Hello everyone! I’m Matthew Place, one of the designers and founders of Storybook Brawl.
Here’s some quick background on me - my passion for playing and creating strategy card games began way back in 1994. My brother called me from the Salvage Yard (our local comic book store) and said, “I think you would like this new game, it’s Dungeons and Dragons but with cards”. He was so right! We both fell in love instantly with Magic. It brought to life the spells, magic items and characters we’d been imagining for years with its hundreds of amazing art pieces.
It’s fun to look back now and remember how I was first hooked because of the art, though little did I know then that the game mechanics would also hook me the rest of my life (to the point that I’d play over 30,000 hours of these types of games in the following decades).
It makes me proud to see the same experience happening for so many players with Storybook Brawl. The artists have hit home run after home run, bringing our fairy tale cast to life. This ties into what I’m excited to talk about today - our plans to take it further and breathe even more life into our characters with voiceover acting.
Over the years I’ve gotten to work on a bunch of different card games, but my first chance to work on VO (voiceover) was on Hearthstone. Writing lines and being in the booth with actors like Laura Bailey, Lani Minella and Matthew Mercer was literally the most fun I’ve ever had at work. Now that we have a much larger budget, we get to bring that same fun to Storybook Brawl!
However, there are some challenges with VO. How do we make sure the VO keeps the game fun and lighthearted, without being too repetitive? How do we keep the humor funny even after someone has played 100s of hours of Storybook Brawl? Here are some other challenges we have to solve:
How much time do we have for characters to speak, while not overlapping with one another or the combat/animation effects and sounds? Do the characters all sound distinct and have their “own voice”? Are LSV’s punny jokes actually funny? Does the vibe voice match the vibe of the art?
Here are some solutions and opportunities for fun:
- Characters that know each other, interacting with unique lines
- Easter eggs, hidden lines that don’t play often and players must “find” (sometimes breaking the fourth wall!)
- VO that reinforces each character’s vibe, bringing more humor to the silly characters and more drama to the serious ones
- VO that reinforces the overall fun vibe of the game as a whole
When writing a script for a character, we often write more lines than we will actually use, to make sure we can cherry-pick the best lines and to have back ups for the future. The actors will give three different takes for each line and it’s our job to pick the best one for that specific line (that also feels cohesive with the rest of that character's lines).
Here are some examples for Mad Catter by Adrian Roman. This line will play when you click Mad Catter, our tea pouring crazy cat, during hero select. Which one should we go with?
And here is one of his versus screen lines - these play right before the brawl when both heroes are large on the screen. Which take is the best?
And here is his “hidden”, longer, silly line. Players will need to find this one, maybe clicking the hero a bunch of times or using the correct three emotes in the correct order, etc. Which would you include?
Adrian did an amazing job with Mad Catter, and I can’t wait to see his lines in game!
Another fun pair are Romeo and Juliet. Since these characters are so tied together, a few of their lines interact. For example, we have this sad line from Romeo as he dies and Juliet is re-summoned. Which take from Mitch Ryan would you pick?
And here is a very silly interaction between the two of them that would somehow trigger during the shop phase, since it is too long to play during the brawl. First, Romeo sets up the joke with his line:
Then Tiffany Clare delivers Juliet’s response.
Which line from Romeo and Juliet pairs best for this joke?