Jayson Napolitano, from Original Sound Version has created a new section on the site called “Blast from the Past”, which will include interviews made previously in the Music4Games site (offline several months ago). He started with a great interview he had with composer Kenji Yamamoto and Retro Studios sound supervisor Scott Petersen talking about their work on “Metroid Prime 3”.
Petersen: Right from the start of pre-production design on Prime 3, we knew that this had to be the most impactful Prime yet. To help focus on this goal I spent a lot of time thinking about how the sound design and music could support this idea of the best Prime ever.
For the sound design, I identified that the core of our audio aesthetic is that everything Metroid should be highly stylized and/or synthetic. To push this further and to help carve out some new sonic territory, I wanted all of our stylized and synthetic sounds to have very little midrange content; I really wanted our world sounds to mainly be just highs and lows. This would ideally leave the middle range for creatures and weapons and music. While we didn’t slavishly follow this guideline for everything, it really helped all of our sound designers focus on a concrete aesthetic and sonic palette. It also came with a catchy description: “Sci-fu.”
A parallel consideration was that we knew from the outset that were going have Phazon everywhere and integrated into the entire game. This meant that we had to come up with a greater depth and variety of Phazon sounds (lovingly referred to as blue goo) than we had in the first two Primes. To do this, we sketched out a whole mess of loops based on what Phazon might sound like. We even had the opportunity to persuade our audio engineer Jim Gage to build a couple of Tesla coils, just so we could record the sounds in the hopes that it would be the secret element for our new Phazon. (It was pure bliss recording the sound of 30” arcs of high voltage electricity). We ended up taking the Tesla source and a variety of other sounds and digitally mangling them together to form the root of our new Phazon. This root sound was given to each sound designer who was to be creating anything remotely related to Phazon or Corruption for them to reference, use and abuse. The funny thing is that as a result of this you never really hear Phazon directly; it is much more about how Phazon corrupts and affects things than what it is in and of itself. This was not something I expected at the outset and was really part of the evolving concept of what it means to do sounds for video games.