[MUSAI] Why More Expensive Voice Actors Aren’t Always Better?

2020-01-13

With the ever-increasing growth of the Asian gaming market, Korea has been listed as the 4th largest game market in the world based on revenue generated in 2019. This is no surprise as Korean consumers are some of the highest game spenders in the world, which is why game developers are increasingly localizing games for the Korean audience.

 

Korean dubbing studio, game sound, localization
[Photo 1] The demand of game dubbing is increasing. (Source: Musai Studio)

 

However, with the influx of dubbing demand, it’s not always best to use the more “expensive” voice talents when localizing games in Korea. There is a common misconception that higher paid voice actors usually translates to better performance and quality, and while this may be the case for some instances, there are many other reasons to opt for less experienced voice actors in terms of costs, quality, and reliability.

Korean voice actors’ fees are usually based on experience, and duration of their professional voice acting career. However, the amount of their experience doesn’t mean an absolute box-office guarantee. As an easy example you can count, you often see a movie that doesn’t fit the character or the whole atmosphere even though outstanding actors having full of experience and reputation are in it.

Experienced voice and casting directors specializing in games can assess which actors are best suited for each role, regardless of the voice talents’ experience. Which is why the use of newer or lesser known talents may be a more cost-effective option for game developers wanting to dip their feet into Korean territory. This also allows for the allocation of budget to other important aspects such as a reliable translation and recording facility, who can further reduce costs by removing errors and retakes not caught during the production process.

 

[Photo 2] Experienced sound directors specializing in games are competent in casting proper actors for each role regardless of the voice actors’ experience. (Soure: Director Yi at Musai Studio)

 

With newer games becoming increasingly realistic and immersive, there is a growing demand for very natural and realistic acting, such as the case with one of our more recent titles “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare”. The benefit of newer voice actors can be meshed with this trend. Although newer talents may have less experience, this in turn means they have more adaptability with their voice performance and styles, without the bad habits of the older “overacting” style, which is all too common in the Korean dubbing scene.

Many high-grade voice actors have already played a handful of main characters, which may take away from the game immersion when a character sounds like a familiar role from a different game. With a limited pool of professional voice actors to choose from, the fresh talents offer a great spectrum of acting styles and voice tones. Moreover, the newer generation of voice actors are usually more familiar with today’s games, offering performance quality suited to the gaming audience.

 

[Photo 3] The recording session of voice actors (Source: Musai Studio)

 

The idea of “more expensive voice actors must be better” basically comes from the worries like “The quality is not going to be good with less experienced one”, but the determinants of the success or failure are little bit different at the actual recording session.

Newer voice talents are more willing to do their best to increase their voice portfolio and learn new styles of acting, paying close attention to the details of the voice directors’ input. The flexibility of the voice actor’s willingness to adapt to the needs of the art director can really change the overall impact of any given character, establishing a strong foundation for the sound palette of a game.

Otherwise, as for the case of high-grade voice actors, they understand the characters rapidly based on their experience and take less time to catch the tone for their role.

In conclusion, the most important thing is the harmonious combination of appropriate voice actors depends on the importance and features of each character.

 

Due to the sheer volume of games we have dubbed, our influence in the Korean gaming industry can be seen and is starting to change the Korean voice acting and dubbing scene. The common misconception of “expensive = better” is starting to change, by utilizing experienced casting directors and newer voice actors, we are expanding our talent network to provide better costs, quality and reliability, pushing forth the gaming industry both locally and internationally.

 

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