FFD: How important is audio in games to you?

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FFDAudio

I’m not sure if any of you were tempted enough to watch that 35 minute-long Witcher 3 gameplay video – but there’s one thing that stands out over everything else; how incredible the game’s music is. When Geralt enters a battle, the music builds to a crescendo, amplifying and heightening the experience.

It’s something that made Mario Kart 8 and Super Mario 3D World special too; both games had their audio recorded by full orchestras and real-live musicians; something new for both series – and it made the music just that much punchier and resonant.

Of course, it’s not just the music that’s important – but general audio design. I’ve got a laundry list of complaints that I regularly levy at The Last of Us, but I can’t fault the audio at all; even in the prologue it’s mind-blowing stuff. With one of the first encounters with an infected chasing you, the audio positioning and placement is perfect, with the thing sounding like it really is riiiight behind you.

Audio design is also one of the reasons the first Dead Space was such a goddamned creepy game. Good voice acting, great sound effects and music have the ability to elicit a visceral reaction from gamers – and yet I find many gamers who barely notice the stuff at all; many don’t recognise a tune from a game they’ve played to death, or don’t realise they’re hearing pretty much nobody but Nolan North and Troy Baker do the voicework in just about everything.

So how important is audio in games to you? What’s the best, most prolific bit of music, sound FX or voice artistry you’ve experienced in a game?

Last Updated: August 22, 2014

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