Gaming, Video Games

What If… Games Implemented Decent Voice Recognition?

This article isn’t about a current event in the gaming industry, or about a new game that’s coming out. Instead, this article is all about “what if.” I’m going to share my thoughts on how awesome I think games would be if there was a decent level of voice recognition in games. I think games would be even more engaging and it would make some games easier to play. Of course, the above image is quite satirical, but wouldn’t it be sweet if your Xbox could bring you a pie? Just saying…

First of all, widespread voice recognition will be possible next generation given that every Xbox One will have a Kinect capable of voice recognition, (hence, “Xbox On!”) and the PS4 camera is optional, although it has microphones in it as well. Voice recognition could very well revolutionize how we play games, both in large ways and in small ways. Here are some examples of how already released popular games could have been better with voice recognition:

What if… instead of needing to click the buttons to change boat speed in Assassin’s Creed III, you could simply call out “half sail!” or “full sail!” It wouldn’t drastically change the game, but the game would then engage you visually and vocally. It would be a nice little addition, if completely unnecessary.

What if… you could call out a weapon change on the fly in ACIII instead of needing to pause the game, go into your weapon wheel (while not releasing the trigger) and select your weapon(s). This feature could drastically change gameplay, as it would eliminate a break in the action. How much easier would it be if you could just yell “tomahawk,” and Connor would switch weapons seamlessly? It would definitely simplify things!

What if… you could assign a custom keyword or code name to items in Skyrim so that you could summon any item necessary without needing to scroll through the sometimes tedious menu. Saying “Drink health potion,” is much simpler than having to dig through the inventory to find a health potion, especially if you oftentimes max out your inventory like I did during my playthrough. This would save so much time and be much more intuitive than the current method of finding items, and it be simpler and allow you to keep up with the action without the need to pause.

What if… you could simply say “I need ammo,” in COD single-player for a squadmate to hand you a clip or two when you’re out. Similarly, what if you could trade weapons with them by simply saying “give me your weapon,” or something similar? Wouldn’t that be pretty cool?

What if… you could yell “grenade at 2 o’clock” for a friendly AI to lob a grenade in what you see as 2 o’clock on your HUD. This would increase their usefulness, productivity, and make you feel like you’re actually in charge of your units. Let’s say there are two groups of enemies; you could say “get the one on the left,” or simply “go left” for them to engage the group on the left while you split up to go right? Again; these are features that can be implemented in nearly any military shooter.

What if… saying “boost” in a racing game would use a NOS canister in a racing game. Or, if you have a refilling bar, as in Motorstorm, you could say “boost on” and “boost off.”

As you can see, there are many voice commands that can be simple upgrades that aren’t necessary, or these changes could revolutionize an entire genre (keywording items in an RPG). These are just a few examples of how I think games could be improved, but what do you think? What other examples can you come up with? Let me know!

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Till Next Time


15 thoughts on “What If… Games Implemented Decent Voice Recognition?”

  1. interesting, i like the example you gave of the military shooter. I think it could be cool though as long as it didn’t become the focal point of the game then i could get on board with that. As long as i still have the choice in the matter, I’m happy.

    1. Right; I wouldn’t want voice recognition to take over, or it would end up like the crappy kinect-only games from this generation. But if could enhance the traditional experience, I would be all for it! Of course, optional is good; I wouldn’t want it to be mandatory since that could be quite negative (i.e. when the rest of the house is asleep, and you can’t be talking loudly, or for those with speech impediments).

      1. I know! especially if they get motion controls to be a bit more precise! and imagine if they worked that into Pokemon πŸ˜›

  2. Or even if it let you do banter, taunting, stuff like that. “Hey are you half-orc, or is your mom just that ugly?”
    *baddie goes nuts and drops his guard*

      1. Or even take Mass Effect-style response choices and update them for letting people make their own. It would take a heck of a lot of work, but it would be doable.

  3. That’s kinda why I used Mass Effect as the example though, because that’s essentially what they did with the crazy amount of choice within the game.

  4. What it you are playing a horror game with a headset…?

    The game can detect how loud or soft you are breathing and react accordingly. You walk around a corner and almost run into one of those twisted knife-wielding children from Silent Hill, yell ‘oh fuck’ because you were startled and turn to run. As you’re running back the way you came you hear the sounds of scraping chairs and opening doors behind you: your outburst just alerted the area to the fact that you don’t belong and you are right THERE. Fucking KICK ASS, right? Hell yeah it is!

    Now imagine that a player tapes up the mic so that no sound comes through to avoid that moment, probably because there is an achievement/trophy tied to not alerting enemies in the vicinity with your voice. Everything that just became cool about that new feature suddenly became as useful as SOEmote. Alternatively, imagine a player attempting to break the game by putting something really loud next to the mic or just talking loudly while playing (cf. PewDiePie).

    I can see how implementing voice-recognition could open developers to a wealth of new ideas, things that could be simply fantastic for many genres of video games. I can also see how unscrupulous players and non-gamers can abuse the feature, as well as players accidentally breaking it through awkward play. This is something that is inherent to any video game feature but may be particularly jarring if the developers build a game with that feature deeply integrated. This by no means should be seen as me saying this is a bad idea, it’s not, rather it should be seen as me pointing out that there is a very real potential for conceptual failure if it isn’t shored up.

    1. Well, I guess it also depends on what extent youre using it. Yelling “Boost” to make a car go faster is a far cry from full implementation like in your example haha. Although, I have to say, that would make horror game SO much creepier and more realistic

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