God of War – The Sound of God of War | PS4

One thing that I live by is just
trying to be extremely positive, and this might be kind of funny,
but just do what you love. When I come here and I’m putting
the controller in my hand or I’m doing sound design,
that’s me. This is what I want to do,
this is what I’m here for. Hi, I’m Mike Niederquell. I’m a lead sound designer
here at Sony and I’ve been with the
PlayStation family since 2011. I’ve never been
a part of a project where someone laid out a vision
four years prior and how well that vision
was upheld. I got to commend the team,
and Cory sticking to his guns. I’ve been in some meetings
where Cory really pushed back
on what he wanted, and it was really great to
follow in his footsteps to get us where we are. I always just make mouth sounds
for Mike Niederquell. So when I would go in and try
to describe what I’d want, it was more just like, hey,
“wa-shoo, whoosh.” And you’re like, “Aw, man,”
and it’s ridiculous. If you were
to take it out of context and listen to any of the things
that I were to tell him, I don’t know how he followed
any of that direction. The only clear piece of
direction I gave him was the World Serpent voice. It’s this mysterious entity
that comes out of the water. It’s giant, large than life, and he wanted its voice
to represent that, and he wanted it to be surreal
and something you’ve never heard before
and be very alien. I had these really cool
Tuvan throat singing videos, and I was like,
“I really want him to have this weird combination
of monster and creature, but also
a Tuvan throat singing thing, so it’s almost cyclical
like the didgeridoo almost. There’s five layers to it. So I went online, I went on
YouTube and did my research, and I was like, “I think I can–
maybe I can do this.” And so I gave it my best go and I put a mic up to my mouth
and I was like: [IMITATES TUVAN THROAT SINGING] And it’s not that great. I used different pitch plug-ins, and one of them
was kind of like Auto-Tune, and that’s what gives the World
Serpent its signature sound is it’s trying to pitch correct when I do
that Tuvan throat singing. So when you hear me restart like
this… [STACCATO GRUNTING] It’s me fighting
against the Auto-Tune to get it to stick to where
I want it to correct it. And then once I find a note
that I like, I try to hold it
as still as possible, and that’s what gave it
its unique characteristic. Once you start to add
some of the plug-ins… [GROWLING] [GROWLING VOICE] So that’s the base pitch
that I started with, and I kept iterating on top
of that pitched version. There’s clicks you might hear
in his voice, and some of those clicks
are kitten purrs, some are buffalo little chuffs. There’s tigers,
there’s beluga whale clicks. And all those things
are layered together to give it all those other
creature-esque sounds that I couldn’t necessarily make
with my voice. [CLICKING] [GROWLING VOICE] [GROWLING VOICE] [CLANG] [THUDDING] We did a lot of Foley recordings
down in San Diego, and what that offered us
was unique sound recordings to craft the sound
of God of War. [THUNK] The sound of the axe as it
whisks through the air, it has that “whoo.” And then when it comes back
to your hand, and, “ponk,” has that satisfying
ka-thunk sound. The actual really heavy,
wet thud sounds that it has when it hits,
the cleaving sounds that it has, they seem to just elevate
a punch over everything else. So even when Kratos
is screaming, it complements and feels like it’s on a different level
from where he’s at. One cool thing we did
about the catch sounds that I think is resonating
with a lot of people is no matter where
you throw the axe, we have an incoming
embellishment. So on top of it we have
the whooshes that play of the axe spinning,
but we also have a “fwoof” when it comes back to you. And based on how far away
you throw that, we actually will fast forward
or rewind into the sound to do an offset to make sure that embellishment
plays at the right time when you catch it,
so it’ll always end: “fwoof,” in your hands. So if you throw it closer
to you, it’d be, “fwoof!” I actually made homemade
bullroarers, which are– if you think of Crocodile Dundee
or something like that, when he’s spinning
this giant thing, going: [MAKES UNDULATING SOUND] So it’s basically a string with
a flat piece of wood on it that’s oblong like that
and rounded. Those recordings ended up just
basically being mastered and thrown in as
the Dark Ones’ wings. That’s always rewarding
as a sound designer when you can almost take
a singular source and just EQ it and master it
and put it into the game. There’s a picture one of the
sound designers sent me from San Diego where he has
his feet on a T-bone steak. So they were literally
walking on red meat so you get some of the “flesh”
footsteps that we used– I think we used some of those
inside the hive in Alfheim, and areas inside of
the World Serpent. I think the sound for fatherhood
changes. In the first three years
of my son’s life, the sound for fatherhood
was screaming. But then I would say the sound
of fatherhood now has changed to “Papa.” That to me sums it all up, makes
it all feel good and worth it, is him actually
calling out to me and initiating a conversation,
which is a big deal, I think, for me specifically, so that becomes a very personal what is that sound
of fatherhood? It’s interesting because
you look at the game and I think the sounds of
fatherhood are, “Boy!” And then at the end, it’s “Son.” I think what I’ve enjoyed most
about working on God of War is the collaboration. Each person on
our sound design team has almost touched everything
in the game. We had a very unique process where someone would take
an iteration on one thing and someone would have ideas, and we might have that
other sound designer come in and offer their ideas. So it was very selfless. People were willing to let go
of some things to have someone else try to put
their icing on the cake, so to speak. Thank you to every single person
out there who worked tirelessly
to make this game, who suffered and struggled
and doubted, but ignored the doubt
or overcame the doubt, who put in way more
than was ever asked. It is no mistake that people
are talking positively about the audioscape
of this game. This is not the kind of thing
people do just to get it done. I think they do it because
there’s part of them that compels them
to do something, that makes them
desire to actually put a piece of themselves
into something, become part of something
greater. And I’m so, so blessed
to actually be part of that, to actually stand
next to smart people while they do
really great things and then take
total credit for it. So I did it all. Me. Yes, I did not do anything. It’s super clear, right? And I’m very sorry for whatever
it is I’m going to do in the next 48 to 60 years. Boy!

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