A hero named Black, an ice-cold mercenary and hired gun, wakes up to discover he has lost memory. Under the guidance of his anonymous captor, ‘Red’, Black embarks on a form of treatment, facilitated by a unique technology – a headset that allows the user to relive their memories and experience them again in the present. This is how the creators describe the Get Even game, that will be out on June 23rd. As the sound in the game is tied to gameplay, and makes a great part of it, in charge of the soundtrack was Olivier Deriviere, known for music for Assassin’s Creed IV: Freedom Cry, and Remember Me. The Farm51 team of Get Even’s devs went even further to create an immersive experience, and used the Auro-3D plugin of the Audiokinetic WWise engine. This audio format delivers a full three-dimensional sound spread capable of reproducing natural acoustic space. Their director of Creative Entertainment Division of game Iwan De Kuijper explained more on the technology, while the producer for Get Even Lionel Lovisa shared more details on the game’s production, and Olivier Deriviere told more about his vision of Get Even soundtrack.
Adam Levenson‘s career has evolved from performing as a classically trained percussionist to overseeing the busy operations of SomaTone’s creative teams in Emeryville and Vancouver while focusing on leading the company’s growth and expansion into new arenas in his latest role as the COO of SomaTone Interactive. In this latest Game Audio Artistry article, Adam and other members of SomaTone talk about using sound to improve a game.
Great games have great audio. Developers who focus and execute on high quality and attention to detail know that audio adds high production value to the overall experience for a relatively low cost. With a plethora of choices flooding the digital marketplace, great game sound is that “secret sauce” that can make mobile games and apps stand out.
Well-conceived and expertly executed game audio contributes mightily toward delivering an immersive and engaging experience that can feel much bigger than the small mobile device nestled in a player’s hands. The name of the game for us as creative partners is to focus on effectively creating and incorporating original music, sound design, and VO into the mobile experience so that players keep coming back for more.
To this end, here’s what some members of SomaTone’s creative team have to say about using sound to make great games.
1.Understand the importance of game sound, and treat audio production NOT as something that comes last in the pipeline, but rather an important component of game design that should be thought out creatively and technically from the inception of your game.
—Eric Van Amerongen, Senior Sound Designer
2. Establish a clear idea of what the creative style and aesthetic of the audio should be and define important delivery milestones.
—Ollie Glatzer, Audio Producer
3. Pay attention to detail and keeping that in line with an overall, inspired vision.
—Michael Bross, Chief Creative Officer
4. Creative and effective integration – You can have the greatest SFX on the planet, but if they’re not playing back correctly, or mixed just right, the audio experience won’t be good.
—Ben Gabaldon, Sr. Sound Designer
5. Passion! Pre Production! Strive for a cohesive, focused audio experience. The audio should be engaging and captivate the players to want more.
—Ben Brown, VP Business Development
Sound and music truly make visual entertainment come alive. Fun, memorable moments that we experience when playing our favorite games are often tied to a great character line, or a catchy melody, or a sound effect that thrills. Savvy game makers know this, and whether the project is a new slots game or a point-and-click survival horror game, smart developers use sound and music to deliver more entertainment value to the audience.
“As far as mix and balance goes, you’ve got to ask yourself how do players actually listen to our games,” Fernando Labarthe explained to his audience at Casual Connect Europe. “To answer that, you’ve got to ask yourself how many players actually listen to our games.”
Fernando Labarthe tells us the evolution in the games industry that will most affect Z2 is the development of better and faster processors for mobile devices and better graphic and sound cards. As these become available, he will be pushing for more audio effects in their game engine.
Working at Z2
As Lead Sound Designer at Z2, Fernando Labarthe is in charge of designing the entire sonic scope of a game. He works on elements such as whether sound should be loud or quiet, what the style should be and, probably most important, creating the feelings a player should be feeling at any given moment. He is also tasked with delivering audio assets, implementing, mixing, and balancing the game.
When Labarthe started with Z2, they were looking for a Spanish localization translator and tester, but from the beginning, his goal was to create and develop sound for games. After working in TV, music, film and radio, he realized that nothing can take you farther than your own creativity and passion. “If you walk into the office at 6 a.m. and leave at midnight feeling like it has been five minutes, you know it’s not work, it’s what you were meant to do.” The reward Fernando Labarthe feels in his work comes from knowing friends, family and strangers are fans of a game he helped to develop. He insisted, “Nothing fills me with more joy than knowing someone is a fan of the music and sound I created.”
When he considers the game industry as a whole, he believes the greatest impact will come from better graphic capabilities, so that it will be possible to have higher quality visuals without sacrificing frame rates.
Away From Work
When not composing or working with sound, Labarthe enjoys playing soccer, watching football and soccer games, having a delicious hefeweisen with friends, playing and hosting FIFA tournaments, playing tabletop games, field recording, and finishing the design of his tabletop game.
PlayStation is his preferred platform for gaming, however, at the moment, he is playing Luigi’s Mansion 2 and Fire Emblem Awakening on 3DS. He does intend to get a PS4, because his friends are also planning to buy it and he wants to be able to play some of his favorite titles with them.