New Prince Of Persia Game Has An NPC Voice You Might Never Hear

New Prince Of Persia Game Has An NPC Voice You Might Never Hear

Reviews for Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown are popping up ahead of the game’s official launch on January 18. With 14 hours under my belt, I can tell you that it’s great, as evidenced by the myriad positive scores on aggregators Metacritic and OpenCritic. But during previews, something puzzling was uncovered: One of the 2.5D side-scrolling Metroidvania’s NPCs was voiced by a text-to-speech program, a feature Ubisoft said was implemented as a placeholder and will get swapped out in an upcoming update in either late January or early February, according to IGN.

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IGN senior reporter Rebekah Valentine, in talking to other folks who had early copies of The Lost Crown, uncovered a minor character that doesn’t sound all that human. As you make your way through the game, you unlock Wak-Wak trees, golden saplings that replenish your health and flasks. These trees occasionally house spirits that’ll sometimes aid you in your journey. Kalux is one of them, and they help illuminate the path to the darkened Catacombs. This NPC doesn’t have many voice lines, but when they do speak, they do so in a stilted, staccato manner. The character sounds like a robot doing its best human impression, which (it turns out) might be kind of accurate, because according to IGN, Kalux’s eight lines were recorded via a free text-to-speech (TTS) program that’s available online.

Valentine discovered this after noticing the strange way Kalux speaks, and that the character doesn’t appear among The Lost Crown’s performer credits, IGN reached out to Side UK, the production studio credited for the game’s voiceover work. The team there didn’t have answers, but Ubisoft did.

“During the development process of a game, some teams use multiple placeholder assets, including [TTS] voiceover, until final dubbing is delivered,” a spokesperson for the company said. “The English version of these 8 lines of text for this character were not properly implemented but will be swapped out and updated with an upcoming patch. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is fully voice-overed in English, French, Spanish, German and Farsi with more than 12,000 lines in total. It is also subtitled in Italian, Portuguese-Brazilian, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Polish and Japanese.”

I’ve had the game for almost a week now and can confirm that in the review guide sent to me, The Lost Crown has a day-one patch that’ll balance some boss fights and enemy encounters, polish the user interface, update some audio mixes, and more. Ubisoft told IGN that those eight lines will get replaced with a real human voiceover in an update currently planned for either late January or early February.

Kotaku reached out to Ubisoft for further clarification.

Read More: Prince Of Persia: The Lost Crown Fixes The Worst Thing About Metroidvanias

If it really is a placeholder voice, then this story becomes an interesting peek behind the curtain at how games are often still coming together this late in development. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is an excellent Metroidvania, one that presents the single greatest innovation the genre has seen in quite some time. I’m having a blast with the game, so be on the lookout for the Kotaku Australia review next week.

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