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Custom Audio: Disrespectful?

Peeks out from under c-blog rubble

Is the Turning Point storm over?

Right! Customizable audio.

I was perusing Naia The Gamers c-blog the other day and it got me thinking: with the advent of hard drives, developers now have the opportunity to allow us to put in our own music into our games and yet this functionality doesn't seem to be added on to most games. Now for a company like EA, where they're trying to build a brand with all this EA trax nonsense, I can easily see where they're coming from. They can leverage the popularity of their games into extra dollars by promising record label A that band X will be heard over and over again by potential customers while said customers are busy crashing into, and probably murdering, innocent civilians in Burnout. But what about games wherein there isn't any licensed music? I love Devil May Cry 4, but I would clean Paris Hiltons underwear for a year to be able to change that terrible battle music (although on second thought that may actually be a licensed track. But you get the idea).

On the one hand, I understand why a developer might exclude the ability to put in custom soundtracks. Development teams spend a lot of time and effort into creating a world with a very particular feel to it, and if you could just wipe out all of that work by hitting a button in the options menu then you might be tempted to just put in your own soundtrack on a regular basis, keeping you from hearing something that you might really end up liking or would end up growing on you. Personally, I always feel somewhat obligated to try and experience my games as the developer intended partly out of respect. If someone spent a good deal of time trying to come up with the perfect score, I think it's only fair to hear it at least once.

On the other hand, having the option to use a custom soundtrack doesn't necessarily mean that you have to use it. If someone else wants to ruin Eternal Sonata by blaring Slipknot and Dragonforce the whole time it's really none of my business. (You know someone would)

I pretty much always appreciate being able to use custom soundtracks, but I usually refrain from doing so. I find that most games have music that fits just fine, no meddling necessary, but every once in a while a game comes along that makes me want to tear my ears off..

Something else I was thinking about was the possibility of using custom sound effects. Although this would never happen in a major console release, being able to switch out a puny "pew! pew!" sound for a meaty "PEW! PEW!" sound is something that I've done for a few PC games in my time, and I've always really enjoyed having the ability to do that.

Changing sound effects has always seemed a little more "innocent" to me than changing music. Granted, sound effects can be a huge part of a game, but changing a few weak ones here or there can make a big difference without changing the whole vibe of the game.

The point: more customizable audio in games please developers. I'll always listen to the default stuff first. I promise.

Random quote... EXECUTE!

"Progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things."

~Robert A. Heinlein
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About The GHostone of us since 1:55 AM on 01.25.2008

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