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3rd August 2019
Ninth Developer Diary Returns To Control's Audio
[Plus Transcript]

Yesterday 505Games and Remedy published their ninth Control Developer Diary and the second part of their look into the audio, this time focusing instruments which went into creating the game's unique soundtrack.

Returning in the hot seat in this latest episode is Ville Sorsa (Senior Sound Designer), Petri Alanko (Composer) and Martin Stig Andersen (Composer).




In case you missed it: You can catch up on all the developer diaries released so far. There have already been almost forty-five minutes worth of behind the scenes content ranging from story to gameplay, the location and characters. Check them out below:

Episode #1: Introducing the Story
Episode #2: Introducing the Gameplay
Episode #3: The Oldest House
Episode #4: Introducing Jesse Faden
Episode #5: The Key Players, Directors Old and New
Episode #6: Dynamic Gameplay and Reactive Environments
Episode #7: Behind the Sounds


Episode 9: "Making Sweet Music" Transcript:

Ville Sorsa [VS]: So very early on in the production of Control, it was very evident that Control was going to be very a weird-sounding game.

Petri Alanko [PA]: And the fear that is constantly, somehow present here. As one of the- well, it’s was and still is one of my main fuels so to say.

Martin Stig Andersen [MSA]: Great, like, pretty free hands working with the music. Almost being told that it shouldn’t sound like a triple AAA game, that the studio really wanted to come up with something new. A brilliant opportunity to work with all the sources.

VS: There are a lot of new production methods that we used to create the sounds for this game. For example, the ultrasonic microphone, it’s basically a special microphone that records content beyond human hearing, and the kind of magic that happens with that microphone is that when you pitch that content down a few octaves. You suddenly start to hear all these very, very high pitched audio content that you will never, never hear in your life. The biggest aspect we used that microphone, is the boss fights; there’s a lot of mass involved in those bosses. So the way you get that mass is that you use human voice and then you just pitch it down a lot. And then you get these super cool, low, rich sounds that sound like a very exciting boss.

MSA: You see concrete being twisted, and metal, and cannot be made in, and what would that sound like? So we went to record with, something called a daxophone, it’s like a wood blade and a tripod, and then you bow it and it makes this kind of squeak sound. Again you get that, kind of, natural-sounding quality, and of course, working in the music, we were allowed to go into the abstract field a bit. So it doesn’t really have to represent what’s going on, but at the same time, it’s really nice to have those associations to the materials that I faked it, by Hiss.

PA: The correlations between the brutalist concrete walls, and then the screeching sound of the baddies, is somehow appealing to me. I find it strangely beautiful… do I need to see a doctor because of this? I don’t know

VS: So, the modular synthesiser is basically an empty frame that can be filled with different kinds of modules. You choose your tools and utility tools and then you put them in a box and then that could be operated by a sound designer in order to create new sounds. When it comes to Control, one of the most exciting sound sources for this game has most definitely been the Microphonic Soundbox, which is the electro-acoustic instrument, specifically designed for Sound Designers, and together with modular synthesisers, it yielded the most weirdest sounds.

MSA: We did some really cool experiments with an old EMT plate reader. It’s like a pre-digital reverb, so it’s like a big metal plate, as big as an upright piano and weighs, like, one hundred and eight kilos and really big. So I was playing with it with rubber mallets, and I could scrap on it so it made this kind of fast attack “whoosh” and it sounds like a deep moan. That’s really nice.

PA:
Did you try to put your finger into the so-called tone or not, in order to play?

MSA: No, I wasn’t actually playing on the metal sheet itself it was the wooden case.

PA: Ahh, okay yeah! By the way, the best I used so far was a burnt piano, or not the whole piano but the burnt sound hub of a piano. And that’s a totally (music blocks out interview, but sounds like "unearthed") story because it’s actually the remnant for something I did for Quantum Break but I felt it still had some life in it. I thought “put an electric wire into the wall and clip” or actually first clip off the other end and THEN put the wire into the wall. And then gently touch the piano string when it’s connected to the piano sound hub. That’s an interesting thing but it’s also, easily, the most dangerous thing I’ve ever done.

VS: At some point, I managed to find this. This right here is an Aztec Death Whistle, and they used this to scare off the enemy just prior to the fight that was about to ensue. And it sounds crazy and this is used in so many places in the game. So this is how it sounds…. [blows into whistle]. And that is an Aztec Death Whistle.

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