Friday 5 August 2011

We dance when e'er we're able.

“Finally, no matter how fantastic a game’s music is, when you hear the same music for the thousandth time, you start wanting to change things up a bit. Many players will simply turn the game music off and play their own collections. The problem is that an external music player has no context as to what’s going on in-game. Guild Wars 2 will offer a solution for this as well. We’re giving players the option of choosing external music playlists that the game’s audio engine will use as a replacement for the default in-game music. Players can choose different playlists for background ambience and battle music, for instance. Additionally, when appropriate, such as during cinematics, the game can revert back to in-game music temporarily to give the best possible cinematic experience, then resume the custom playlist when it’s done.”

ArenaNet continue their series of audio design diaries with an interesting piece detailing some of the new features they’ll be adding to the audio system for Guild Wars 2.

As a player of MMOs who generally turns the sound off after a while, I have to say that I’m quite excited at the prospect of being able to tweak the music score when the mood takes me. Jeremy Soule’s soundtracks are always a delight, but still, there are nevertheless going to be days when you just feel the urge to listen to something a bit different.

It’s fun that (they claim) you can pick your own selection of ambient and battle music to be played at the appropriate time determined by the game system, and I’m already considering the excellent possibilities that such a system would allow: battle music set to Yakety Sax, the Ying Tong Song or the The Tra La La Song? How about a hook for when you inevitably run away from combat or attempt to avoid crap mobstacles, for which there can only be one song to bravely throw-in the sponge to. Then there’s the possibility to switch things up a bit, having songs such as Iron Maiden’s Run for the Hills as ambient music, while Eine kleine Nachtmusik tentatively tinkles into your ears whenever an epic battle breaks out.

Once again ArenaNet are making all the right noises, where the overarching impression I take away from their media presentations is one of ‘careful consideration of the issues facing players of MMOs’; it’s encouraging, yet my enthusiasm still can’t help but be tempered by the fact that we’ve heard asseverations like these in the MMO space before, where the resultant game did not seem to deliver anything like the promises of its promoters.

In war we’re tough and able,
Quite indefatigable.
Between our quests we sequin vests and impersonate Clark Gable.

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