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July 2019

Splitgate: Arena Warfare

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Online Multiplayer
Developer: 1047 Games
Release Date: May 24, 2019

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Hexany Audio Team Interview Discusses Splitgate: Arena Warfare & Men in Black: Galactic Getaway

by Rainier on June 24, 2019 @ 12:09 a.m. PDT

Splitgate: Arena Warfare is a multiplayer first-person shooter that uses player-controlled portals to create a new dimension of arena combat.

Currently available on PC (Steam), Splitgate: Arena Warfare evokes your favorite memories of the most-revered shooters of the past two decades, embracing the classic and familiar feel of arena multiplayer with a multi-directional twist. Splitgate: Arena Warfare’s world-bending portal mechanic lets players instantly create and link gateways around the map, encouraging and rewarding constant jetpack-boosted movement, strategic flanking and ambushes, and action that truly embraces all 360 degrees. It also looks really cool.

Splitgate: Arena Warfare is designed to be equally accessible to first-time and veteran FPS players, with an infinitely high skill cap that will take players hundreds of hours to refine and master.

Men in Black: Galactic Getaway is a zany, action-packed interactive experience that is now available to play nationwide for Dave & Buster's multiplayer virtual reality simulator, pressing players into service as “accidental” MIB agents on a madcap dash to stop a notorious alien gang from making it to their getaway spaceship and escaping.

The Men in Black universe comes to life as players chase down and apprehend a wacky crew of alien criminals who have stolen deadly jars of glowing green goo and insect parts (of the planet-destroying kind!) before they escape from Earth. But don’t fret: there are two wise-cracking alien guides to help players out every step of the way as they make their way through New York and London, wreaking havoc and causing lots of destruction, and finally to a showdown of epic proportions!

Can you imagine playing a video game with just the score and no sound effects? Or the other way around?  For a multiplayer shooter game, such 1047 Games’ Splitgate: Arena Warfare, you wouldn’t even know if a gun had fired without the effects. Or in a virtual reality game, such as VRstudios new Men in Black: Galactic Getaway, you wouldn’t realize an evil alien is about to attack you without the ominous score.  These are just two recent games that the team at Hexany Audio, a Los Angeles based game audio studio, has brought to life through the audio.  Some of their other recent credits include Tencent’s Arena of Valor, Chance6 Studios COLINA: Legacy and VRstudios’ Star Trek: Dark Remnant to name a few. To better understand the process for creating this crucial gaming element, Hexany’s audio director Richard Ludlow, sound designer Kellen Fenton and composer Matthew Carl Earl all go more in depth below, specifically discussing their work on Splitgate: Arena Warfare and Men in Black: Galactic Getaway.

Q: Splitgate: Arena Warfare is an arena shooter game. Hexany Audio’s titles include many other non-arena shooter games. How is producing the sound effects different for a game of this genre, then a game such as Colina: Legacy?

Richard Ludlow: Great question! Every game is a bit different of course, but Colina and Splitgate are very unique from one another. As the Audio Director at our studio, I often like to start each project at the studio with a high level discussion about what we want to achieve sonically, what the primary function of audio is in the game, and come up with some key words to describe the type of aural experience we want to convey. With a game like Colina that is so narrative and story-driven, it’s all about emotion. Not to say Splitgate isn’t an emotional game, but whereas sound can be more of an abstract concept in a horror game like Colina, it is heavily information for players in a competitive shooter like Splitgate. I’ll let our Lead Sound Designer for Splitgate Kellen tell you more.
Kellen Fenton: As opposed to more narrative driven games, Splitgate is entirely gameplay oriented. This means that the audio experience has to do everything it can to aide the player. This was emphasized in the sounds we made and the mix that we designed.

Q: A lot of Splitgate: Arena Warfare revolves around guns. Did you have a favorite gun to create sounds for? Or one that was particularly difficult?

Kellen Fenton: I really enjoyed the SMG and the rocket launcher. The high rate-of-fire of the SMG presented some challenges, but when I finally got it dialed in the result was really satisfying and enjoyable to use. The rocket launcher was also a lot of fun because it’s such a large, powerful weapon and making sure that it matched the visual aesthetic without being too distracting was super important.

Q: How much does the game’s setting affect your job? For instance, would you have designed things differently if the game were to take place in the jungle?

Kellen Fenton: Obviously the setting has an impact on things like ambiances and environmental sound effects, it will also have an effect on how certain sounds are processed (reverbs, delays, etc.) but what was more important in this game is making sure the combat is as clear as possible.

Q: Every time a Saw Pack opens there are Transformer like sounds that go off. How did you decide on the sound for this sequence?

Kellen Fenton: I just wanted the entire loot box sequence be incredibly satisfying. Hyping up the sound so that it builds a feeling of anticipation was key to making it feel rewarding.

Q: Can you tell us something we might not know about Hexany’s work on Splitgate?

Kellen Fenton: We had a pretty tight timeline (about 3 months) to do all the sound for the game. This meant we had to work together as a unit while being extremely organized and diligent throughout the entirety of the project. Divvying up the sound design work amongst the other members of the team meant that there was a good deal of variety throughout the game. This is a big reason why all of the weapons sound so unique and original. I’d like to thank the other members of the sound design team at Hexany, Alex Barnhart, Jason Walsh, Justin Hollis, as well as the technical team, Nick Tomassetti and Max Harchik. Without them we certainly wouldn’t have been able to deliver a game that sounds as good as it does.

Q: Your team also did the music and sound effects for the new Men in Black: Galactic Getaway VR game. Can you discuss how you got involved with this project?

Matthew Carl Earl: Our studio Hexany Audio has had a long relationship with VRstudios, working on their fantastic VR title’s audio throughout the years. We were absolutely thrilled when we learned that our next project was going to be Men in Black!

Q: What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome when working on Men in Black: Galactic Getaway?

Matthew Carl Earl: The hardest part in the music was definitely getting this wacky, fantastical, orchestral, electronic, hybrid musical style to sit right. Danny Elfman’s work on the films is so top tier. I spent a ton of time on the piano sketch before beginning any orchestration to really nail the style down before jumping in and actually producing the music.

Q: Danny Elfman’s Men in Black score is pretty memorable.  Did you incorporate any of his themes in this game? How did you go about making it your own?

Matthew Carl Earl: I absolutely took a ton of ideas and themes from Danny Elfman’s original score. I felt it would be irresponsible not to use such killer material, haha! I wanted to hit the big moments with as much iconic and recognizable music as I could, and then after getting that out of the way I started filling in the gaps with mutations and variations on the same ideas with some new ones thrown in.

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