Monday, 13. April 2009
As Midnight passes on the night of Tuesday the 14th of April, Dutch Radio 6 will broadcast an hour long special about the audio in The Chronicles of Spellborn.
The program will feature sound, music and voice-overs from the MMORPG that has only just been released in Europe and the United States.
Audio in games is often taken for granted, but the achievements made in The Chronicles of Spellborn are recognized in many reviews, previews and player feedback, and now also in this unique broadcast.
Unlike film, sound in video games is not linear, as it is not the passing of time that decides the sequence of events; instead player's actions directly influence the sound that us heard. A player's location is the primary storytelling device and The Chronicles of Spellborn certainly takes this to heart.
Says Audio Director Matthew Florianz; "It certainly was a goal to create sound in such a way that playerscould close their eyes while traveling, and still get a sense of movement.
To achieve this, Spellborn features well over 15 hours of specifically composed ambiences. Forest, roads, and fields can all exist in the same zone, yet all will have their own specific sound as player move between them. To create these ambiences, over 500 hours of layered sounds, effects and synthesizer recordings where used".
However, sound generated by the environment is only one part of the equation and the radio broadcast will also feature music by award-winning composer Jesper Kyd, who wrote the musical score for Spellborn.
Says Jesper Kyd; "My approach to this score is to not make it sound like predictable fantasy music, but to write a more hybrid score, to complement the mystical world of Spellborn".
His music is carefully restrained and, like the universe in which Spellborn is set, it conveys its message slowly. The opening title representing the games first hero, Graidlon Marrow, is a minimal piece, tragic even. The music chooses not to score the epic conflict and struggle, but the tragic destiny of a hero whom in the end sacrificed himself for the greater good of the peoples living in the game world. Solo instruments and a human voice often represent an individual’s place in this post-apocalyptic world.
The human voice is also used for the games introduction, voiced by Dutch actress Anna Drijver, her capricious voice is as unpredictable as the universe she inhabits.
Equally to how Spellborn unfolds its game play, the initial simplicity may be deceptive. In today’s world, artistic endeavors often strive for instant gratification but Spellborn is a rare exception. Like a good book or masterfully composed symphony it takes its time, revealing its depth, sophistication and story only for those that patiently engulf themselves in the experience. The execution of sound in the game represents this approach.
Community Manager, EN
Sound Director at TCoS
The program can be freely heard (and downloaded after the broadcast) here:
Overview of some of the sound in the beginners area:
Radio 6 - The sound of spellborn