The Adventure Game and Interactive Novel

The Adventure Game and Interactive Novel

The importance of sounds


When starting a game for the first time, the first elements that catch our attention are mostly related to the visual impact. Sight is the sense on which the human being relies the most. Our society is dominated by the so-called “image culture”.


But eyes can be shut. Sight is a sense we can control with a bat of an eye. Our visual field is limited to a mere cone.


Hearing is, on the other hand, omnipresent. It functions while we sleep, while eyes are resting, and it a sense that operates at 360°. It goes without saying, then, that sound, in a videogame as in real life, is of prime importance. We can be charmed by perfect graphics or an effective gameplay, but if our character makes the same noise when walking on grass and when walking on a pavement, we turn up our nose just like we would when seeing a botched polygonal model or an untidy texture.


Giancarlo Petroni - Sound Designer

These are things that Giancarlo Petroni, sound designer for Nicolas Eymerich, Inquisitor: The Plague, knows pretty well. His duty was to provide players with a sound experience matching up the quality of the game. Sound environments in line with the rarefied, almost suspended in time, game atmospheres; realistic atmospheres, but with a shade of mystery. After all this is just the way one would imagine the Middle Ages: an era during which everything seemed to stay still, but during which everything was changing.


A given sound effect or noise can be picked from a sound library or synthesized by using a software, but it often happens that a sound designer have to “go hunting” for sounds, recording them live to capture their true essence. This activity is vital in order to produce an audio that doesn’t seem like a déjà vu – or better, “déjà senti”: it often happens, in fact, that some sound effects recur in videogames and movies.


[For example, while I was playing Folklore some months ago, I happened to notice that the howls you hear in the village are exactly the same ones of the wolf-dogs in Metal Gear Solid, and the noise made by some of the creature of the Netherworld are the same sound effect you can hear in Silent Hill 4: The Room when you hit a mothbat.]


In Nicolas Eymerich, Inquisitor: The Plague, audio is even more important than in an average videogame. In order to grant the maximum accessibility it’s a priority that the audio is extra polished, giving the opportunity to audiogame mode users to enjoy a high quality sensorial experience. An experience that reaches the maximum level while using a home theatre 5.1, to fully appreciate the 3D audio of the game.


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