#Devlog #3: Soul Reaper Talks! Now he can’t it keep it shut!

For people who have been following the development of Soul Reaper, you have a pretty good idea of what kind of character he is. To say that he’s not a very serious guy/being is putting it lightly. If you haven’t seen him in action, you can check out our social media pages below or download our prototype from our website.

Why make him talk?

That wasn’t part of the plan actually. And we don’t even know if we’re going to use it in the game. We don’t currently have good enough equipment to produce high audio quality.

I don’t remember what led to it, but I was looking for a software to change my voice so I could talk as the Soul Reaper. After a few failed attempts, we stumbled upon Voxal and it worked great. I played around with the settings for a few hours to find a voice I think is suitable for Soul Reaper.

When writing the dialogues for the game, I would always narrate it out loud as if I was the Soul Reaper saying it. I think it’s much easier to write dialogues that stay within the theme if I can act it out. If it doesn’t feel right, then I re-write it. But with my own voice, it was always harder to judge if it was still “in character”. I haven’t re-written anything yet since the Soul Reaper has a voice, but I have a feeling things will change for the better when I do.

Why the current voice?

The current voice is not at all what I had in mind initially. Since the game is inspired in parts by Castlevania, I thought it would make sense to try something similar to Death in Symphony of the Night.

                                Original inspiration for Soul Reaper’s voice

After playing around with Distortion, Pitch, Reverb, Chorus, Amplification, Low/High pass, Echo and 3 Band Equalizer, I came up with a top 5 settings, all in Low/High pitch variations. Death in SotN has pretty high pitch and Alucard has pretty low pitch.

Initially I was aiming for high pitch since the Soul Reaper is a funny character. But when I was showing people, they didn’t get the high pitch. Granted, they were not players of the game, so maybe I shouldn’t have listened to them, but I thought they were kinda right though.

So we tried low pitch, more like Alucard. I think the result is much better. Like Alucard, Soul Reaper is a badass. He needs a badass voice. And his smart-ass comments seem even funnier with a deeper voice.

So where are you going with this?

Nothing certain.

If we get access to better audio equipment, maybe we’ll put voice-over in the game. Currently, it’s a great tool to stay in character when writing the story line or anything else related to the game really.

Another thing I’m playing around with is face motion capture to animate the Soul Reaper’s face. I’ve had pretty good results so far, but it’s very taxing on my CPU. The software we’re using is still in beta, so we’ll see if that gets resolved in the final version.

We also have other promotional ideas, but we’re keeping this low profile until we know for sure that we can pull it off.

What do you think?

What do you think of Soul Reaper’s voice? Do you think it matches his character? Have you used Voxal or other software before? Have you had success with it?

First published here: https://medium.com/power-level-studios/devlog-3-soul-reaper-talks-now-he-cant-it-keep-it-shut-9c96a758d50b