Get a glimpse at how Valve directs its voice actors

Portal 2 teaser

When Valve released the SteamVR Performance Test, everyone knew that rabid fans would immediately be all over the test’s files, frantically searching for clues to the existence of Top-Secret Valve Stuff. Which, you know, basically means that people went a bit wild searching for any clue that’d point to anything even vaguely related to Half-Life 3. And yes, some code-scourers obviously found some intriguing thingies.

The folks at Valve News Network found something else that’s interesting: a 20-minute sound file containing a chunk of the recording of the Portal 2 announcer’s lines. They discovered it buried within the directories of an older version of the VR demo, which is no longer available to download.

The voice actor in the sound clip is Joe Michaels, and VNN spent a great deal of time cleaning up the audio to the point where you can hear various Valve writers (including Erik Wolpaw) directing Michaels in how they want him to portray the announcer.

VNN has made a video of their findings. Obviously, given that it’s 20 minutes long and there’s a lot of repetitive line reading, you’ll likely get over it quickly. Still, I find it fascinating to have this small glimpse into how a dev studio like Valve handles voice acting – especially in a game like Portal 2, where the voice acting garnered universal acclaim.

The video’s below. It’s best to skip around a bit to find the more interesting parts of the sound file.