The S+V Interview: Guild Wars 2 Audio Director James Ackley
Guild Wars 2 was released recently and if any of you have had a chance to hear the wonderful sound design in the MMO you will definitely like to check out the article over at Sound + Vision. The videos in particular are the most interesting part.
What are the challenges of designing a soundscape for an MMO in particular?
Two of the biggest challenges in an MMO are both the diversity and amount of soundscapes. Previously, with most of the FPS games I’ve worked on, we put a lot of effort in to creating a single soundscape for the game. With Guild Wars 2, we have many different types of regions that need unique new sounds for each area. It sometimes feels like having 10 normal sized games all in one. The art teams work very hard to make each region look entirely different and have an artistic style that suits the climate and or inhabitants. We spend a lot of time working to match that feeling.
Some of our races are very mechanical, some are magical, some are small and some are big. The ambience in each area needs to match the lore so you feel like it is a real place. I love it when you can just wander through the game, listening to the environment and it all seems natural. Sounds weird to say, but sometimes when we do our job right, no one ever notices.