Star Wars: Battlefront II wins award for sound design. We look at the creative methods three studios used to achieve greatness.
While we await the impending onslaught of SDCC Star Wars news, surprises, and speculation, it remains important to recognize the achievements of the craftspeople that go into creating our favorite media in the galaxy far, far away.
Star Wars: Battlefront II has recently won the 2018 UK Develop Award for Sound Design. The game – which launched with a flurry of controversy regarding its loot crate system – swept past others such as Cuphead and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.
As fans we can all appreciate the importance and recognizability of the sonic landscape in the Star Wars media empire. The aural frisson experienced when a Lightsaber ignites is powerful to this day. What may be less appreciated is the unique way in which the sound design teams operated to create the award winning sound in Battlefront II.
In a wide ranging interview, Jennifer Walden of asoundeffect.com sheds light on the monumental undertaking that was creating the sonic landscape for Battlefront: II. Three separate studios worked on Star Wars: Battlefront II – EA DICE, Criterion Games, and Motive Studios. Collaborating in unison the three studios each focused on differing aspects of the total sound design.
Lead by head designer Ben Minto, EA DICE took on the multiplayer component of sound design. Olivier Asselin and Motive Studios lead the single player campaign; Nathaniel Daw of Criterion Games headed up the Starfighter Assault and Arcade modes. Each sonic aspect crucial, each team working in concert.
While the teams worked within an already well defined – nearly immutable – soundscape provided by the films, they still managed to find room for interpretation and improvisation. They employed the three strategies of “embrace,” “extend,” and “enhance” in order to contribute to the sonic vocabulary of the game and the overall Star Wars experience. The entire long and in-depth interview is a must for hardcore Star Wars aficionados and sound design nerds.
Congratulations to all the teams who worked on the game! Share your thoughts on the creative aspects of this collaboration below.