We like… sound design November 13, 2008Posted by Mike in Articles, Console, Games, gaming, Miscellaneous.
There’s little doubt that the often overlooked area of sound design has come of age in this console generation, with the current poster child being EA’s fantastic Dead Space.
Turn off the lights and crank up that surround, as immersion is the game’s trump card. Stop dead in the middle of a corridor and take it all in: the creaks of the USG Ishimura’s walls, the low drone of engines and air purifiers, the far-off wails of… something. Take a step forward… just one… then one more… BAM! A discordant orchestral stab blasts the speakers around you, making you jump, as a hideously deformed monstrosity bursts out of a vent in front of you, screaming. You cry out in terror, moving backwards, firing wildly in panic, hoping to kill the thing before it leaps on top of you and rips you to a bloody pulp. One of its arms blows off under your fire… then a leg… finally it falls to the floor, your shots echoing loudly as the creature gurgles its last. You breathe again, your heart rate slowly returning to something approaching normality. But never normal. Not while playing this game.
This is what good sound design can do. In Dead Space it adds a new level to survival horror, working in tandem with the horribly beautiful visuals and lighting to make you feel like you really are on that doomed spaceship. Alone. Knowing that every step could be your last. All the tiny details convincing you that the moment is about to come.