The Elder Scrolls 6: Should It Have A Voiced Protagonist?
It might not be a good idea to continue with voiced protagonists.
One of the big changes Bethesda made to the Fallout series with Fallout 4 – and indeed, it was a change from routine for all Bethesda games – was their decision to go with a voiced protagonist. The voiced protagonist led to, in Bethesda’s words, a dynamic dialog system, that relied centrally on the (disappointing, even by Bethesda’s admission) dialog wheel.
But it could have worked even without the dialog wheel- after all, games such as The Witcher have had voiced protagonists for a very long time, and they don’t have dumbed dow dialog wheels. So the question, I suppose, is, is a voiced protagonist by itself worth enough that the next Elder Scrolls games should look into bucking tradition and including one?
I want to honestly say no- the point of Elder Scrolls (and Fallout) is a full escapist fantasy that the player can immerse themselves entirely into, projecting themselves into the role of the character they are playing. Full dialog options, voiced only by the player inside their heads, work far better for that- the character then sounds like whatever the player wants them to sound like, instead of sounding what they do sound like, and the player having to put up with it.
There is also the simple question of the fact that the more lines are voiced, the more expensive the game becomes- meaning the more the temptation becomes to have all or at least most dialog options lead to the same or similar resultant dialog. This was, in fact, something we saw in Fallout 4, too.
So if we are hoping for The Elder Scrolls 6 to not be as dumbed down as Fallout 4 was, we must also, by corollary, hope that the new game doesn’t have a voiced protagonist- otherwise, we’ll probably end up with a game as unsatisfying as Fallout 4 ultimately was.