BioShock Infinite's leading lady Elizabeth initially didn't speak.
The character's origin was revealed at a GDC talk today attended by Eurogamer. Irrational's Shawn Robertson explained that the studio was worried her quips would get old and irritating, but ultimately decided she needed to talk because the plot dictated that she'd have to communicate with other characters.
"She has to talk," Robertson said. "At the time, we were not confident in our ability to create a talking character, which is why we went so far down the road in creating a character that couldn't talk."
He later added, "the decision to make Elizabeth a talking character was hugely controversial around the office at the time." But ultimately it came down to cutting her completely, which Robertson said "was not an option" or giving her a voice. And thus the latter was chosen.
Elsewhere during the panel, Robertson noted that key mapping Elizabeth looked better than motion-capturing an actress - something that fell into the uncanny valley.
"Having exaggerated proportions of her face really helped sell her motion... We're not a studio who's going to leap across the uncanny valley and create this character who everybody's going to fall in love with. We knew our limitations here."
"By staying out of the uncanny valley we were less worried about the visually realistic AI and could focus on the emotional believable AI," he added.
"For us, realism is not the goal. Emotional connection is the goal."