VIDEO GAME VOICEOVER by DAVID TOBACK
Characters are at the heart of great storytelling. Bringing them to life is a privilege…it’s a lot of fun too!
David creates characters with depth, purpose, motivation, and impact! From tough military commanders, to zany ship engineer, vengeful brother to grieving widower, and a lot in between, David uses his creativity and range to bring Video Game Characters to life!
STORYTELLING IS THE KEY
From their earliest days, storytelling has been the centerpiece of good video games. 8-bit classics like Super Mario Bros and Mega Man were developed with a narrative that captivated players throughout the world. Mario was on a mission to save the Princess from the evil Bowser. Mega Man fought to save the world from Dr. Wily and his evil robots. Each game had a story which unfolded as you progressed in the game. Does Mario save the Princess? Does Mega Man save the world from the evil robots? Only way to find out is to keep playing the game
Video games are the perfect medium for storytelling. The immersive experience they offer, compared to film, literature, or tv, makes them truly unique. Players are put inside the story, making them active participants, and giving them control of the outcome. They “play” the main character in this story, developing an emotional connection with them, and the challenges they face and the victories earn.
As advances in technology have allowed games to become more sophisticated, their storytelling has gone deeper and more realistic. This has allowed developers to evoke strong emotional connections to characters and the narrative within the story.
STRONG CHARACTERS CREATES INTEREST AND LOYALTY
While storytelling creates interest in games, it’s the characters that deliver the substance, provide connection, and drive the narrative within the story. A story without great characters doesn’t have impact, it doesn’t draw the player in, and it doesn’t give them anything or anyone to relate to.
Characters take a story from good to great. Developing characters that the audience can relate to, and form a relationship with is imperative to great storytelling. The connection formed with these characters brings depth and meaning to the story. The player relates to the character and can feel the emotion of the situations they’re involved with. It gives the player something/someone to route for, a side to take, a vested interest in the outcome of the narrative. Like great movie or tv characters, video game characters can inspire, motivate, provide confidence, and help people.
A great example is the emergence of strong female characters such as Lara Croft (Tomb Raider), Harley Quinn (Batman), Ellie (The Last of Us), and Claire Redfield (Resident Evil), and Elena Fisher (Uncharted). Women and girls across the world saw these characters and could envision themselves. They finally had a character they could relate to and see their strength and overall badassery as an inspiration in a world that has traditional told them what they couldn’t do. This is the type of amazing impact video game characters can have.
As video games have grown in popularity and become a cultural mainstay, favorite characters have followers and fan bases. This is where character loyalty comes in and plays such a huge role in game development. Create great characters and you have new game and story ideas that can be brought to life.
The Uncharted series has done a masterful job with this. After releasing one of the most acclaimed video games of all time, fans not only loved the game but loved the characters. As the sequels were made, they introduced new and exciting characters to the story, some from the past, some new to the story. More interest in the story and it’s characters developed opening the door for another game title featuring two of the main supporting characters.
The loyalty and connection established with these characters provided multiple opportunities for more storytelling, more games, and more player enjoyment, and who knows when it’ll end!
ACTING MATTERS, A LOT!
As storytelling needs great characters, characters need great actors to bring them to life.
Video game characters have become more and more realistic with rich personalities, deep backgrounds, flaws, attributes, and everything in between. Developing characters like this enables the emotional connection that drives great storytelling.
When game developers create these characters, they have a backstory, they have motivation, and they have a purpose. This is how the intense realism that we see in game stories is accomplished. But taking these character traits and making them believable and real, is no small task. It takes acting skill, experience, and commitment.
A beautiful example of this can be found in the critically acclaimed game, The Last of Us. This game won multiple awards and was one of the cornerstones into turning video game stories into true masterpieces. The characters in this story were deeply complex. They were flawed and had histories that affected their personalities and formed the way they viewed the world. They were also capable of extreme trust and love and were impassioned for their cause.
The actors who played these characters were a who’s who of top notch performers and it showed in spades with their performances. These were not just character voices, these were amazing actors, becoming the characters they were portraying, living through their emotions and reacting to the situations and challenges placed before them in a genuine and real way.
This is acting at its finest. In order to bring strong characters to life, the true talent and skill of acting is imperative. Storytelling relies on its characters, and to get great characters, it starts with great acting. Look no further, you’ve found your great actor.