Poll: Voiceovers, accents and archaic language


Well I’m Czech so I vote the latest option but should I have to play in English I hope it won’t be with Czech accent. I don’t like that way of pretending that the character actualy doesn’t speaks English.
And I would feel like I’m hearing nowaday Czechs telling tourist shortest way to Prague castle : - /

I also don’t know why British one should sound more unnatural than any other English.


Because clearly a British accent is far superior to any other accent and by default would overwhelm everyone’s senses with such astoundment.

Regards from an Englishman,
Warrior Rose.


That is a valid point. Henry of 1403 would have no idea what the catholic clergymen are blabbing about and so should have no idea also the Henry/player in KCD.

It is also sometimes called transatlantic English. Try going to EU part of Brussels and listening to people who speak perfect English with no clear accent, be it “foreign” or English-language native one.

Then I really hope that choice of having Czech or German will lead to Czech/German/Latin in-game experience.

Also, given that Czech should be prevalent in the area of gameplay, I’d very much suggest that English takes place of Czech in the English language version, with German and Latin (/Yiddish) remaining in place (i.e. as foreign to English as they would be to Czech).

What the hell is Czech accent? There are Czechs speaking perfect English and then there are Czechs speaking various levels of worse, bad and downright poor English. Unless you consider the Czech president’s English speech a “Czech accent”.

I think nobody wants to hear such “Czech accent” English. If someone does, I will lose my faith in humanity.

I am not sure about period German, but period Czech is pretty difficult to follow even for contemporary Czechs, not to mention foreign audience (maybe apart from Slovenes, who got large influx of Catholic priests and monks running away during the Hussite wars which had large impact on their language and which is to some extent more similar to medieval Czech than contemporary Czech is).

That is actually much closer to each other than contemporary Czech and medieval Czech, which is interesting.

THIS! 100% !!!


For me, it was hearing an American accent that was the problem. Modern language I have less of a problem with as it can be used to get the required effect. Swearing or expressions of surprise in particular need to have impact and ‘gramercy’ or similar does not for a modern audience! But the ‘new world’ accent took me out of the (most probably inaccurate) idea of what I should be hearing. Accents are the thing for me. Keep them mainly European unless it suites the character (widely travelled for example).


For those of us who are czech speakers, here you can get idea how much you would actually understand of mediaval czech


I don’t know about you but I can certainly live hapilly without having THAT in any aspect of my life

Warrior Rose: It certainly is very fine word. I think I read to much knowing what it means :smiley:


Sadly I think that the poll is a bit flawed and that the second option could be much clearer. As mentioned before you have to look at the success of series such as Game of Thrones that employ varying British accents to great effect, creating a truly immersive show. Regional dialects are also used very cleverly.

If anyone has seen Netflix’s The Borgias with John Doman as Rodrigo Borgias, then the American accent he uses can really knock your concentration and you have to really focus to overcome it. I still liked the series, but American accents can really make immersion into the period - this one in particular - difficult.

I’m not against Czech or German language speaking, but it would an arrow firmly lodged in the foot if you were to limit your potential worldwide market by doing this.

English with a German or Czech accent would also sound weird, but it might be worth considering making the ‘peasant’-class (who - and forgive my ignorance - would be Czech?) talk with a British accent, and the nobility talk English with a German accent. Watch a trailer of the film Suite Français and you can see this tactic being used to good effect with the French speaking with a British accent, and the Germans with their own accent. That is just an idea.

ps. I actually wrote this a few days ago (before I had backed, so was unable to post), and since then King Abaham III and some others seem to have summed up some of my points far more eloquently than I ever could have, but I hope that the number of posters calling on the devs not to view ‘Shakespearean English’ and ‘International English’ as the only two English speaking options make an impact.


clearly joe from san francisco would be the better alternative to voicing a european.


The number 1 accent in all the world is a Ugandan accent actually. :wink:


Your lordship Warrior_Rose,

I did not think they used those terms still as commonly as you make it appear. Surely “liege” must be lost to time! Anyways on to the point I wanted to make.

An alternate story is being made for a female character. Much in the same way the fool that ended up in a country whose native language is foreign to him would have to be someone other than Henry, I agree with that. Much like the woman story is a different character (obviously xD). Wouldn’t make much sense otherwise. That’s why I meant it as an alternative story with of course a different character. This IS more work but would be the most immersive way of putting spoken English language whilst retaining the setting’s location in a believable and more tangible way. I agree that it seems odd for someone to move to a country if they do not know the language and perhaps with war on the brink however it may be circumstantial, not willing. I give you “carte blanche” with regard to the background of this new character that does not speak the local language. I wrote that suggestion with the knowledge that they were also making an alternate story for a woman.

Perhaps this different character could cross paths with Henry’s story a lot, meaning they share a lot of story (not together per se) but many of the situations, quests and so forth are done by both characters whilst some things are unique due to the different nature of the characters. This would save a LOT of work. So in this scenario it means if you made a playthrough of the game in Bohemian you would play as Henry and if you played it as this other character in English spoken language (mixed with some Bohemian) you would get a lot of similarities in the playthrough and some unique to the character.

I did just take that idea a bit further but in my initial post it was just a thought. It can go many ways.


Absolutely agree there.
Very true


Since I’m going for authenticity lately, I’d prefer Czech language with subtitles. But the game needs English voiceovers of course to be understood by the masses. And for the masses there’s no need in complicating stuff. Shakespear has absolutely nothing to do with this story, with all respect.


So, I voted for the third option, Czech (with English subtitles). However, there should be English voiceovers by default so the Non-Czechs - or Czech-speaking - can opt for a nice gaming experience without distraction due to subtitles. In addition to that, not only Czech but also German should be done (third option), representing the efforts of the Luxemburger to establish a bilingual society - at least in bigger places. For the German voices you could take some Bavarian neighbours, they still speak an archaic language after all. Don’t know what Latin has to do with the topic, though: Nobody in rural or noble societies had conversations in Middle Latin, so this could be restricted to a few clerical phrases for priests and be done with it. Otherwise Henrys educational vita would be very “exceptional” - monastery school into the forge :smiley:


As a Czech, I voted for the last option. Although I would apreciate to hears some examples of the first two options.


Frankly i do not think that czech is any more authentic than English since there are more differences between Mediaval and modern czech than modern czech and slovakian for example. Pretty much nobody in Czech Republic would understand a single sentence of Mediaval czech so it might as well be englis. I voted for Shakesperean english since even though it is inacurrate historically. You can uderstand it with no problems and it builds atmosphere very nicely.


I just hope they don’t try to accommodate so many different languages, etc., that there is no variation or polish to the ones they have.

Last thing we need is a Skyrim situation where the same actor voices a dozen+ different characters.


I think Lord of the Rings is a good example of effective accents. It’s a kind of neutral British English accent that sounds very natural. American accents sound extremely jarring in a medieval setting to native English speakers from places other than America (I’m from Australia) and they thoroughly break immersion in my opinion.
So I think that you should have basically modern English with a neutral British accent (but avoiding really modern words).
I would also rather have Czech or German with subtitles than it being American.


As a native Czech speaker I am looking forward to enjoy the Czech voiceovers. However since Beta and probably even the full game will start only with English voices, I voted for the “quite current English without modern words”. But I really wish you could do British accent like in the publisher demo rather than American as it IMHO feels more European (and also because I love British accent :smile:)


I voted for the third option, because I generally find this kind of solution quite interesting and fun, to have a game set in a non-English environment spoken in domestic language(s) (or character-authentic, think the Inglourious Basterds kind of way) with translating subtitles. It’s not very popular since most people are lazy to read.

Never mind my personal opinion, the second option (despite being very broad and unspecific) is the most pragmatic one. But very much depends on how it will be realised, as the options are wide and the right one is hard to flesh out.

The actual medieval English (like 1400s) is a rather different language than the current one. It’s not even easy to keep up with for many native English speakers. So not really an option.

The “Shakespearean English” (otherwise known as the Early Modern English) would be a good choice if you were really determined to go hardcore on the “historical” sound and feel while remaining understandable enough for the viewer to follow, BUT… this period-authenticity illusion might acually very much hit the wall as soon as the language gets in touch with the first couple of domestic, Czech words and names.

And this bring us to an important point of the problem. Speaking of language and accents we are actually talking about two separate things.
One is the language, the choice and use of words and phrases and the other is the actual delivery of the language in pronounciation - here the accent comes in.

As for the language itself, eg. the game’s writing of dialogue and storytelling, probably the best solution would be to use the “Shakespearean EN” as a reference and write it with some period-written texts at hand to catch the spirit, but decently adjusting it more towards the modern language in parts that would seem too off. Better than the other way around, like writing purely modern speech and just throwing in a couple of archaic phrases occasionally.

  • Most definitely have the texts reviewed by someone experienced with English historical writing, of course.

As for the pronounciation - this actually seems to be the hottest topic around here. And the one that seems the most problematic, as it means the actual delivery of the language in the voiceovers. Which accent / what kind of voice-actors to choose?

A British accent? The good old British accents have a solid share of historic roots and ties, could sound authentic for the period, but their fitting in the place of action is debatable.

An American Accent? General consensus seems NO, even by Americans around here. I personally very much agree with everything that @sully9088 wrote way up there (LINK).

Now the Czech accent. A dirty thing to even say. At least if you listen to most Czech guys around this place. According to them, Czech accent simply must be something horrendous to hear.

I have to ask. What does actually a proper Czech accent sound like?
And yes, I mean a PROPER Czech accent. Not something that’s caused by bad English, or deliberate exageration (which is 99 % cases of Czech English sounding ridiculous). Does anyone actually know?

Mostly not. In part it’s because there are very few useful examples out there. Only few Czech actors ever got a notable part in English spoken movie roles (Karel Roden, Jan Tříska,…) and mostly it was just playing Russians with fake exaggerated Russian accent.

What Czech people understand (and utterly hate to hear) as Czech English accent is that thing which they mostly keep on hearing at English lessons from their classmates, or people trying to imitate something-like-a-Czech-accent by simply speaking English words in crudely orthodox Czech pronounciation. Either sounds very bad and neither is a very representative sample. Every accent has levels and the lowermost ones do not stand for the accent as a whole.

An actual Czech accent should be something roughly between Russian and German. A bit more towards the German one. Pretty much like we are placed geographically, things in this world really like to correspond with one another…
I was very amused a couple of months ago when I found out that Karolína Kurková’s Czech accent made its way to the honorable mentions in WatchMojo’s Top 10 Sexiest Accents. The example is painfully short (5-6 seconds), but it really does show a fine case of solid English with some recognisable foreign (Czech) sound to it. If you’ve got the ear for it…
A bit more distinct example may be this funny promo video with Karel Roden and Billy Zane, acting as two design aspects - form (Zane) and function (Roden). Roden shows some very good subtle accent with only a few real excesses that hit you in the ear (like teKnology) and I personally suspect that those are really just made up to make his accent more obvious even to the dumbest hipster.

And if we were not to go all that far from here, go re-watch some of the Warhorse updates and listen carefully to Martin Klíma, or Viktor Bocan, their pronounciation also shows a nice example of good Czech accent.

And this brings me back to the very point - if this game is to be authentic, it needs first and foremost to get to local stuff done right. With foreign voice-actors I’m a bit doubtful about the results, although it could work if they get a thorough assistance and guidance by some skilled phoneticians. But the same also goes if we could get local Czech voice-actors with decent English and the same kind of assistance to make sure the results do sound good.

We need people able to speak well both in English and in Czech. So, would it be easier to train foreigners to speak Czech, or to help some Czech guys to get their English on par, if needed? Nearly everyone in here knows at least a bit of English these days and the number of those reasonably proficient in it still keeps on increasing.
This is perfectly doable, it would only require a bit of work and effort put into it (and a few people skilled in the given field to oversee it). But then again - what doesn’t?

Now, just for clarification - I am a native Czech speaker studying English as a university subject (English Philology, in other words English and American Studies), although only on the Bachelor level so far. It doesn’t really make a man an authority of any sorts, but I guess it does help to get a bit of deeper insight…


Czech is a beautiful language, but having to read subtitles as I have someone speaking in my ear really annoys me and quite often I have to start over because I misread a line or I’m just not fast enough. I greatly prefer international English. It’s easy to understand and, my personal preference, sounds much more pleasing to the ears than British English. It’s also far closer to the pronunciations of the period, in England, obliviously, not Bohemia.


If you mean this video:

(Timecode: 12m37s)
This speaking is for me absolutely to the point. Good understanding an very nice to listen to it.
If this is what you mean by “archaic/Shakespearean English” then this is the right choice for me.
But if you mean more archaic then I think we need an example to hear…