It’s been a pretty crazy week at the For Honor camp. Ubisoft has recently launched the Marching Fire open test to very mixed reception. While the consensus is that the new Breach mode is very good, there’s some considerable backlash over the new voice lines. With Marching Fire, the team is revealing a brand new dynamic to combat. This system is the Responsive Dialogue System, or RDS for short. RDS will allow Heroes to interact with one another with a variety of new tailored voice lines. If a Hero encounters another Hero type, they will address them personally. If a Centurion, for example, happens upon a Berserker in the heat of battle or in a duel, he will respond with a series of voice lines about that specific Hero.
The initial reaction from the community was very negative. The quality of the audio lines themselves are being called into question. One Reddit user states that the new voice lines sound like they’re “recorded in a bathroom with someone’s phone” — ouch. Some interesting effects are there, such as characters with helmets having muffled and echoed voice lines. While these additions are given a nod, the general opinion is that it’s a very meagre effort from a AAA game studio. Players argue that a video game behemoth like Ubisoft should be able to deliver better audio quality than this.
The other major criticism is the voice acting itself. The gaming community considers the new lines somewhat poorly delivered and has indicated a fair amount of mispronunciation. Some users have even considered some of the voice lines racist, particularly several Asian Heroes in their delivery. The new voice lines also sound vastly different from the existing in-game voice acting, which is considered a fairly poor mix. The new lines are mostly in English too, taking away from the authenticity of the previously Japanese, Icelandic, and Latin lines. While the story mode in-game is certainly in English, users argue that the game felt immersive with most of the individual character lines. A popular argument (and one addressed by Ubisoft) is the fact that so many of these in-game voice lines have become iconic. Centurion yelling “Incredibilis!” after an uppercut or Berserker grunting “Náði þér!” upon a successful deflect, for example. All in all, their fans ain’t happy.
Eric Pope, the Community Developer for the For Honor team, addressed the issue personally. The full post can be read here on the For Honor subreddit. He started by remarking on the toxic behaviour from the community, stating that things have gotten out of hand. He went on to confirm that while Ubisoft has heard the community’s displeasure with the new voice acting. they stand behind it. The new system, he explains, requires recording new dialogue for all of the new characters. Citing “hard constraints” as a reason for the new voice acting, he stated that getting the original 2016 roster back in the studio wasn’t possible.
This response, while appreciated, has come under criticism too. Some speculate that Ubisoft wants new voice actors who aren’t unionized. The Screen Actors Guild went on strike after the VA cast was hired, some suggesting Ubisoft didn’t want to deal with them. This is somewhat hard to believe, however. Actress Jennifer Hale, part of the original voice acting team, is on the card. Being a part of SAG herself, this makes this speculation unlikely. Some of the original cast contradict the For Honor team’s statement as well though. Derek Seguin (who voiced the iconic Centurion) stated on Twitter that he is available and interested in reprising the role.
The players have voiced their opinion, and they’re not buying what Ubisoft’s selling. In addition to the holes in the official statement, one player pointed out that the voice actor for Highlander is also acting in the upcoming expansion. Many wonder if this just wasn’t in the budget for the game. Whatever the truth is, Ubisoft has some explaining to do regarding Marching Fire. The Responsive Dialogue System placed rather poorly in comparison to the other expansion features. With so many promising games coming out this fall and winter, it’s not a great look. Hopefully the For Honor team can reconsider this move.
What are your thoughts? Let us know!
Programmer. Writer. Digital media specialist. Competitive gamer in the sense that I’m competing with the constant urge to throw the controller across the room.