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View Full Version : Holy accents, Arno!



AtchooMatchew
11-12-2014, 05:15 AM
In Assassin's Creed, Middle Eastern characters spoke in steretypical Middle Eastern accents.

In ACII and Brotherhood, Italian characters and French characters spoke in stereotypical versions of their accents.

In AC Revelations, citizens of Constantinople spoke in blends of Turkish, Middle Eastern, and Eastern European accents.

In ACIII, Americans spoke in blends of British and emerging colonial American accents, with the occasional uncomfortably stereotypical Native American.

In ACIV, pirates spoke piratey, the Spanish spoke in Spanish accents, and Haitians spoke in Islander accents.

In AC Rogue, your Irish character, aptly named Patrick McCormack, speaks in an Oy-rish accent.

In AC Unity, which takes place in Paris during the French Revolution, everyone speaks in... a Devonshire accent.

Consistency, Ubisoft...

So why this departure? This is what they had to say:


"The idea is that the Animus is translating everything into the language youíre playing in ... Thatís why, since youíre an Anglophone, youíre hearing all the dialogue and cinematics in English"

--Well, okay, but I'm also American, so why aren't the accents ranging from New Englandic to Texan and up to Minnesotan. And if you're really serious, why are you using non-American colloquialisms that will assuredly fall on deaf ears? It just sounds like a commitment issue to me. Afraid people wouldn't be able to understand French-rolled 'r'?


"ďItís a new generation and the story is a little bit more serious, and having everyone speak in a thick French accent would detract a lot from the experience.Ē

--No it wouldn't! Hearing a Frenchman or Frenchwoman speak in a damned English farmer accent detracts a hell of a whole lot more from the experience. At least if you had gone with Minnesotan, I'd be far more entertained.

Jarek23
11-12-2014, 05:32 AM
I definitely thought it was weird myself when I first heard it. But to be honest, as a Canadian I don't mind, because they probably would have used French Canadian actors and actresses and that would have been even more jarring to someone who can tell the difference between French-English and Canadian-French-English.

Edit: Maybe I'm exaggerating. Yeah, I don't understand either.

pirate1802
11-12-2014, 05:56 AM
"“It’s a new generation and the story is a little bit more serious, and having everyone speak in a thick French accent would detract a lot from the experience.”


I agree with him.

I always wondered why the characters of Da Vinci's Demons ( a TV show featuring the almost exact same events, places and characters as Assassins Creed II, for the uninitiated.) looked a hell lot more mature and serious than the cartoon caricatures of AC2. Then I knew: the way they spoke. At the risk of sounding politically incorrect, I'd say that no matter how accurate it is, I'd never take a villain seriously while he delivers a verry important speech in thick singsong accent. Unity gets it right. For better or worse, the traditional British accent has been accepted as the voice of aristocracy in popular culture. And so it is, brit accent mixed with a fair amount of french words and phrases to remind us of where we are.

I imagine people speaking like Norris or Stephane Cheteau or whatthatguywascalled and I shudder. Thank god it isn't. Anyway it's like arguing why do Romans in movies speak English and not ancient latin. Or...why do the aliens in Mass Effect speak English? Yes they invented a flimsy reason but you know the real one. In my opinion, either have them speak full-on French (and have over 9000 levels of immerzion!!!) or have it the way it is now. Having them speak french-accented english would imply that these characters aren't actually speaking French. Atleast now there is this veneer that they are speaking fluent high-society French; it's just getting translated. the suspension of disbelief, works for me.

Megas_Doux
11-12-2014, 06:11 AM
I prefer the actors natural voices!!!!!

Faking an accent and not ended up sounding funnt and/or cliche is really hard. Very few can pull that off, even Matt Ryan, Edward Kenway voice, refused to speak with a mancunian accent because he just could not do it properly....

Engem
11-12-2014, 06:29 AM
I read the earlier posts and I'm not saying you guys at Ubisoft are wrong in making everyone in France sound like a Brit, but y'all sure ain't right either.

One of the things I've loved the most, like Top Three most, was your astounding attention to detail in every Assassin's Creed game to date. The accents in particular always struck a chord in me. I was looking forward to hearing French accents in Unity and I am supremely disappointed.

And no offense, but the reasons being given, "Animus translating" and "French accent detracting from the story" are lame and a little offensive in my opinion.

I get there's really nothing that can be done about it now but in the future, this fan would appreciate hearing the correct accents for the location.

Relmar_Vel
11-12-2014, 07:43 AM
So... there aren't any french girls? :(

Engem
11-12-2014, 02:39 PM
Oh, there's nothing but French girls! They just all sound like Brits.

Subject J80
11-12-2014, 02:59 PM
In Assassin's Creed, Middle Eastern characters spoke in steretypical Middle Eastern accents.

In ACII and Brotherhood, Italian characters and French characters spoke in stereotypical versions of their accents.

In AC Revelations, citizens of Constantinople spoke in blends of Turkish, Middle Eastern, and Eastern European accents.

In ACIII, Americans spoke in blends of British and emerging colonial American accents, with the occasional uncomfortably stereotypical Native American.

In ACIV, pirates spoke piratey, the Spanish spoke in Spanish accents, and Haitians spoke in Islander accents.

In AC Rogue, your Irish character, aptly named Patrick McCormack, speaks in an Oy-rish accent.

In AC Unity, which takes place in Paris during the French Revolution, everyone speaks in... a Devonshire accent.

Consistency, Ubisoft...

So why this departure? This is what they had to say:

"The idea is that the Animus is translating everything into the language youíre playing in ... Thatís why, since youíre an Anglophone, youíre hearing all the dialogue and cinematics in English"

--Well, okay, but I'm also American, so why aren't the accents ranging from New Englandic to Texan and up to Minnesotan. And if you're really serious, why are you using non-American colloquialisms that will assuredly fall on deaf ears? It just sounds like a commitment issue to me. Afraid people wouldn't be able to understand French-rolled 'r'?

"ďItís a new generation and the story is a little bit more serious, and having everyone speak in a thick French accent would detract a lot from the experience.Ē

--No it wouldn't! Hearing a Frenchman or Frenchwoman speak in a damned English farmer accent detracts a hell of a whole lot more from the experience. At least if you had gone with Minnesotan, I'd be far more entertained.

I can tell you now that Shay's accent is not Irish.

wvstolzing
11-12-2014, 04:17 PM
French characters speaking in a British accent are totally legit since Captain Picard, so that's that.

I agree that faked accents are distracting, silly, and sometimes even downright demeaning in that they reproduce cultural stereotypes. I played the Metro series first in German, where they had the fake Russian accents, just like the English version; then I played it in French, where they had done away with that kind of silliness; and it worked *much* better, I think.

In my limited experience (Kotor, Mass Effect, Metro, AC3 & 4) French voice acting in games is often very good; Unity hasn't been disappointing in that regard so far.


Oh, there's nothing but French girls! They just all sound like Brits.

And they can walk in mid-air; some even disappear into the pavement!

Journey93
11-12-2014, 04:24 PM
ahh yes the animus excuse...C'mon Ubi you guys really need to do better than that
it was just too much work to include good French accents so they went the lazy route

AtchooMatchew
11-15-2014, 10:27 PM
For better or worse, the traditional British accent has been accepted as the voice of aristocracy in popular culture.

That's the problem, though. I mean, personally, I still wouldn't prefer the traditional British accent, but most of these characters speak in lower-class bumpkin accents. And the ones who speak closer to traditional English don't even nail it; they're stereotypical Americans-with-British-accents. I hate the whole convention. And let's be real: If the Animus is really designed to speak in a nuanced way the user understands best, then British English is not it for me. Americans understand it because it's the same tongue, but it's not the same language or culture, so if anything, hearing it alienates me even further. Badly voiced thick French accents are a bad thing, too, as with any accent, but I'd prefer if everyone just spoke in their natural accent then. So if Arno was voiced by an American, just have him speak that accent from his region.

As for me, I've found the ultimate solution. I play the game in French with English subtitles. It's been a hell of a whole lot more fun for me.