Deathly din: How Dead Space 3 sounds are made

"The sound of fear is all about building the tension before that moment happens." Dead Space 3 developers talk about the sound that drives the terror in the third-person horror shooter released today.

Going beyond the Wilhelm scream. Visceral Games/EA

If you want the best Dead Space 3 experience, it's nearly necessary to turn off the lights and crank up the sound. Do you ever think about where those bloodcurdling noises originate, though?

To get a better understanding of the scary sounds in Dead Space 3, The Creators Project went behind the scenes at Visceral Games, developer of DS3. It's a fascinating glimpse into the hard work that goes into creating those heart-pumping noises that many people may take for granted (or not really think about at all) when they're busy wiping out a pack of Necromorphs.

In the video, Senior Sound Designer David Lowmiller describes how the shrill cry of a Necromorph originated from a heavily manipulated sample of a co-worker screaming. The ferocious yell evolves into something much more sinister after Lowmiller layers the clip with additional audio processes, plug-ins, and samples. Lowmiller also amusingly describes how his young niece contributed to the game with her own unique scream. Coolest uncle ever?

The squishy sounds of stomping on a fallen enemy might make you cringe, but the origins of that audio might make you chuckle. The gooey burst of gut-stomping comes from a microphone positioned near a watermelon and someone repeatedly cutting into the fruit with an ax. The audio heard from snapping bones and cracking skulls derives from breaking carrots and celery sticks in half.

To ensure the best audio experience, a fear system controls the delivery of music and sound effects in DS3. As protagonist Isaac Clark moves around in a room, the fear system gauges the intensity of the situation based on the environment (a dark room or how many enemies he faces, for example) and intensifies the music accordingly.

Take a look at the video below for more insight into the sinister sounds of Dead Space 3.

 

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