We Take For Granted The Importance Of Sound Design

Hey ya’ll, I’ve been playing a lot of The Evil Within 2 recently and I came to the realization that I often take sound design for granted. While exploring the creepy town, just hearing the heavy breaths and grotesque munching sounds of the…zombies? monsters? Whatever they are, that design adds to the immersion of that world. Whether it’d be hiding from that singing nanny or traversing down a tunnel and hearing the faint water drips, it takes the game to new heights. It adds to the tension, the atmosphere, the immersion in ways that I hadn’t thought of before and makes me appreciate developers even more than I already do. I feel that when we talk about the sound design of games, we default to talking about it’s score rather than focusing on things like ambient noises and sounds of that nature. What games do you love that have awesome sound design?!

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I’ve definitely been taking sound design for granted. This year, Echo reminded me how effective good sound design could be though. That ominous build up of sound before the lights go off and the THUD THUD THUD of the power gradually going out is just so damn good.


Warframe does weekly devstreams and their latest one was on sound design. It was really interesting seeing the process behind making sound effects for character abilities and monster design. The video is over an hour, but worth checking out for anyone interested in the processes.

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Right?! it’s the small stuff that always creep up on us!

Was thinking about this while playing Wolfenstein 2, and how it annoyed me that the heavily armoured enemies are completely silent and constantly manage to sneak up on me.

I liked in Prey how the enemies are creeping you out with their noises and echoes of their host’s memories. Sometimes you hear them messing shit up in other rooms.

And I always love a good footstep sound.


Sound design in games is definitely one of those things that gets taken for granted. a “you really notice when it’s bad but often don’t think about it when it’s good” situation.

I can’t seem to pull from my well of choices at this moment so i’ll use and example from this year.

Splatoon 2 is really good at not only just adding color to it’s world with it’s sound design it’s also really good at communicating to the player what’s going on. Which is so crucial in a chaotic multiplayer game.

My fav multiplayer games aren’t just “fun” what makes a experience really click for me in multi games is when both the visual and audio design not only add character to the world but also communicate clearly what’s going on.


+1 for Wolfenstein 2’s sound being pretty lackluster and confusing.

But as for good sound design, Dota 2 as absolutely brilliant. Almost every spell, item and in-game action has a distinct sound. There are some spells with fairly subtle animations, Bloodseeker’s Rupture for instance. The visual effect only really kicks in when you move and it starts doing damage, so it has this huge, piercing sound so you know as soon as it’s cast and can avoid yourself some damage.

The dialog of the heroes is really good too, with particular callouts depending on what happens in game. Mirana has a skillshot stun and she’ll shout “bullseye!” even if you hit an enemy you cant see, so if you’re listening you can react and reveal them.

The game is full of little things like this and it rewards you so much for paying attention to the audio.

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Plenty of people noticed this I think but I still love the differences and the rhythm of it matching across all 3 results.

I forgot about Prey!!! Honestly, every sound in that world is captivating. I love that raspy, echo-y sound the stronger typhon make. Even the sound of the gloo cannon firing is interesting.

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Speaking of sound design in MMOs, weirdly enough, I really appreciate the effort that went into the sounds used for FFXIV. I love the little sounds the sheep make, I like how you can here your character grunt and exclaim when they take or deal damage, and the way the sound of your footsteps changes based on the floor your walking on is satisfying. The sound in the game is so important to me that, when I do content like EXs or Savage, I’ll turn the music a little lower than my action sounds because I like hearing the confirmation of executing my combo properly.

The only grievance I have so far is that BRD doesn’t have a sound tick for when Bloodletter or Rain of Death proc off of Mages Ballad.

DICE are the masters of this for me. Like yeah they’re a huge studio with tons of resources to pour into designing all aspects of their game but the sound design in particular feels like something they take extra care in perfecting.

You can very accurately judge how far someone is shooting at you from in Battlefield 1 and the crackling and mechanical creaking of the flamethrower getting closer to your position is chilling, not to mention the shouts of your squadmates in different situations. Every gun, no matter how similar it might be to another of its type, has such a distinct sound and I love just hearing how each shot echoes in different environments. I remember reading about one of the sound designers excitedly describing how one of his favorite noises he likes including in the games was “rain on head”, recorded during a storm with a mic in the hood of his jacket. They really live for making it as genuine as can be.

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I was definitely gonna mention the newest Battlefront game in terms of stellar sound design. Just from trailers, videos, and Let’s Plays of that game I can’t believe how perfectly they nailed the Star Wars sound design. I’m sure they had plenty of resources to start from, but the fact that they produced such specific sounds so well is a testament to their team.

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i played Grow Upmthis year and really adored the ambient sounds and mumbling from my robot BUD. please there were a lot of little sounds that made him feel very tactile and physical