The GILM Awards 2017 Favorite Audio Experience


Favorite Audio Experience

Hear that? That’s your cue. That’s a little something extra for people who can’t take a hint. That’s the satisfying feel of gameplay. That’s sound design.

Sound design is an underrated element of games, but as our technology gets better, games start doing more and more interesting things with it. This is the place to nominate UI sounds that felt tasty, little neat touches you heard; above all, an audio experience that allowed you to embed yourself further into the game world by learning and interpreting what the sound design was doing to help and entertain you.

Note that some amazing audio experiences that have been achieved this year are actually more connected to music. For example, the shifting between full and low-bitrate versions of a game’s music, as seen in NieR: Automata and Super Mario Odyssey, are more a testament to a game’s musicians than its sound designers, and should be made part of your case in Favorite Game Music.

We’re giving the floor to you now! Make your cases, listen to each other’s arguments and be sure to bold the title of your nomination. Ready? Go!


Q: Uhhh, sorry to ask, but... what are the GILM Awards?

A: Nothing to apologise for! Just head over to our pinned topic if you need a catch up! You can also find details on the process for the awards here.

Q: How do I nominate a game?

A: To nominate a game, you have to write the game in your post and bold it, ideally at the top of your post. If we don’t know what you’re picking, we can’t count it. You get one (1) nomination. For a game to be eligible for the voting phase, it must have two nominations.

Nomination: (GAME)
(Rest of Post, full of lists and good takes)

You can make a list as long as your arm, just be clear chose. We welcome thoughtful posts about how you made your decision and discussion, as long as we keep it positive and respectful.

Q: I disagree with someone else's choice!

A: As per our Code of Conduct, be considerate about other people’s perspectives. There’s no need to puff out someone else’s candle to make yours a little brighter. Negativity is only going to hurt your case for what you love. What’s said in the thread stays in the thread. The mod team frown deeply on people taking disagreements thread-to-thread, like bringing up a user’s nomination in a previous category in a case against the present one.

Q: Someone already nominated the game(s) I wanted to twice, what do I do?

A: We still want to hear your thoughts! Be mindful of what has already been nominated, but as always, this topic is a conversation, so feel free to write about other nominated games.

Q: When does the nomination process end?

A: The period of time to make your nominations will end 12/10/2017.

Q: Can I nominate ports, re-releases, or remasters?

A: Generally, only games that saw their first release in 2017 are eligible. Full remakes may be eligible, but games like White Day: A Labyrinth Named School, which is a full remake of a game released in 2001 from 2015 that was ported to PC and PS4 this year, are still not eligible if they are ports. Expansions on existing games that stand alone, like Uncharted: The Lost Legacy or Dishonored: Death of the Outsider are eligible, but please consider these games on their own, separate from their full game companions. Please see the pinned topic for more information on eligibility criteria.


For me there’s no contest here, it’s Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

There was just nothing else this year like Hellblade’s use of binaural audio to simulate Senua’s auditory hallucinations.


Through the sheer brilliance of its voicework to the satisfying cadence of plunging into the flames, I nominate Pyre for favorite audio experience.

Although NieR and Persona are also good picks, Pyre had much more attention to sound effects outside of music as immersive elements. Even Breath of the Wild, which had AMAZING touches to it, never managed to pull me in the way Ti’zo’s chirping or Jodariel’s gruff, punctuated outbursts did. The creak of the wagon rolling across the map, the satisfying turning of pages in the tome, even the crackling of fire in the main menu were all expertly crafted. I’ve never felt more attached to character voices that weren’t speaking an actual language than with Pyre, and that makes it a winner for me in 2017.


seconding Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice


Sonic Forces

Edit: fine, I’ll give y’all some justification.

It absolutely doesn’t deserve to win, not against Nier or anything else of the many worthy contenders. But it was still an absolute killer of a soundtrack. There’s no way Nier isn’t getting nominated, so rather than spend the brain energy echoing everything that can be said about it ima just give Sonic Forces the highest accolade it deserves by getting it mentioned in the run up. The equivalent of giving a professional Oscar nomination to so some indie film that wasn’t great but was personally affecting just so the folks that made it can attend the award ceremony.


I’ll also put mine in for Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

The auditory masterwork put into the game really gives the narrative a new dynamic. While talking to oneself isn’t a breakthrough plot device, it certainly is ramped up a thousand times in Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. Those voices that fill her head are also the ones that fills yours. The questions, the self-doubt and criticism–it’s as if those voices become another character, another you (or Senua as it were).

Definitely an amazing experience but one that also is genuinely terrifying.



The games audio makes you genuinely tense throughout the early parts.


I’m stuck between two games, but I think since we’re talking about Audio Experiences and not Music (sorry Cuphead) in this category, it has to go to Pyre.

That’s not to say Pyre doesn’t have phenomenal music, but that’s only one component. Every sound you hear in the game is memorable and powerful. I haven’t played it in nearly two months, but I can still hear the goblinoid merchant Falcon Ron’s simlish-esque “Fwye-Tyje” greeting echoing in my brain. The voice work is so emotive and distinct, it is easy to forget most of your party members aren’t speaking a real language. Pyre absolutely deserves to be in this conversation, if not take this category completely.


Yep Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice seems like the clear choice to me. There are other games that do great things with their sound design, but the audio in Hellblade is novel, central to the experience and executed very well.


Nomination: Super Mario Odyssey

This game exudes joy and the sound design is absolutely key to that. Here’s a list of moments in the game, both big and small, that would lose their magic without the top notch sound design in this game (mild spoilers ahead):

  • Getting a Moon
  • Speaking to any of the NPCs
  • CAPturing an enemy
  • Throwing Cappy
  • Rocketing around as a Bullet Bill
  • Climbing a wall as a Pokio
  • Rampaging around as a T-rex
  • Jumping
  • Anything to do with the Mushroom Kingdom level
  • Launching a chain chomp in the opposite direction.
  • Depositing moons back into your ship
  • Any of the 2D sections (as mentioned by 2Mello in the description)
  • “Taking Notes” challenges
  • Stacking goombas
  • Unzipping a piece of the scenery
  • Zooming around on a Jaxi
  • Throwing like a bajillion hammers as a hammer brother
  • The satisfying THWOP of letting go of your extended vines as an uproot
  • Swimming, whether as mario or one of the aquatic enemies
  • Ground pounds (and ground pound jumps!)
  • Using Bowser’s own dumb boxing glove hat to punch him in the face
  • Zipping through an electrical wire
  • Flicking a pylon to go up a building in New Donk City

I could keep going for hours on this.


Breath Of The Wild has to be the one for me here. The way it leverages silence against the non diegetic music really hits home the feeling of being alone in a big world. So much of BOTW is spent traversing these large terrains on your own, with minimal non diegetic music being used for enemy encounters, etc. So when you find a new settlement like Hateno village or somewhere else, you get this, like, surge of comfort over you, like you’ve come home almost.

For all the things I feel BOTW does well, I feel like the most important parts are the way they utilize space and silence. It sets the table for all the other awesome stuff you see/hear in that game.


Shaxx’s Commentary - Destiny 2

When playing in the Crucible, the matches are accompanied by commentary from Lord Shaxx, an energetic and encouraging Guardian. His excitement is contagious, and his call when you play well can reach a fever pitch reminiscent of shoutcasters. But when you’re losing, he’s really encouraging. He consoles you about your loss, but always reminds you that there’s always next time, and that failure is part of learning.


The above right here.

May as well just nominate Destiny 2 whilst I’m at it.

I remember the first Destiny Beta and thinking how the MP announcer sounded so distraught and tone deaf. This was what Bungie followed Halo guy with? But then I grew to love Shaxx, the better you play the more pleased he becomes, you are literally giving him hope that humanity might be able to survive against the coming of the darkness. Destiny 2 is definitely happier more hopeful Shaxx but it’s always great when your more heroic MP plays get acclaim from an over excited Shaxx. Shaxx and Zavalla are basically the two dads I always wanted.

With the departure of Marty O’Donnell after Destiny 1 I was wondering how this would affect Destiny 2, just because I had been brought up through Halo to appreciate the work he does in not just the music but the individual sound effects. Part of the reason that game was so profound was down to the music and sound. If you look at what 343 have done to Halo since Bungie, they’ve added more sound effects to every little action you do. Your armour sounds heavy as you run, all the weapons have additional clicks and clacks to the point I think they’ve gone a little overboard with it all.

The sound is a big part of why Destiny 2 feels so good as a shooter. Even the starting weapons sound beasty. I’m committed to collecting all the exotics I can, just because I want to hear what they all sound like. Whether it’s the angry bark of Vigilance Wing, or Sweet Business driving full throttle, spewing out murder.

The music is great too. My favourite is probably journey. Arguably the game never really makes you feel powerless in the face of the destruction at the start of the game, but as you ramble through the mountains to this lonely piece it does feel that you’ve lost something.

And the music of Nessus makes Nessus my favourite planet.

Like Halo, Destiny is pure space opera. A world I am constantly escaping away too, where my friends and I get to feel like superheroes. The sound is a big reason why.

And shooting the goblet out of Callus’ hand. Perfection.


Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds

The key for me here is that while no individual sound stands out, as a whole PUBG was the game in 2017 where I relied the most on sound. Maybe it’s because I am terrible at it but so much of my time in the game is spent listening and locating sounds. Hiding at the top floor of a building, listening for someone to open the door downstairs, listening to see if they’re coming up the stairs.
And then I hear a car approaching in the distance, I am trying to judge whether it’s stopping outside or passing by. And then, gunfire in the distance, someone bit the dust. And crap, now someone is shooting at me, need to figure out from which direction… More than any other game I played 2017 (although I haven’t played Hellblade and it sounds like a strong contender) the sound and audio was super important to the core of the game. It’s not showy and it doesn’t draw attention to itself but it’s so good at telling tense and thrilling stories in that “No Country For Old Men” kind of a way and it’s one of your most powerful tools in playing the game and I don’t think that game would work if the audio wasn’t as brilliantly executed as it is.


It’s a great sounding game although I’d say Mario’s footsteps is what stands out to me, might be the best footstep sounds in the history of videogames…


Seconding Destiny 2

There are so many little things this game does right in terms of sound, in terms of making guns and action feel amazing. But on the Raid, where stuff is super complex and time constrained, the audio cues are truly invaluable. There’s one that stands out, and it’s the first thing I thought of, and it’s the reverb on the ding when you shoot the cup out of Calus’ hand


If it is eligible with its PC release this year: Rez Infinite

This has to be my pick for both aesthetic and audio experience, because these two categories were made for this game. It looks so sharp and clear on PC and the trance vibration even works. Still, a port of a rerelease (with some extra content).


I’ll definitely nominate Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds. It’s a game where I spent a lot of time laser focused on every audio cue I could catch. (Also, one of my favourite pieces from Waypoint was about the sound of a specific gun in the game.)


This might raise some eyebrows but PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

While not the most polished or technically impressive audio experience on my list, it’s certainly the one where the audio felt most relevant to my experience of the game.

It’s the way the sound of a nearby footstep or vehicle can change everything. Its the sounds of different guns at various distances. It’s the way that the plane is loud enough that it can disguise approaching footsteps, cover an escape. The way that the sound of rain changes. That very subtle and deceptive weaving in of very quiet vehicle -like sounds into the background noise. The good, good fog map sounds.

I nominated this because Plunkbat just IS more of an audio experience than anything else this year.


PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

The sound of a car pulling up to the house I’m looting activates some primal fight or flight response that few other games tap into. The audio elevates that game from being tense to being almost unbearably nerve-wracking.