Videogame developers and filmmakers have always had sort of an odd relationship, with some developers like David Cage pretending they’re actually filmmakers and some filmmakers like Stephen Spielberg trying their hands at game development and production. When it comes to honest, useful dialogue about what the mediums can take from each other, however, there’s not a lot of it. There are exceptions, though, such as Daniel Espinosa, the director of the just-released action film Safe House. At a press event for games bloggers following a screening of his film, he told the group where he thinks videogames should be heading:
I think [it’s] the sound and how things get destroyed. I think that’s always something that draws me, you know? I thought I could use the sound also [in Safe House], because then you can put a hole close to the camera, and you can hear as a duct tears apart and goes over you. That gives depth into the image, so you have the character here and then the sound is very close. It’s something that they don’t use so much in videogames, which they should. Have that close impact on the side. You hear them go by, but if something ripped over you and heard it splinter and it covered the frame, that would be a cool experience. I got some Swedish friends who did Battlefield at DICE, and they’ve been working a lot towards that too. You can have opinions about it, it’s not perfect, but I think that’s the path that we’re going down.
I absolutely agree with him. Sound design is about much more than just soundtrack, and the true creation of 3D sound would do a lot to help create a sense of immersion in games. Unfortunately, it requires engines that can create the destruction to fuel the sounds, and there aren’t a lot of those out there. However, companies like DICE, Crytek, Epic, and Volition need to get their asses into gear and show the world why sound is so important and what it can do to really give gamers a heightened sense of their environment.