Best video game voice actors

A guide to today's top voice actors and the growing role of AI

Key Takeaways

  • Video game voice actors bring characters to life with emotional depth, enhancing the gaming experience.
  • Hiring traditional voice actors can be expensive and time-consuming, posing challenges for game developers.
  • AI voices offer cost-effective, efficient, and consistent alternatives for game character voice creation.
  • ElevenLabs' AI voice tools provide natural-sounding voices, extensive customization, and easy integration for developers.
  • The future of AI in video game sound includes advanced tools like AI-generated sound effects, revolutionizing game audio design.

Overview

Video game voice actors breathe life into characters, making stories immersive and enjoyable. However, AI tools are reinventing the video game voice creation landscape—making it quicker, easier, and more cost-effective for developers.

Discover the top video game voice actors in 2024 and learn more about the growing role of AI in video game voice acting.

What does a video game voice actor do?

Video game voice actors use their voices to bring characters to life in games. They work with game developers to understand the characters they're playing and then deliver their lines to convey emotions and personalities.

Whether they're voicing heroes, villains, or side characters, their job is to make the game's story more immersive and enjoyable for players. They may also make sounds like grunts or screams during action scenes. Overall, voice actors are key to making games more exciting and memorable.

The 5 best video game voice actors

Being a great video game voice actor is a real skill. Some of the most prolific voice actors renowned for their iconic characters include:

1. Troy Baker - An American voice actor known for his roles as Joel in "The Last of Us" and Booker DeWitt in "BioShock Infinite," among many other characters.

2. Ashley Johnson - Notable for her portrayal of Ellie in "The Last of Us" and Gwen Tennyson in various "Ben 10" games.

3. Nolan North - Renowned for his performances as Nathan Drake in the "Uncharted" series and Desmond Miles in the "Assassin's Creed" franchise.

4. Jennifer Hale - Recognized for her notable roles as Commander Shepard in the "Mass Effect" series and FemShep in "Mass Effect 3," as well as having voiced various characters in "World of Warcraft" and "Overwatch."

5. Laura Bailey - Known for her portrayal of Jaina Proudmoore in "World of Warcraft," Fetch in the "Infamous" series, and Abby in "The Last of Us Part II," among other roles.

The downsides of using video game voice actors

While traditional voice actors bring undeniable talent and emotional depth to video games, there are several drawbacks to consider.

Firstly, hiring professional voice actors can be significantly more expensive than using AI, particularly for games with extensive dialogue or multiple language versions. The process can also be time-consuming, from auditions and contract negotiations to scheduling recording sessions.

Additionally, maintaining consistency in voice performance over long development cycles or multiple game installments can be challenging if a voice actor becomes unavailable.

Lastly, the inflexibility in modifying recorded dialogue can pose constraints in late-stage game development, potentially leading to compromises in narrative or character development.

The pros of using AI voices in video game development

Using AI voices instead of traditional voice actors for game characters has six major benefits:

1. Cost-effectiveness: AI voices save money compared to hiring human actors.

2. Efficiency: AI makes voices quickly, speeding up game development.

3. Customization: Developers can change AI voices to fit each character perfectly.

4. Consistency: AI voices always sound the same, avoiding changes in quality.

5. Localization: AI can translate dialogue into different languages easily.

6. Scalability: AI voices work for both small and big games.

In short, AI voices are cheaper, faster, and more flexible for game development.

What to look for in an AI video game voice acting platform

When selecting an AI video game voice acting platform, there are several key features and considerations to keep in mind to ensure you choose a tool that meets your development needs and enhances your game’s audio quality. Here's what to focus on:

  • Voice quality and naturalness: Look for platforms that offer high-quality, natural-sounding voices that can convey a wide range of emotions and intonations.
  • Customization capabilities: A good AI voice platform should allow developers to customize voices to fit the specific needs of different characters.
  • Language and accent diversity: Consider platforms that provide a wide range of languages and accents.
  • Integration ease and flexibility: The platform should be easy to integrate with your existing game development workflows and tools, such as motion capture software.
  • Scalability and performance: Evaluate the platform’s ability to handle large volumes of voice generation without significant delays.
  • Support and community: A robust support system and an active developer community are indicators of a reliable platform.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Finally, consider the cost relative to the features offered.

ElevenLabs’ AI voice acting capabilities 

ElevenLabs offers advanced AI-powered tools for creating synthetic voices for video games that sound natural. These capabilities include

  1. Text-to-speech (TTS): ElevenLabs' contextual and expressive speech is enabled by TTS technology converts written text into natural-sounding speech. This allows developers to generate dialogue and narration for characters in their games. ElevenLabs' TTS API is contextually aware, meaning the model understands text nuances and gives the finished product the appropriate intonation and resonance for its context.
  1. Voice Library: ElevenLabs provides a diverse library of high-quality voice options, allowing developers to choose the perfect voice for each character. These voices cover a wide range of genders, accents, and styles to suit different game settings and character personalities.
  1. Voice Design: Developers can fine-tune the characteristics of each voice, adjusting factors like pitch, tone, and speed to match the specific traits and emotions of their characters.

4. Localization: With ElevenLabs' AI dubbing tool, developers can easily localize their games into multiple languages.

  1. Professional Voice Cloning: ElevenLabs' Professional Voice Cloning (or PVC) allows voice actors to clone their voices. However, ElevenLabs' Payouts feature ensures that voice actors are paid fairly for the use of their voice. 

    Check out the examples below to hear how just realistic these AI voice clones are.

Glinda's original voice

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Glinda's AI voice

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The process: how to generate AI video game character voices with ElevenLabs

  1. Select a pre-made voice from the Voice Library. Or, clone and customize a new voice based on your preferred voice, settings, and model.
  2. Enter the text you want to convert to speech. Write naturally in any of the 29 supported languages. The AI will understand the language and context and adapt the voice accordingly.
  3. The text-to-speech model will convert the text into high-quality files. This file can be downloaded in a variety of audio formats.

The future of AI video game sound

AI can’t only generate expressive, life-like character voices. Recently, ElevenLabs launched its much-awaited Sound Effects tool

Developers using ElevenLabs Sound Effects simply describe a sound effect they want, and the advanced text-to-sound API converts it instantly into a customizable effect.

Discover how it works here:

Final thoughts

Video game voice actors like Troy Baker, Ashley Johnson, Nolan North, Jennifer Hale, and Laura Bailey have played a huge part in video games thanks to their notables roles over the years.

However, AI technology like ElevenLabs offers new ways for developers to create voices for characters.

AI voices are cheaper, faster, and more flexible for game development. AI voices work well for both small and big games, while developers can easily make games in different languages using AI.

Ready to start experimenting? Get started for free here.

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