While playing through a recently-released role-playing game for the Nintendo Switch, I got to thinking. Wouldn’t it be great if, instead of simply turning voice-over on or off, we could selectively mute individual characters? Who would you silence? Aside from Tidus.
Some characters are just too damn annoying to speak. Sometimes it’s about bad voice acting or direction. Other times it’s a creative choice. Even in a game filled with otherwise pleasant voices, that one high-pitched, uncomfortably wacky or cutesy word-skipping character sneaks in.
Case in point is Xenoblade Chronicles 2. I seem to be enjoying the game a bit more than Jason Schreier did, but on one point I wholeheartedly concur: Nopon engineer Tora is one of the most irritating characters ever. He skips words (his whole race does). He refers to himself in third person. He replaces normal words with his own cutesy versions, like “bum-bum” for arse. He is the worst (light spoiler in the clip below).
If only I could just turn off his voice. The rest of the cast is pretty great. Al Weaver voices main character Rex as a young, vibrant Scrooge McDuck. His companion Prya’s voice, played by Skye Bennett, has this amazing little crack to it that I could listen to for hours. Or I could if Tora would just be quiet. It’s not voice actor Rasmus Hardiker’s fault. It’s the character.
There seems to be one of these in every Japanese role-playing game. Oftentimes it’s a sidekick of some sort, or a pet, like Final Fantasy X’s Tidus. James Arnold Taylor did what he could with Tidus, but the end result made many fans wonder if Square should have held off on added voices to the series a bit longer. Here’s a clip of Tidus and Jecht having a conversation.
Now imagine if we had the ability to open a menu, select a character and uncheck their voice.
Ahhh, that’s so much better.
Now imagine every game you’ve ever played had such a feature. Whose voice would get the axe? The squeaky sidekick? The over-emotional hero? The crass stereotype? Go ahead and switch them off in the comments.