Germany is probably the world champion when it comes to dubbing films and series. Video games, on the other hand, are not always synchronized, but are becoming more and more common. However, the quality sometimes varies drastically. Why is that? We spoke to a voice actor about the difficult working conditions in the studio.
German dubbing is a must
Germans are used to listening to films and series in German. This even goes so far that large streaming providers such as Netflix or Amazon Prime receive angry fan reactions when a series does not offer German sound for once.
That was the case, for example, during Coronawhen all dubbing studios had to close temporarily.
Video games have also been published with a German dubbing for many years. However, this is not always the case and often only big publishers like Ubisoft, Activision or Warner Bros. can afford a German audio track.
But the results are the same for large publishers not always satisfactory, which is why many German fans often opt for the English or Japanese original soundtrack. Despite German dubbing.
This leads us to the following question: Why does the German synchro weaken noticeably often in video games? Is it the budget? Not necessarily. Rather, it is often the particularly difficult working conditions.
Vincent Fallow on problems in the dubbing studio
We have Voice actor Vincent Fallow (synchronous file) on this topic and his answers will surprise you.
Briefly about himself: Fallow has, among other things, villain Dr. Voiced Nefarious in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. JRPG fans can meanwhile looking forward to his performance in Final Fantasy 16where he voices protagonist Clive Rosfield.
You can already hear him in this role in the latest trailer:
Voice actors often have to speak on black screen
According to him, the biggest problems and difficulties are on the lack of exchange between publisher and recording studio attributed. In contrast to films and series, many video games only receive the original sound in the form of voice lines and an Excel spreadsheet without context.
Afterwards, the voice actors have to speak on black screenwithout knowing the characters, the place or the situation from the respective scene.
Of course, every publisher handles this differently and with a bit of luck, the voice actors will also get entire cutscenes and/or detailed scripts with context to better find their way into the role. But that is rather the exception.
Incidentally, it is also irrelevant whether it is about a blockbuster or a smaller game acts. Fallow on this:
“It doesn’t matter if it’s AAA or AA title. We have to record a lot “on black”. You then have to find out a lot of the context yourself. In addition, there is the massively higher workload for video games. Depending on the genre, games have an extremely large number of voicelines. With films and series, you usually have better texts (the basic building block of all translations) and more time to work.”
In summary, this means: if a German video game synchro drops in quality, then it’s not automatically the fault of the studio or the speakers. Often there is simply a lack of material and information to deliver a successful dubbing.
Fortunately, despite these circumstances, there are now many video games who have received a great German voice output. This includes, for example, God of War Ragnarök, the Batman Arkham games or older titles such as the first Kingdom Hearts.