Recently, for our last class session of my Trends in Modern Sound Design class, we took a field trip across town to Blizzard Studios. If you play video games at all, chances are good that you have played a Blizzard game at some point in your life (their products include World of Warcraft and Diablo, both of which get screen time in my house). Blizzard is known for creating immersive designs with a lot of attention to detail, and we wanted to see how their sound team handled such large and complex projects.
We all had to sign nondisclosure agreements, so I can't talk much about what we saw on our visit, but here are some things I can say:
- The sound team and the music team work side by side. The designers, composers, and engineers are in constant conversation with each other, and they all seem to agree that this makes the end result much stronger.
- The sound team has a large and growing collection of custom field recordings, which they use to create the sounds of creatures and environments. They do use commercial effects libraries, but they definitely mix in their own sounds.
While on our visit, we spent time with a number of people in the sound/music area who each took time to show us a bit of what they do and talk to us about the game sound world. Thanks to everyone at Blizzard for a great visit!
And, here's the obligatory photo of our group in front of the Blizzard Orc: