Field Recordings From a Virtual World
Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 01:15 PM
Triple A video game titles (meaning the ones that cost hundreds of millions of dollars and have huge launches) are always trying to push for greater and greater verisimilitude. This is one of the reasons that there is a new round of consoles every 7 years or so, and why sound design in games is ever evolving to better evoke a sense of place. These audio environments are now interesting enough that at least one person has decided to record these habitats for posterity.
The brainchild of the brilliantly named YouTuber Eroticfishcake, "Ambient Dark Souls" is a collection of field recordings from the world of the notoriously difficult action RPG of the same name. Dark Souls is well known for having a massive world with a number of different environments, and so the field recordings are incredibly varied; Eerily still mountain passes with just the hum of the air and the cawing of crows, rushing forest rivers with the howling of demons faintly in the background, or a creepy dungeon, full of the filled with the weeping of some...dark soul.
The site also provides users with visual documentation of the location where the field recording was taken, but in all honesty, it's not necessary. The sound designers in this game obviously took enough care to evoke a sense of place with the sound alone. This project draws attention to the level of detail that is often forgotten or easily overlooked by players. In some ways it plays in the background like radio static from another planet, somewhat familiar, a little haunting, but ultimately utterly alien. Check it out.