Most video game studios, or at least the bigger ones, will have experience with Foley, a long-standing craft that revolves around creating cinematic sound effects using everyday objects.
It’s nothing new. Many of Star Wars’ most iconic sounds were made using stuff like TV tubes and vacuum cleaners, and there are loads of excellent features on the internet showing how everyone from Bungie to Naughty Dog have used Foley to bring their own games to life. Even Unpacking, a cute little pixel game about putting things on shelves, featured over 14,000 different sound effects.
Today it’s God of War Ragnarok’s turn, in this excellent video put together by Wired, and this is already one of my all-time favourites, mostly because of the sheer volume of effects it shows.
Meeting PlayStation Studios’ Joanna Fang, we get to see how loads of the game’s crunchiest, squelchiest sound effects were made. A galloping horse’s hooves are actually just a pair of toilet plungers. Kratos smashing an enemy’s skull in is actually Fang crushing a melon with a crowbar. One of the most interesting is that you can get a perfect replica of snow crunching underfoot by...walking on coal instead.
I love that the sound of floorboards is made by just slapping a shipping pallet. That twisting some leather sounds like someone being strangled. And that to get the sound of someone punching a dude wearing armour they...OK, used a boxing glove to punch some armour.
Like I’ve said, there’s nothing particularly new or relevatory here, Foley is a relatively ancient craft in modern show business, but this video is a fantastic example of showing the depth and variety of sounds that can be produced in a single room, and how a Foley artist’s passion for the job can be one of the most important—if also unsung—parts of our experience with a game.