Ask the Whispered World player on the street what they liked least about Daedalic’s inventively miserable adventure game, and they'd say, "Sadwick's voice actor. Ah!”. And then they’d hurry on home, humming happily, an unrelated puzzle having just clicked into place in their back of their head.
Those players were understandably dismayed when it transpired that one of Silence: The Whispered World 2’s two new protagonists would in fact turn into Sadwick over the course of the game, like a version of District 9 in which Sharlto Copley had to leave his family not because he was an alien but because he was irritating.
We’ve talked to Daedaic, though, and they’re full of reassurances: Sadwick will return without his offending vocal chords, and with plenty of justification for his presence. Beware some inadvertent Whispered World spoilers along the way.
Daedalic told PCGN that player feedback was “one of many reasons” for replacing Sadwick’s voice actor in Silence. Another was that Daedalic’s localisation production has come a long way since The Whispered World, which was released in 2009.
“The biggest reason, however, is the story that we’re telling now in Silence,” they said. “The events take place a couple of years after what happened in the first The Whispered World game. Noah - the ‘real-world’ character behind Sadwick - has grown up and matured to the age of 16, and thus is a different guy now.”
Despite Noah’s narrative links to original series protagonist Sadwick, Daedalic could have steered the character in an entirely different direction. But they didn’t - instead, they chose to transform him step-by-step back into Sadwick. Why? While a Whispered World sequel with an unrelated protagonist is “surely feasible” in the future, Daedalic consider Sadwick “part of the world and story universe” they’ve built.
“The story that we created is so very interesting and appealing and fitting to us, because it’s a continuation of the events of the first game, without being a direct successor,” they explained. “This was our favourite scenario.”
Daedalic wanted to retain “some consistency” with The Whispered World, but have enjoyed playing with the possibility of a “grown-up” Sadwick - who was someway defined by his immaturity.
During development, Noah and Sadwick have come to feel like different characters - “behaving, feeling, thinking differently” - in part because of Noah’s relationship with Silence’s other protagonist, his younger sister Renie.
“They’re different to Sadwick from the first The Whispered World game, as they gained so much life experience over the past years,” said Daedelic. “The bits that connect the early Sadwick and Noah are things that Noah - and later on him in his Sadwick identity - tries to overcome, for Renie, to save her.”
Daedelic haven’t found a new voice for Noah/Sadwick yet - they’re currently preparing castings, and expect to demo some of the first recorded scenes later this year at GDC and E3. Is a new, non-nasal narrator a deal-maker for you lot?