Katsuhiro Harada of Namco Bandai is rarely one to shy away from responding to fans through Twitter and listening to their input. But, with the internet being the way it is, sometimes the negatives outweigh the positives. Lately, he’s been hounded with demands to bring back old Tekken voice actors, even after answering question after question about the choices they’ve made for Tekken Tag Tournament 2. Hoping to quell some of the spam, he posted a lengthy message earlier today that covers the rationale behind their decisions as well as insight into the technical and legal aspects of voice acting that have contributed to the changes.
He makes it painfully obvious that they’ve done all they can to make future Tekken experiences as perfect as possible for long-time fans in all aspects of development, and his palpable frustration is perfectly understandable. The entire message has been included below.
I have something I want to say to the people who spam me with requests to “switch back(or Bring back) to the voice actors used previously”. I believe that, before whining and complaining about everything, you need practice at taking a step back and analyzing things objectively. And also at being an adult.
First, the voice you were listening to was 16 years ago, during the PlayStation period. The current generation of consoles are totally different in how they play back sound; both software-wise, and the internal circuitry. The playback program is different, as well as the sound effects added; reverb and 5.1 are examples of this. The comrpression rate, as well as the sound rate, is different today. Are you playing games on the same TV you used 16 years ago? What about your speakers? Headphones? They are all the same as 16 years ago? I wonder if it will sound like the same voice as 16 years ago, even with that data..
Also, you are assuming the voice actors themselves can reproduce the voice the recorded 16 years ago? Many voice actors decline work because their voice has changed since the original role, some have even retired. Sometimes they won’t accept, even if we ask. The recording studio and the equipment they use is also different. With all of this in mind, you still thing it is possible to recreate these voices?
Some might say “just pay them to reuse the voice data”. But, often the voice actors decline this, or their agency declines.
For example, Brian’s laugh is the actual data from Tekken 3. As fans have requested, we’ve kept using the original, adapting the data recorded 16 years ago to be used on the PS2, and then PS3. Even so, some people said it is a different voice in Tekken 6 than the original. It can’t be helped they might think that. As explained above, even though the master data is the same, all of the equipment used in adapting it has completely changed. That said, it isn’t a good idea to try to reccreate the older recording environment because then the data sounds heavily compressed, with noise. More than that, it would sound out of place next to the voice data of the newer characters. WHAT? You say some of the voices sound like they haven’t changed at all? I guess you didn’t notice that the development team has re-recorded them, but made efforts for it to sound as close as possible to the original. And you probably didn’t even notice.
Do you know that all of the voice work for a character is not always done by just one voice actor? Using Brian as an example, the laugh you guys love so much uses the original data from Tekken 3, but the short kiai voice uses a different voice actor, and the “come on!” voice also uses a different voice actor. A lot of other characters also use different voice actors for the spoken lines and for the shouts.
I did the voice work for Marshal and Forest for 15 years. However, I can no longer produce that voice after Tekken 5, so we had a different voice actor for Tekken 6.
The Tekken series has continued for 17 years. The development environment, as well as the environment in which you all play games, has changed. There are so many characters, and we can’t keep using he same voice actors every time, for a variety of reasons. I have even complied to the requests of you all spamming me to “bring back characters” from previous installments. You often say, “let’s show the dev team how sincere we are by buying 2 copies if they bring back character X”, but did you really go through with it? Expecting you to at least pre-order the game, I was met with more spam, after you apparently didn’t notice that Jun and Michelle actually return.
I still have some characters left to be revealed that comply with some of your requests, even “bringing back” several others. Even so, none of them are paid DLC. I will continue to sincerely comply with fan requests. However, I can’t continue to engage the negative ones that, without knowing what you are talking about, or even thinking about what you are saying, blindly repeat “bring back, bring back, bring back…” After this lengthy explanation, I will be quite surprised if there are still people who still don’t get it.
Thanks for understanding or not understanding. Whatever.
Source: Katsuhiro Harada, tip via K. Anko