwriters drop out for different reasons, your ability to imitate or come close to the best presentation of the gameplay will count. A script developer might also want to target new companies setting up shop and looking for writers. A flexible voice writer will have the upper hand during selection.
Video game voice-over jobs require a 360 degrees mental shift from ordinary movies. The lines do not always follow a conversational tone. The artist has to deliver each range with the passion and enthusiasm it deserves. The dialogues are also short and punchy. Only professionals who perfect this delivery during voice-over will get the jobs.
How Much Do Video Game Voice-Over Writer Earn?
Video game voice-over scriptwriters are some of the best-paid in the entertainment industry. They can take home an average of $69,092 a year. Hence, most will earn between $54,476 and $82,742 throughout their (preferred) career.
Consequently, the salary offered will depend on:
- the financial profile of the employing company
The video game voice-over scriptwriters also enjoy bonuses based on the performance of their game in the market. Since the writers engage on a long term basis, they have a chance to earn excellent returns over the duration. Their creativity and ability to deliver compelling scripts will also boost their profile over other writers, helping them to attract better rates.
A video game will be dead if its script does not meet the high standards required by gamers. It behooves the scriptwriters to connect players with the idea of the designers. Late entry should not be viewed as a disadvantage or reason to be complacent.
A video game voice-over scriptwriter must look at the script differently from that of a movie or commercial. Understand the entire video game production scenario to make it easier for you to fit—polish your skills.
Refine the ability to deliver in the shortest time upon receipt of the script. The opportunity must be viewed as a long term engagement where you have to give your best consistently.