Some of the brilliant minds behind the sounds and atmosphere of Overwatch took to Reddit yesterday to answer some community questions. If you missed it, don't worry, as always we've got you covered.
The Blizzard Overwatch team has been one of the best developers in terms of community outreach. They have been known to release regular vlogs to explain updates featuring Jeff Kaplan himself. Their latest foray into communicating with the community was an AMA on the Overwatch subreddit yesterday. The audio team took to the site to answer questions about the audio development of Blizzard’s debut shooter.
For the full AMA, click here.
As always, however, we’ve got your back. Here are a select few of the interesting questions and answers from the AMA.
Reddit user Skyponyyt asked “How long did it take to make all the sounds for Ana?”
Blizz_PaulLackey steps in to answer this one, stating “From pre-production to ship, every hero receives about 12 weeks of audio support. This includes pre-production and then time where game design is iterating on the new hero's gameplay and we provide temp sounds for testing. Once the design is settled then we get serious, polish, optimize for memory and performance, cover all the emotes, highlights, surface interactions, and voice recordings.”
Next up was AeroRespawn asking “How was the sound for Genji’s sword made in his Warrior’s Salute hightlight intro?”
Lackey once again answers this one “Brian Farr was the sound designer for Genji. He banged two large swords together to get them to resonate and then reversed the sound. The whooshes, Brian recorded were performed by another Blizzard employee who is a sword expert and has quite a collection of prop swords.”
Wow_so_rpg asked “What was the most fun character to make sounds for?”
Blizz_ScottLawlor steps in for this one, responding “The one that sticks out the most for me are the Tracer blinks. It was also one of the very first sounds in the game when we started working on it.
Very early on it was the perfect example of this whole "Play by Sound" mantra. The rising pitch was done for a very specific reason - so that you knew how many charges you had at any given time. Then from there the notes and the rising nature of the sound was very much a character choice to reinforce her light and playful nature. Another thing to note with these sounds...if you listen to her "recharge" UI sound it pitches at a very similar interval so that you can hear how many charges have recovered. The small details like this are the most fun for me.”
Rechan asks “since the game is recorded in multiple languages, how many VAs work on one character?”
ScottLawlor steps in once again to respond “Well don't quote me on exact numbers here...but I'm pretty sure we localize in 12 languages, so for the most part that means 12 different actors.
There are some exceptions to this though. Widowmaker is the same actress in both English and French. If you look up the "Alive" animated short on YouTube in each language you can hear that it's the same person.”
SnugglesFabric asks “Not sure if this question is applicable, but how are voice lines conceived? Also, how many people are on the sound design team?”
ScottLawlor with the hattrick answers “Our writer Michael Chu does pretty much 100% of the in-game dialog writing, but the team will contribute good ideas as they think of them.
One of the cool things we can do with our dialog system is very easily specialize the lines. For example, there are some taunt lines that you will occasionally hear when you kill someone. Most of these lines are generic, but Michael can easily add a "criteria" to a line asking if the subject of the line took place on a certain map or with a certain character involved. This is how the Tracer line "Death comes" works where she mocks Reaper after she kills him.
We also use this same tech to make all the map specific lines. Another example is when Genji loads into Hanamura as an attacker and says "I passed many an hour of my misspent youth here."
It makes writing the dialog really fun and flexible.”
If you are more interesting the audio development for Overwatch you can watch Blizzards audio panel at GDC here.