Believe it or not, my favourite aspect of Diablo III is not the Real Money Auction house. Nope! Nor is it the always-on internet requirement. I know!
No, my favourite aspect of Diablo III is the amazing, disgusting, visceral sound design. When my monk ploughs through a gaggle of succubi, the sound is what makes all my mouse-clicking feel like more than mouse-clicking. It makes the game feel meaty, impactful.
In a cool interview over at Kill Screen, Blizzard sound designer Joseph Lawrence talks about how they got all those grody sounds.
Well when we started this game, we all knew that we were going to need an absolutely metric ton of gushy, gooey, squishy sounds. 'Cause that kind of stuff is everywhere in the game. Over the years we've done numerous sessions for those-we've put our hands in giant vats of yogurt, glue. One particularly disgusting session that just looked horrible by the time we got done was this pile of stuff I'd been manipulating with my hands-it started off as bits of spaghetti, then I mixed in some yogurt [and] chocolate sauce; I think there were some packing peanuts. All these different liquids have a different viscosity and way they sound sticky. We used all manner of vegetables; by the time it was done there was this big pile of disgusting brown goo. There was even a New York steak at the bottom of it that I was slapping against to make splat sounds.
I can't tell you how many trips to the grocery store I had to turn in to the accounting department when I'd bought 10 watermelons and crab legs. It's like, "Mmm, what's for dinner? Doesn't really look very good!" [Laughs] The grocery store is just a playground for a sound designer. There are so many things there that make an interesting noise, and there's no end to the combination of things you can squish together and smash.
Ha, ew. Lawrence says that when they record, they'll usually have to have two guys in a room together, since one winds up so covered in goopy pureed food that he can't work the recording equipment.
Man, from game to game and studio to studio, one thing seems clear: sound designers sure do seem to have the most fun.
The Sounds of Violence [Kill Screen]