Brook Preloader
Myriad Games Studio

About the project

Services provided:

  • Creative productions (music production and composition, sound design, sonic branding, voiceover, video production, video post-production, audio production, audio post-production, sonic branding)
  • Consultancy
  • Implementation

 

People:

SOUND PITCH: Agency (services as above)

Sound Designer / Composer: Adam Scott-McGuinness

Games Studio: Myriad Games Studio

What we did:

Where the Snow Settles is a non-violent narrative adventure video game set in a beautiful albeit cold and painfully desolate world. A young girl, Aurelia must search for her missing sister. Aided by mysterious spirits, she unearths a tale that will change her forever.

Have we got your attention? Awesome!

Sound Pitch worked with Myriad Games Studio over the course of 2018 to support player immersion by enhancing the environment and mood of the narrative experience. This was achieved through subtle but extensive 3D environmental sound design, adaptive music composition, and original audio for the user interface.

The demo for this narrative experience was selected to be exhibited as part of PAX Rising 2018 at PAX Australia. We got some pretty good reviews, too:

“There was no spoken dialogue in the demo, just soft atmospheric music and the sound of boots crunching on snowmaking an almost meditative soundscape to accompany the game.”

- Anna Rouke (Player2.net.au).

“ The art direction is gorgeous and the soundtrack already sounds like it’s going to be a key element to the game.”

- Zach Jackson (Well-Played.com.au)

WTSS_01

UX: the important stuff

With the focus resting strongly on ensuring user engagement with the narrative, we knew that effective player immersion would be absolutely vital to the game experience. Audio has a totally special ability to assist a player’s suspension of disbelief by enhancing the realism of the fictional world.

How did we do it? Easy. The first approach was to use a series of special spatialisation plugins to position realistic sound effects throughout the environment. By creating an auditory environment where each object had its own sound in 3D space, players literally hear the world being created around them.

The composition

Three main environments exist in this game, and we worked out pretty early on that it was necessary that each would need its own compositional palette:

The village - folk music of the fictional region
The forest - cold, desolate and beautiful
The spirit world - unsettling, ethereal

Before embarking on composition for this fictional world, we talked at length with the awesome team at Myriad Games Studio in order to understand the history, cultural beliefs and traditions inherent in the game they’d created. What’d we do then? We got academic, baby! Ethnomusicological research was the name of the game and off we went to understand more about musical instruments in the bronze age.

The concept

One of the main areas of thinking behind the game is the concept of liminality; essentially, the state of standing on the precipice of a new way of being. With this, of course, could come feelings of disorientation and an ambiguity. In a word, this theme gave us a huge amount to work with musically.

We chose to focus on this sense of ambiguity and sparseness (while retaining a sense of comfort and pleasantry), constraining the instrumentation to two cellos, two acoustic guitars with e-bows, and a bowed glockenspiel. We kept the chord progressions fairly unpredictable but always pleasant to the ear, and made sure there was lots of space between notes in the key melodies to make sure that sparseness was reflected everywhere.

Foley

Who would’ve thought that this job allows us to travel so much? It certainly does, and especially when we want to keep the UX as beautiful and as genuine and authentic as possible. This project in particular had us traipsing up mountains to record a high altitude wind as well as isolated streams unspoilt by background sound.

The final word

The team at Myriad Games Studio really nailed it. By being included in the production process early on, we at SOUND PITCH were able to consult and advise on the many sound design possibilities, whittling them down to a set of mutually agreed artistic possibilities. The best thing? An awesome working relationship followed, plus the ensuring of beautiful synergy between design and audio.