The star's of our Vegetable Abuse video, Dustin and George, wrote up a great piece on some of the ways they went about working on Dark Sector. Enjoy!
Monster Sounds Through Human PerformanceTrying to come up with a convincing 'monster' sound is a difficult task. You want it to somehow sound realistic in a way that the player could believe these characters were real, but at the same time you don't want it to mimic like other generic monster sounds out there.
Through much trial and error we found that laying down a human performance as the core of our sound was the best way to get that realistic feel. 'Acting' out the vocalizations of a character is much easier to match to animations, and can get the point across as to what that specific creature is doing, or trying to do. Also, adding an ounce of humanity to a character can make it more terrifying as players can relate to what they're hearing...something that maybe used to be human but is quickly becoming something else.
Once the core elements are in place, then processing and other layers to the sound would be applied (depending on the situation). Hopefully players will be a little on edge when they get further into the game and the 'less-human' characters start to emerge.
Dwight Schultz became the voice of Robert Mezner. We needed someone who could portray a larger than life character and be able to develop a voice that you would remember. Dwight did an amazing job of making Mezner come across as this psychotic half beast half monster enemy. Hayden often hears the voice of Mezner in his head throughout the game. Through the use of various signal processing techniques we were able to shift Dwight’s voice and make it sound like he’s taking over Hayden’s mind. It turned out really cool, so listen for it when you pick up the game!
Voice Acting the Main Characters
A great performance for all the characters in a game will only help draw the player in that much more. When you're not sitting back and making comments on how poorly the voice over is acted out, you're paying more attention to what's happening on screen. Finding the right talent is key.
The cast of characters for Dark Sector come together and work really well. Michael Rosenbaum (of Smallville fame) pretty much nailed the overall vision we all had of Hayden Tenno, while Dwight Schultz (which everyone around my age group remembers from the A-Team as Murdoch) does an amazing job voicing Hayden's rival, Robert Mezner.
When we set out to find character voices for Dark Sector we wanted to find actors who we all admired and thought would make the voices of Dark Sector come alive. We got the amazing opportunity to sit back and listen to Michael Rosenbaum become the voice of Hayden Tenno. Hayden was voiceless for a long time in the development cycle and so it was great to give our main character a voice after being mute for so long.
Working with these talented actors was quite and amazing experience. Though we monitored the recording sessions remotely from our studio here, it was almost like being out in the L.A. Studio. We could communicate back and forth as if the talent were in the next room, helping with direction as necessary.