Glen Schofield, GM of Sledgehammer games, in his D.I.C.E. Summit 2013 presentation on details on games, talked about how everyday experiences -- from your favorite lunch place to your morning commute -- can influence game makers in positive ways. One particular influence will have San Francisco residents relating.
What's the scariest sound in the Bay Area? For me, and apparently for Sledgehammer Games' audio team, it's the sound when the BART train goes under the water. It's a horrible screeching/scraping noise that goes into passengers' ears, through their innards and into their bones and soul. It's really the worst thing that can happen to your ears. Demons would be scared of this sound.
They recorded audio of this particular haunted, f*cked up segment of what is an everyday noise in daily transit for many residents and worked it into Dead Space. In the game there's a short, windy, subway-like hallway, where lights flicker through grates and a yellow-tinted wind blows through vents. It's already visually pretty creepy, but a treatment of this BART screech sounds here to take it over the top. Schofield says that, despite this room having no enemies or other challenges, no one wastes any time in this room, and it's likely because of this demonic noise.