Game Audio Assets

The frequently epic story-lines of today’s AAA game titles include hundreds of lines of dialogue and thousands of audio cues to account for gameplay variation. While sound is a crucial part of the gaming experience, it is also—for practical and economic reasons—among the last elements to be added to a game, completing a development cycle that can take up to two years. This, in turn, translates into very short timeframes for booking and recording voice talent, music and effects, and scrambling overtime to deliver audio assets. The increased volume of information distinguishes this kind of work from film or television post-production in that now large amounts of clips need to be managed and processed according to very specific technical guidelines. Several years ago this was still done by small teams of entry-level editors precariously burning the midnight oil, but with increasingly reliable automation—for the reduction of clicks, pops, and other undesirable noises—the work has transformed into a form of quality control and file management. Once recorded and edited, the audio assets are then tested using a sound engine such as FMOD or Wwise (pronounced “wise”) according to the logic of the game. Besides interactive audio, games also contain cinematic sequences that propel the narrative along and set up the scene for the player. Growing amounts of dialogue do not necessarily equal better narratives, but they certainly improve the replay and immersion value of the product. Game production value has risen considerably, incorporating star screen or stage talent and motion capture technology to truly absorb the real into the virtual worlds. Here is a sampling of several sequences that highlight the cinematic aspects of game-making, with a particular focus on dialogue and sound.