People been talking about lack of customisation and stuff. I suppose this stems from the deaign decision to make losing soldiers less important than in xcom but still important.
What I want to tell you specifically is voice lines. I’m not feeling it. Ive been playing Battletech recently, the game which was also crowdfunded. Man, they do have some nice character behind those voice lines. And it’s not that they are top notch high budget or aomething, its that pilots have their own identity.
There was this female voice and she keeps telling things with a strong yankee accent like 'High tailing it, yes I am" or “Oh you are gonna get it now, yes you are!” etc.
So why can’t PP have stuff like this? Budget? You telling me Battletech had much higher budget? Or is it lack of focus, design mistakes or what?
HBS wanted BT to have more… roleplay to mechwarriors, you can see that in the (unfinished) traits-system (which was “degraded” into little to no effect event-exclusive things, though mods expanded on them), and let’s not forget that HBS made story-focused games before, focusing on character building and presentation (even if not with random npcs).
I would guess it’s simply a combination of “not priority” (it was supposed to be normal to lose soldiers, even if that is not true now) and going for less… fancy voices, PP has soldiers, not a ragtag band of mercenaries like BT, which gives itself somewhat more for those “You get a headshot, and you get a headshot!” type lines.
I don’t think prior experience should be that much important here. Take Fatshark. Although I’m not a fan of that studio I beleive they never made a character driven game before releasing Warhammer Vermintide. In Vermintide they managed to create several characters with top notch voice acting.
I’m sure there are many people out there willing to voice act in a video game for a very small to no fee. Whether a developer is capable of using those people is another question.
Firefly tried to include “fan made death-noises” in a contest, they had to cancel that 'cos voice actors started to attack the studio for “forcing people to work for free”…
And don’t forget that BT has a hard cap of 4 soldiers (and sometimes some npcs) in a mission, while PP had design goals for up to 16 soldiers, you have to make a lot more different voice-lines to not get multiple soldiers using the same, but still “unique” ones, which I personally find worse for immersion than having shorter, less fancy “barks”, even if those are shared by more soldiers ('cos I don’t actually pay attention to those then, they just provide the background noise).
But it’s probably more personal preference than some kind of universal truth.
There is no need to make a fully voiced fully fledged character for each soldier if you know what I mean. But adding a bit of personality to a set of voice lines is by no means a hard thing to achieve with the right mindset.