Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Seriously? Voice acting ups a game by millions?

Kind of in the 'Things they'll believe' basket.

Reading on another blog I hear a repetition of the idea that voice acting, even 40 novels worth of voice acting, upped the cost of SWTOR to 300 million dollars?

Now, I'm not saying it'd be free. But even one million dollars for some studio sound work?

I think this goes along with how many mmorpg gamers seem to believe it costs vast sums to run a mmorpg and that any tiny change is moon landing in difficulty to perform.

But I dunno, does voice acting cost that much? I recently heard of a guy who hired the narrator from a game to record some voice work for his wedding. It's not crazy expensive - and I don't think SWTOR is using actual actors for its voice work?

I think there's a culture out there that hears '40 novels of voice acting' and thinks this must be like building the pyramids or running a moon landing?


  1. Well, voice actors can get $250 an hour or more. Cheap is $50 an hour. Let's say they went high and spent $250. Call it 25 hours to record a novel. My audio books go from 7-15 hours, but a voice actor spends a lot of time redoing work and getting some coaching. (I sit right next to the recording studio our company uses for voice work, and recording a few movie titles for one of our customer's phone apps can take an hour. But we do really high quality work, better than what BioWare is delivering.) Voice talent alone would thus be $6,250 per "book," so 40 books gets us to $250,000.

    And for the voice actor there are probably at least half a dozen people writing lines, editing, syncing models, and otherwise working with the audio output who get paid less per hour, but spend more hours on it. That adds up quick.

    So voice work, on the back of the envelope with no real data, could have easily cost them over a million dollars.

    But in the scope of spending 80 to 150 million dollars, which seem to be the more sane estimate range, it isn't that much. And if the total was 300 million, voice work becomes a pretty small factor in the total.

  2. Hi Wilhelm,

    I'm a little skeptical, that seems a little generous in alot of departments. Never mind they haven't defined the length of a novel. 10 hours a book at $50 (bulk work rates) x 40 = $20,000 is another estimate.

    I think people, when they like something, like to think it cost more to produce. When sometimes the best things in life are...not free, but relatively cheap.