During a demo of NBA 2K10 yesterday, I was told that the new basketball game will use a technology that frees its announcers from saying the same things again and again.
The development team at 2K Sports is calling their feature Dynamic Voice-over. It re-arranges pre-recorded commentary from the game's two announcers, real-life NBA commentators Kevin Harlan and Clark Kellogg, and adjusts what they're saying to account for events happening in the real NBA season.
A spokeperson for the game explained that October's NBA 2K10 will pull a daily report from Stats Inc about how players are doing in the real-life NBA and then weave those statistical reports into the commentary. If Kobe Bryant has a big game in real life — scores 60 points against the Knicks maybe — then the announcers will be able to mention it.
The commentators won't be returning to the voice over booth to add new lines to the game. And they won't suddenly be using new adjectives and verbs to describe the jump shots the players are taking.
But they will have at least this one way of mixing up what their saying, as the thousands of lines they recorded for the game get mixed and matched and integrated with the stats pulled in from real life. Existing phrases, expressions and statements about numbers will be shaped to make them say these new things.
As with EA Sports games' integration of ESPN Radio voice-overs to freshen up the soundscape of games like Fight Night Round 4, this is another small victory in the struggle to get sports games to stop having the same bits of commentary repeated ad nauseum.