Several key members of the Blizzard Audio team were interviewed recently over at The Frontliner. This epic-length interview featured Senior Director of Audio Russell Brower, Project Music Director/Composer Derek Duke, Lead Sound Designer Joseph Lawrence, and Casting and Voice Director Andrea Toyias.
This interview hit so many topics, it's hard to list them all out here, but some of the ones that really interested me were the tips for getting into the various artists' fields, along with information on the technology and methods they used. I love hearing about field recordings, for example the engineers holding the huge glass doors open just so at Blizzard HQ to get an awesome wind whistle. It's great, too, to hear about the casting process for voice artists, the difficulties faced and the lengths Blizzard goes to to get great people.
It's an altogether fascinating insight into the world of Blizzard audio, as well as hotspots to hear the best gurgling and popping noises in Southern California!
Blizzard stands out amongst other game companies in their astounding array of musical entities. From legitimate choral and orchestral works, to the dedicated professionals that bring you the realistic sounds you hear every day in game -- their multidimensional musicality is astounding. Sound is often over looked in a game, but in reality it is just as important as the visuals and the text you read; everything is about creating an emotional response to what your character in-game is doing, what they're fearing, what their heroism is forcing them to undertake.
We talk a lot about how that heroism is impacted by mechanics and lore, but little about how it's impacted by the audible stimuli of the surrounding environment and its many creatures. Take a minute while you do your dailies and raiding tonight and see if you can tell what's going on just by the sounds. I think you'll be quite surprised.
In a new post on their blog, Blizzard goes into how some of their sound design was accomplished for patch 5.3 and MoP. There's some more interesting facts that we learn in the article:
The Zandalari Battlesaur consists of three sound layers (previewed in the video above): Voice actor Jon Olson, a bear, and a tiger
There's five full time people working on WoW's sound design
The monk's "woosh" sound was made by swinging large objects around in a circle and editing them together
Then there's also this line from Blizzard's post, which stands out as potentially the best thing ever written about Warcraft:
We also did a big vegetable destruction recording session where we tore up ears of corn, smashed walnuts, hit cabbage, and twisted celery among other things to use for sweeteners. These sounds were used in various ambiences, Monk abilities, creature exertions, farming, doodads, spells and in many different quests.