It sounds like the Chinese voice acting approached this game with a very serious style in an effort to really sell us on a cast of very cool characters, that immerse us into the world of SOLO. A lot of the bosses sound cool, and powerful, and like they are truly something to be feared. Even the audio queues for our own characters, their greetings, their mounting calls, their battle taunts, they all seem to fit really well to immerse you into the world of the game.
It sounds like the English voice acting approached this game in an effort to portray the game with a certain style of comedy. In some cases, like the Chanchu's, I think the voice acting does this really well, but in a lot of cases, like the voice of Li Xiaotang or even our own character voices, the delivery seems just a little bit too off the mark without quite hitting the point of comedy. In my opinion, the game suffers heavily for this.
Without trying to create a gigantic fighting point, I am curious if anyone at GameForge can share with us why the English voice acting ended up this way. I don't want to be a real jerk, so I'm sorry if someone at GameForge out there is actually a VA and they really did try their hardest on this. My assumption has always just been that maybe it was a stylistic decision, or maybe there was a partnered studio that has worked with GameForge in the past that they chose to keep using. I thought maybe in the worst case, it was actually hard to find a voice acting team during a global pandemic. At the end of they day, I'm just curious if anyone at GameForge can or is willing to give us more concrete answers or insight.
In my opinion:
In the best case, I feel like the comedic approach to the voicing has hurt the game's ability to market itself, because while some of the voice lines are iconic and funny in their own right (I think the voice of the Chanchu's is an amazing example of this working really well), I can't see many people willing to tolerate them or take the English version of this game seriously when it seems it wont even take itself seriously.
In the worst case, the English VA's almost seem like a downright mockery of Chinese themed MMO culture, like there was just some assumption, "Westerner wont like China MMO, why waste the effort or give it a chance?", and that feels really really unfair to the game itself given how great it actually is. Even Final Fantasy 14, which I hate to admit is arguably one of the most of successful western MMO's of our time, is a Japanese MMO (A Southeast Asian MMO, if you will, just like SOLO) at the end of the day.
I realise it's a high bar to hit, but it feels like the voice acting for SOLO pulled it out of the running before it even had a chance to fight. Was there a style choice that people made here, or is this just a matter of unrealistic dreams and managing the expectations for the game's release?