Final Fantasy XVI English voiceover and facial capture produced first before Japanese recording
Earlier this month, producer Naoki Yoshida mentioned that while Final Fantasy XVI may not make an appearance at Tokyo Game Show, the game's English recording was wrapping up. It was notable that he specifically mentioned the English language recording, leaving some to speculate that perhaps the game was nearing completion and already at the English ADR phase of production.
Over the weekend, Naoki Yoshida shared a follow-up in a guest appearance on a Japanese live stream show known as Washagana TV. Here he offered a few more tidbits about the game's progress, specifically regarding the game's voice acting. Most notably, Yoshida states that Final Fantasy XVI's facial motion capture is being done with British English voices as the base language. Consequently, the Japanese voice recording has seemingly not yet taken place, but will begin soon.
Yoshida also notes that he does not attend voiceover sessions, either for Final Fantasy XIV or Final Fantasy XVI, because he doesn't want to get in the way of the voice director - although Yoshida will still offer opinions during story meetings.
Here's a translation of the comments Naoki Yoshida made, thanks to our friends at Gematsu.
I’ve been working on Final Fantasy XIV for eight years now, but I’ve never been to a voice recording session. I have my own policies about this. If I go, since I also write some dialogue I would want to step in and say my opinions, making the whole session seem like there are two sound directors. And I think the voice actors may have a hard time if the producer / director comes in and says different things from what they were told from the sound director. So I don’t go to voice recording sessions.
I’m also not going to Final Fantasy XVI recording sessions. Since I’m not the one writing the story. During story meetings, I do say my opinions like, ‘I think this line should be changed, considering the protagonist Clive’s emotions…’ Although the team has been doing a great job of taking my opinions into consideration.
This time, English recording is going first. And we have been focusing on British English.
Also we have to record facial movements. We can’t possibly hand-animate every cut of a scene. So this time we are doing full facial motion captures and then adding voices to that. Those works are not entirely cutscenes though. So this is one of the reasons why the English version is ahead of others. We are going to start the Japanese version soon.
Final Fantasy XVI seems to depict an art style and setting more similar to Western high fantasy compared to other games in the franchise, and it seems like the decision was made to have English language voice and facial capture be a part of that.
Final Fantasy XVI is set to release for PlayStation 5 and doesn't not yet have a release date.