New Headache For Video Game Voice Actors To Deal With
Despite working for an industry that outdoes the film and music industries combined, video game voice actors have to contend with getting paid less than their counterparts from other media, no residuals, and a bunch of other hassles. And because we're living in such neat times, a new -- and possibly even worse problem -- has just been added to the pile.
Please take a few seconds to watch this trailer of the "A Night to Remember" mod for The Witcher 3:
First off, holy shit, new Witcher 3 content that's not news of how poorly the game's director allegedly treated everyone during development? Awesome! But have you noticed anything strange about that video? Don't worry if you haven't, but despite sounding just like the original actors, those lines weren't recorded by them -- or by anyone else, for that matter. "A Night to Remember" is a fan mod, which means its makers couldn't make use of anyone originally working on the real thing. They could have gone with impersonators for the voices, sure.
But decided to take a chance with Skynet instead.
You might have noticed that despite sounding just like Geralt's voice, it doesn't feel like the original voice. There's a weird soullessness to it. Though it probably passed as just a less-inspired moment of acting for a lot of people, it's actually made by an AI meshing Geralt's original VA with a non-actor's voice. The company behind this tech says the objective is "parodying," not parroting, and that he wouldn't release Geralt's voice for public use. Either way, there are already other companies offering voice cloning apps, and also, the guy totally released Geralt's voice to be publicly used in the previously shown mod.
This naturally begs lot of questions, like, are the jobs of voice actors (even more) at risk? Will you at some point have the chance to trademark your own voice just for job safety? Which of Troy Baker's thousand voices should you steal to improve your chances on a date? We don't have answers to any of those, or at least not ones that could be considered reassuring. If no measures are taken in order to prevent misuse of this kind of technology, you might very well be looking at a future of voice acting that's more like this:
Top Image: CD Projekt RED