Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded Update #58

A gracious “good afternoon” to all you Larryettes.

As we near the release of Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded, this update finds me a little wistful. We began our Kickstarter efforts on April 2nd, 2012; it’s just over a year later, and the end is well within sight. And to think that, within just a few weeks, these updates will no longer even be necessary.

Today and tomorrow will be the final recording sessions for the game voices. That’s been a monumental task; with about 8,500 lines of dialogue and narration and 60 different characters, Al and I slogged through weeks of marathon sessions to get it all done. (Just about the only messages that won’t be voiced are the inventory-on-inventory responses, of which there are hundreds more, and the Blackjack/Slot Machine messages.)

Most of the sessions consist of Al, Randy (our brilliant and incredibly detail-minded engineer/editor at Hamsterball Studios), the “talent,” and me, all on Skype. Al’s in Seattle, I’m in Albany, Randy’s in Austin, and most of the talent is in LA. The talent’s already gotten their scripts, as well as visuals of the character(s) they’re portraying. We go line-by-line, recording each one anywhere from once (if they nail it off the bat) to maybe a dozen times if necessary.

What do we listen for?

Well, sticking to the script is important. The game’s being translated into many different languages, so every time an actor improvises and we end up changing a line (because we like the improvised version better), there’s actually more time and money involved than simply changing the text to match the actor’s version.

Beyond that, we’re listening for subtext and interpretation, pacing, consistency of accents and dialects, and “popped” p’s and b’s and other aural distortions. Al, Randy, and I all tend to catch different things with every single read, so naturally there are a lot of retakes. It’s also not unusual for Al or me to read the part of another character so that the actor whose voice we’re recording has something to react to. We frequently end up splicing – the beginning of one read and the end of another, for instance – to come up with the version we think sounds perfect.

So it’s a lengthy process, and it can’t be rushed. But it’s punctuated with a lot of laughter and a lot of creativity all coming together in real-time. That keeps the energy and excitement up even when we’re doing inhumanly long sessions.

Also in the next couple of days, N-Fusion will be putting in the very last of the animations. So with a couple of weeks’ worth of polish and internal testing, and plugging in all the speech, we’ll be ready for beta.

And now, a surprise: a video, courtesy of Al Lowe. I won’t tell you what it’s about, but I do want to give credit where it’s due. Al conceptualized this video, directed *and* shot it himself, and edited it. (His daughter selected the music, “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons, http://www.imaginedragonsmusic.com.)

As you’ll see, none of it would’ve happened without the terrific team at www.darkhorseink.com, who have our gratitude for their hard work and perfectionism…the results of which many of you will be enjoying shortly.

Without further adieu… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feZF9O0aH20

Your obedient servant,

Josh Mandel