Overwatch and Importance of Audio Detail

Have you ever played Overwatch? Whether you like it better than TF2 or not, there is one thing that Overwatch does better than any game I've ever seen before: Audio detail and design. Now, I've always seen people praise its amazing audio design, but usually I thought it was for the score, or the realistic sound effects that you hear when Tracer hits her Blink. But what about...when you knock something off a table?

Yeah, that's right I said it. The most amazing thing about Overwatch's sound design is when you knock something off a table. Not just that though. Anything. Anything you look for in the game there's a sound. I think the reason I find this really amazing is even the tediously annoying things that shouldn't have sounds, do. As an audio designer, it makes discovering these sounds even more fun . The one that got me the most was in the Hanamura map. When you're on attack, waiting in your room for the doors to open, there's all those video games that you obliterate to death. However, there's one specific one that just kind of sits in the corner, unnoticed because it's not destructible.

(The one peeking out of the left in this image).

If you get close to this game, you'll actually find that this machine had dedicated sounds. It has a small *boing* for every time the ball ricochets off the top and a different *boing* for every time it bounces off the side pads. Now, if you haven't closed this post by now, you might be wondering, why do I care? So there's a lot of sounds?

Well it's because it adds life to the game. The variety and detail that went into Overwatch and especially its sound is part of the reason it feels so fresh. McCree can shoot something metal, and then shoot a bell, and even though the bell is made of metal the bell will make a different sound that resonates because it's a bell. AND THEN if you try the same thing with Ana you'll get different sounds because her weapon size is different. It's just the kind of thing that makes an audio person giggle when you really notice all the differences and details that really went into this game.

To just kind of wrap this up quickly, the more detail your game can have not only musically but with sound in general, then the more alive it'll feel. That is why horror games recently have been lauded for having great sound design, because that is usually what carries the horror, the feeling of life behind you but you can't tell just what it is or where it is coming from. The Xenomorph wouldn't be nearly as scary if you didn't hear creaking footsteps around you for 10 minutes.

Hopefully my nerding out on audio shed a little light on how sound effects and sound design can be just as important as composition and the musical score. Obviously Overwatch isn't the only game that pays attention to stuff like this, but it's the first one I've seen do it at this level in a long time. 

And if you don't think that this was interesting, well I hear the game itself is pretty fun too.