With surround systems becoming more and more affordable (and sophisticated), and Turtle Beach headsets conquering every in-store display, sound design has grown all the more relevant and essential to gaming experiences. The sounds of games seem to stick with us as persistently as the characters and gameplay. This year continued the trend with some jaw-dropping, eardrum-melting sound.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Far Cry 3
The Darkness II
Which of these wild games – all with sound challenges in their own right – won the day?
Various animals, nearly fifty different weapons, several different types of transportation, and exceptional voice acting to boot, Ubisoft’s Far Cry 3 transported the player to a fictitious island where a savage gang holds the native peoples hostage. It’s one thing to create a new world of sounds, and another to have to recreate so many sounds we already know. Particularly memorable are the performances of the deranged villain, Vas, and the sounds of the jet skis.
Every year, the folks at Activision – whether it be Treyarch or Infinity Ward – dazzle us with their ability to make the sounds of war as harrowing and unnervingly life-like as possible. Although the latest outing also takes place in the future, the sounds were convincing enough to make us believe that the guns of the future and communication sound exactly as they do in Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Despite missing Ed Harris, the voice acting remained solid, and – even after nuking us in Call of Duty 4 – still delivered a massive holy-shit moment as we watched (and listened) to skyscrapers tumble to the ground in an unnervingly familiar way.
Despite being the furthest removed from our time and space, Halo 4 ran away with the gold by transporting us to these distant planets. Although many of the familiar sounds are back, 343 Studios brought with it a whole new race of enemies and an even bigger slew of re-imagined weapons. The new gun sound effects are staggeringly powerful and whisked away the turquoise veneer that coated the rest of the series. This Halo is grittier and meaner, and it’s thanks – in no small part – to the fantastic sound design.
See all of our OSTOSTOTY 2012 winners here: