In the era of increasingly photo-realistic graphics, audio design is frequently overlooked. But ask any fan of games like PUBG, and they’ll tell you just how important the audio in a game can be. The Game Awards annually recognize the best games for audio design, and here’s who they have nominated.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare – Any fan of the franchise knows just how important the sound design in Call of Duty is. The ability to identify weapons from a distance is pivotal to your survival, and Modern Warfare is masterful at this concept.
Control – Horror games utilize audio design better than almost any other genre. Play through Bioshock on mute and tell me if you think the experience is any good. Control takes a strong vibe from SCP Containment Breach, but it’s the audio design that cranks this title into high gear. Like Outlast before it, it understands that it’s not always what you see that scares you.
Death Stranding – Yes, we’re going to be seeing this title a lot on here. Obviously, lots of attention to detail has been paid to this game’s sound design. It utilizes some original songs to great effect, and also utilizes silence when it needs to. It all works together to make you feel alone and isolated in a vast empty world.
Gears 5 – When I listen to the sound in Gears 5, it takes me back to my LAN days. It was amazing the difference a good squish sound effect could make in games like Duke Nukem or Quake. I think Gears 5 is a great game for reasons other than the sound effects, but they were certainly strong.
Resident Evil 2 Remake – Again, horror games make the best use of audio design in my opinion. RE2 Remake handles its sound effects masterfully, but there’s something lost from the original version. The squelching of a zombie chomping away at human flesh, or the unmistakable sound of dogs running toward you has somehow been lost in the remake.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – This is an interesting title to put on the list. It’s a great game, although maddeningly frustrating. That might be to the detriment of it winning this category. I was too focused on my imminent demise and the prospect of having to walk all the way back for another attempt at the fight to focus on the sound effects.
Who will win – Control. There’s a good chance of Death Stranding sweeping a lot of categories this year, but I don’t think it’ll include this one.
Who should win – Control. Remedy’s ability to make you feel exactly the way they want you to through sound design is masterful and I was very impressed.