Casting and Your Game’s Success

The current issue of Game Developer has a terrific post-mortem about Tellltale Games’ The Walking Dead; somewhat surprisingly, even this mature game development shop struggles with casting and directing audio scripts, costing them hugely and resulting in re-casting and re-recording.

Chapter 23 of End to End Game Development discusses media production, including casting and audio production of scripted dialog. We absolutely recommend going with SAG-AFTRA talent; the Guild has a specific contract for videogame recording.

Major cities will have a significant pool of SAG-AFTRA actors: L.A., NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Miami, Toronto, Vancouver. The further away you get from a major urban center, the less likely you can draw from a solid pool of talent, and this can hugely effect the quality of your product. Pros can deliver; non-pros can only get lucky, and very rarely at that. You’ll spend more time in the recording studio while achieving poorer results.

If you don’t have experience directing and producing dramatic or comedic audio scripts (tweaking audio on a local radio station’s commercial doesn’t count), you need to find a real director and producer — and you may need to go to a larger urban market to cast and record in.

These tips and a whole lot more can be found in End to End Game Development. While the 2 chapters devoted to game engines and other software have clearly dated, we think the remainder of the content remains as valid today as it did 4 years ago when we were writing the book. If you’re launching yourself as an indie game developer, or if your media shop or department is now branching out into videogames, gamification, or other game-influenced interactive media, we encourage you to check out the book and see if it can add to your knowledge and decision-making processes.

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