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This trope is under discussion in the Trope Repair Shop.

A character who previously had no audible voice now gets a permanent tone of voice.

This was especially prevalent for aged cartoon characters, many of whom originally didn't have voices and were given them in order to make more diverse plots. The reception to this is often mixed due to They Changed It, Now It Sucks!.

This is also common in video game series whose origins predate the Nintendo 64/PlayStation/Sega Saturn era. Older gaming consoles had limited processing power and cartridge storage space, which meant that voice acting took up a lot of resources and was low-quality, so dialogue was mostly limited to text. As hardware got more powerful, players started to expect that even Heroic Mimes have at least audible grunts, if not fully voiced dialogue.

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Note that some of these characters may have already had speaking roles in comic books based on their works. Since comics are inaudible, their voices there are up to the imagination of the readers. Characters who are mute in some dub versions and speaking in others also qualify for this trope.

Not to be confused with Suddenly Speaking, in which someone who is typically mute finally speaks up.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Naruto anime, all of Kakashi's ninja dogs could talk during the Hunt for Uchiha arc, whereas in the manga and all previous scenes in the anime, the only one who could talk was Pakkun.
  • Persona 4: The Animation is going to be downright weird for people who played the game and are used to the Silent Protagonist (Yu Narukami) who only says "Persona" or the name of the Persona he's summoning.
  • In Jack to Mame no Ki, an anime adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack refused to aid the princess of the Cloud Kingdom who had been hypnotized by an evil witch (the giant's mother), and instead slid down the beanstalk with the giant's treasure. While he and his mother celebrated their newfound wealth, Jack's dog (who was silent throughout the movie) started singing balefully at the moon. Jack saw this as a sign that he should return to the Cloud Kingdom and rescue the princess.
  • Gon: Gon is voiced by Motoko Kumai in his new anime, and the rest of the animal cast is fully voiced as well. He doesn't say much other than his name and make some cutesy noises, but it's still a sharp contrast to the dialogue and sound effect free manga he originated from.
  • Pokémon: Pokémon Origins: The famous Heroic Mime Red talks frequently in the anime. Ironically, the Pokémon avert the Pokémon Speak trope and make only animal voices.
  • Dororo (2019): Subverted. Hyakkimaru manages to regain his voice at the end of the fifth episode. Unfortunately, spoken language didn't come with it, and thus Hyakkimaru largely continues to remain silent as he very, very slowly picks up something faintly resembling a vocabulary.
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    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • Garfield always talked in the comics, but only via thought bubbles that only the reader could understand, except when he talked with other animals. In the early 90s TV show, he can be heard, but his mouth never moved. In the DVD movies and the recent The Garfield Show on CN, he can suddenly talk normally, and Jon can understand him.
    • That may be the case for the movies, but in The Garfield Show it seems to be through Animal Talk.
    • One strip had Garfield with a regular speech bubble that was drawn by mistake. In later strips, Jon reacted to Garfield as if he could understand him.
    • Becomes a plot point in one illustrated book based on the comic. All animals are capable of speech, but have a rule against using it. Garfield and the other pets in the town sense a huge natural disaster on the way (something that animals in Real Life sometimes do as well) and Garfield proposes that they temporarily relax the ban so they can warn their owners.
  • Marmaduke's eponymous Big Friendly Dog has a voice in his 2010 movie (provided by Owen Wilson). In his comic, Marmaduke never spoke, not even Garfield-style.
  • Peanuts: Snoopy was another animal that communicated via thought balloons. One strip from the 60s accidentally gave him a regular word balloon and stem — he laps up a potato chip from the floor and says "Anything that falls on the floor is legally mine." In the movies and TV specials, he could only whine or growl, but sometimes he would dance to musical numbers and a human voice would sing the part of the character he was miming, thus giving the impression that Snoopy was sentient (for example, dressing up as an Uncle Sam-type to the lyrics of the first-person song "Yankee Doodle Dandy").
    • The Animated Adaptations of the musicals “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and “Snoopy the Musical” have him verbalizing his thoughts through voiceovers.
  • Bill Watterson has written that avoiding this is one reason Calvin and Hobbes was never given an animated series. He didn't want to ruin readers' perception of how the characters sounded.

    Fan Works 

    Live-Action TV 
  • On the album release of Spidey's Super Stories segments from The Electric Company, Spider-Man is now voiced by Jim Boyd (who plays Arthur J. Crank) on the show. On the TV show, Spider-Man is silent with Word Balloons.

    Video Games 
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • There was an event at GoNintendo where one can speak to Mario and Wario live and it's voiced by no other than Charles Martinet. Here is an example.
    • In Super Mario Sunshine, the cutscenes have full voice acting (Mario never speaks a single word). Bowser's more high-pitched, cheerful Sunshine-voice has since been replaced by a very dark, demonic-sounding one that can be heard in Super Mario Galaxy and Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story.
    • For an older example, "Mario Speaks!" was one of the big advertising points of Mario Teaches Typing.
      • This was preceded even further back with the pinball machine in 1992, in which Mario gives out instructions and status updates for the player. Though he wasn't voiced by Martinet yet, Gottlieb chose a high-pitched voice for Mario that sounds remarkably like Martinet's.
    • Mario has a few full sentences in Mario vs. Donkey Kong. Here, he's shown to have a bit of a sarcastic side to him.
    • Luigi's, Wario's, and Toad's first lines with sound are in Mario Kart 64.
    • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door when Doopliss takes over Mario's body. In that case it is lampshaded by the party if you know where to find them.
    • In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, while disguised as Princess Peach, Luigi has dialogue telling the villains that they have the wrong princess and convinces them to swap the two.
    • While not voice acted, Dreamy Luigi gets a bit of dialogue in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, when Mario is about to venture into the heart of Dream's Deep:
    Dreamy Luigi: It's probably dangerous ahead! You might not be able to come back... You can leave if you jump towards that light... I don't know what's up ahead... Big bro...it's your choice... Luigi....will follow you. We're all here for you, bro. Always.
    • Unlike its predecessors, WarioWare Gold features full voice acting, with dubs in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Japanese. You can even voice the characters yourself by using the game's Studio feature.
  • The characters in Undertale usually speak through dialogue boxes and Voice Grunting. However, there are a few exceptions.
    • Mettaton gets a voice when he transforms into Mettaton EX. The first thing he says is a loud, seductive "OH YES!", and hitting him during his boss fight causes him to say "Yeah!"
    • On a Neutral and a Pacifist run, Flowey mocks you upon leaving the ruins, and departs with cackling laughter. However, considering he's on your side during a Genocide run, he has something else to say before popping back underground.
    Flowey: Oooh! That's a wonderful idea!note 
    • This continues into Deltarune, where characters only speak in Voice Grunting. With the exception of one character so far: Jevil, the Bonus Boss in the prison cell.
    Jevil: I can do anything!
  • Super Smash Bros.:
  • Star Fox started out Speaking Lylatian, then got fully voiced in Star Fox 64 and future installments... until Star Fox Command went back to Lylatian, with the twist that you could record your own voice using the DS microphone, which would then be sampled and distorted into the Lylatian "speech." Star Fox Zero then returned to full voice acting, using the cast of 64 and its 3DS remake. The only character that didn't get voiced in 64 was the Trainer in Training Mode. That is... until the 3DS remake.
  • Every single character except for Little Mac and King Hippo in Punch-Out!! Wii, and with appropriate languages, too. Interestingly enough, in the NES game, Mac and Hippo could speak. Although their words (like everyone else's) were shown in on-screen text.
  • For that extremely rare non-controversial example, your challenge is to find a single Monkey Island fan who didn't accept that Dominic Armato was perfect for the role of Guybrush Threepwood within thirty seconds of him opening his mouth at the start of The Curse of Monkey Island.
  • While we did hear his voice as a younger man in Metal Gear Solid 3, it wasn't until Metal Gear Solid 4 that we got to hear the elder Big Boss speak. In fact, his first scene occurs right after The Stinger when the character's voice actor is listed in the credits.
    • A similar example from earlier in the series, which knowing Kojima is probably a subtle Lampshade Hanging: Metal Gear Solid was the first game in the series with voiced dialogue. As such, Snake is unable to recognize his own best friend by voice until that character essentially tells him "it's me you dumb bastard."
  • In Disgaea 4, all of the monster types which formerly just made noises were given the option of having voices in the form of short combat phrases like "Here I go!" and "Hiyah!" (Being Player Mooks, they don't get any big voice parts). They had unvoiced dialogue prior to that.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link: Link has four lines of dialogue in the gamenote , although all of them are only to the player. Nevertheless, this was pretty nearly the only time in the entire series he gets ANY form of dialogue whatsoever until The Wind Waker had him shouting "Come on!"
    • The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures: Navi Trackers mode had Link as the silent protagonist again, but Tetra, Red Lion and Sue-Belle were fluently speaking Japanese, cheering on Link and giving him hints to help him collect 100 hidden coins in the map. Voice acting was however, in this case, integral to the gameplay, as players didn't have time to look away from the GBA screen to look at the TV to read instructions.
    • Barring the aforementioned Japan-only minigame, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the first main game to include full voice acting for some characters; a female voice is heard urging Link to wake up during the start of the game, and the titular princess herself has fully voiced dialogue (The before-mentioned female voice? That's her).
  • Spyro the Dragon:
    • Sparx the dragonfly got this treatment in two stages. First in Spyro: Year of the Dragon, where he gained a kazoo-like voice during the flight levels, and then in A Hero's Tail, when he gained a normal voice. And the third stage, where he's suddenly David Spade. Fourth stage, Billy West, for the fifth stage, Wayne Brady.
      Spyro: Sparx! It's good to see you too! You okay?
      Sparx: Huh, you know, little stiff, voice keeps changing, but I'm good.
    • The Spyro Reignited Trilogy gives voices to the save fairy and balloonists in the first game. Before, they just had silent text dialogue.
  • Final Fantasy:
  • Most of the animatronics Five Nights at Freddy's don't speak except for their jumpscare scream, but almost all of them gain proper voice-acted lines in Ultimate Custom Night, usually just after they jumpscare you.
  • Poker Night at the Inventory marks the first time Tycho Brahe of Penny Arcade fame has ever been given a voice. He did speak plenty before, just in text.
  • Lampshaded in Serious Sam 2 when NETRICSA starts vocally speaking to Sam.
    Sam: Netricsa? Nettie??? You can talk!
    Netrisca: Yes, it's a bit complicated... let's just say it has something to do with having a bigger game budget.
    Sam: What game budget?
  • The Kingdom Hearts series gives a voice to the formerly voiceless Yen Sid, the wizard from Fantasia. Yen Sid's narration in Epic Mickey has the same voice, and recently he's also started speaking in shows at the Disney Theme Parks.
  • Speaking of Disney games, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two has all the characters from the previous game speak fully voiced lines, such as Oswald, Mickey, Gus, Ortensia, and the Mad Doctor.
  • The Warden in Dragon Age: Origins was mostly voiceless (except for battle cries). Then Hawke in Dragon Age II got all his and her replies fully voiced a la Shepard from Mass Effect. Let's just say that the base is still as broken over it as about everything else in the game.
  • Crash Bandicoot:
    • In Crash Team Racing, Ripper Roo was going to have voiced dialogue, but that was ultimately Dummied Out.
    • In Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled, Tawna from the first Crash game and the four Trophy Girls from the original Crash Team Racing are fully voiced for the first time in the series' history.
  • Super Robot Wars
  • Harvest Moon:
  • In Dishonored 2, Corvo Attano is fully voiced whereas in the first game he was completely silent.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location provides voice lines for William Afton, AKA "The Purple Guy," revealing him to be British.
    • Ultimate Custom Night gives voices to many of the animatronics, primarily so they can deliver a Bond One-Liner after doing the player in. Freddy, Foxy, and Mangle also get Japanese voice actors for the Animesque cutscenes you have a chance of seeing after completing a night.
  • Just like in his comic book adaption and the 1993 animated series, the Pink Panther can talk in the games Pink Panther's Passport to Peril and Pink Panther: Hokus Pokus Pink. Justified since both games are dialogue heavy, so having a mute main character wouldn't make any sense.
  • In the Fire Emblem franchise, while BS Archanea Saga for the Satellaview, the Tellius games, and all titles starting with Awakening featured voice acting, one of the draws of Fire Emblem Heroes is that every single playable character featured in the game, spanning from all fourteen mainline entries in the series plus a handful of original characters, is fully voice-acted, many for the first time. Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, the remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden, is the first game in the franchise to feature complete voice acting for all plot-important dialogue and Support conversations. The only unvoiced dialogue is flavor text when investigating objects and interacting with other characters in towns.
  • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the protagonist, Byleth, only speaks in dialogue prompts given to the players, with two exceptions. In Female Byleth's S Support with Dedue, she'll let out a "What?!" when Dedue reveals that he's leaving Dimitri's service to be with her. In Male Byleth's S Support with Annette, he'll say "Yes?" to prompt Annette to continue when she trails off.
  • The PC Steam version of the original The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel game contains over 5,000 lines of voiced dialogue that was previously text-only, resulting in this for certain characters. Among others is a Provincial Army Officer at the end of Chapter 2 with a Scottish accent completed with heavily rolled Rs.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, Dremora, a humanoid form of lesser Daedra typically found in service to the Daedric Prince Mehrunes Dagon, were voiceless prior to Oblivion. They did get some "voice" characterization in the form of text dialogue in Morrowind, laying the roots for their later "Hammy-ness", but didn't have any actual voiced lines. Oblivion ramps up their hammy qualities, while also giving them spoken lines. They have very deep, very "outdoor" voices. Skyrim takes it even further, keeping their past vocal traits while uttering them in the most over-the-top way possible.
  • The Darius series has little to no voice acting, other than the small piece of dialogue at the start of the second game, as well as the radio chatter in Chronicle Saviours. In Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders, however, Proco, Riga Pratica, and Ti2 all have voiced dialogue.
  • In 100% Orange Juice!, all characters were initially voiceless (except for the text-based dialogues in Campaign Mode). However, in June 2017, the game added voice acting via a DLC for the 4 starter characters, with QP voiced by Azusa Sato, Suguri voiced by Seiko Yoshida, Marc voiced by Maika Takai, and The Protagonist Kai voiced by Yoshiyuuki Matsuura. Later, subsequent DLC added voice acting for the other core characters.
  • Starting from Millennium Girl, Etrian Odyssey has incorporated voice acting to plot-critical characters as well as the player-created characters (for each of which the specific voice can be selected as well).
  • In the Dark Tales series, all dialogue in the first two games is presented as on-screen subtitles. Beginning with the third game, The Premature Burial, Dupin and all NPCs have voice acting. The player character continues to speak only in subtitles; but in the twelfth installment, Morella, she finally has a single line with voice acting.
  • Skylanders Giants: Every single Skylander who Spoke Simlish in the first game is fully voiced from this point onward.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction, Yugi, Joey and Kaiba speak, but only when you duel them. All other duelists have no voice.
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    Visual Novels 
  • In Symphonic Rain, the first three routes have Chris as the protagonist, and unvoiced. After completing them, you unlock a route in which Torta is the protagonist, and thus suddenly loses her voicing while Chris suddenly becomes voiced.
  • In Another Timeline of Virtue's Last Reward, the player character is suddenly voiced by Troy Baker (Sigma's VA in the promotional anime). This is the first sign that the player is no longer playing as Sigma. The player character is actually an unknown consciousness in the body of K, Sigma's son/clone. It only happens in the English dub, though: the Japanese voice acting actually inverts this trope by making every character silent in that timeline.
  • In the Ace Attorney series:
  • Doki Doki Literature Club! is purely text-based with no voice acting, until Monika suddenly speaks over the end credits, and then serenades the player with a vocal version of the main theme as the game is being deleted.

    Web Comics 
  • Tycho Brahe of Penny Arcade was given his first voice (by Andrew Chaikin) in Poker Night at the Inventory
  • Kevin & Kell has been going strong since September 1995, but it wasn't until recently that the two of them were given voices. In a short cartoon from an animation class that Bill Holbrook, the creator, took, Kevin is voiced by Bill and Kell is voiced by his wife Teri.
    • Bill also commissioned Tom Smith to write a song for Kevin and Kell that tells the story of their meeting. Kevin is voiced (sung) by Tom, and Kell by Karen Underwood. See here.
    • Not only that, but the about page has another character, Fenton Fuscus, briefing new readers on what the premise of the strip is. Kevin has one line in this video, likely by Bill.
    • Other than that, Bill is shopping around the idea of a "Kevin and Kell" TV series to different networks. He's said he would want John Goodman as Kevin and Janeane Garofalo as Lindesfarne.
  • Some examples in morphE :
    • In the 2nd dream sequence there is a voice acted segment where the POV character and the knife wielding woman from the prologue speak, marking the first use of voice acting in the comic.
    • As of Chapter 4 an entity named Hizrim begins speaking with Asia. Every single one of his lines is voice acted, albeit a little strangely.

    Web Videos 
  • For the longest time Barry, the editor and all around ace of an assistant for Game Grumps and Steam Train, barring a few instances outside of the shows and one minor line of dialogue for the sake of a joke ("Jon..?"), never communicated in any way other than his standard yellow text. Then came Steam Rolled, Steam Train's equivalent to Game Grumps VS and even there he only spoke using in game communications...at least until the end of the CS: GO episode where he spoke once and has been speaking on Steam Rolled ever since.

    Western Animation 
  • Snoopy is generally non-speaking (if not exactly silent; he makes "Bleah!" noises and similar, portrayed by Bill Mendelez) in Peanuts animation, even though we can see his thoughts in the comic strip, but the Animated Adaptations of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Snoopy!!! the Musical gives him a voiceover, just like the musicals. (His Inner Monologue was played by Robert Towers and Cameron Clarke, with Mendelez continuing to provide his vocalisations.)

 
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Video Example(s):

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#WaddleUp Episode 10

The "Spirit of Song" appears when two penguins express their desire to have an actual singing voice over speech bubbles and grants their wish.



Later, one of the penguins watching their concert at the end suggests that the Spirit of Song give himself a voice since he also talks in speech bubbles. Unfortunately, the Spirit's voice isn't as good as the penguins he gave a voice to.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

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Main / SuddenlyVoiced

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Main / SuddenlyVoiced

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