Okay, at this point I have to briefly explain why Unpacking blew me away: Before I came to GameStar, I studied game design. In other words: I spent hours in Unity and the Unreal Engine in order to correctly assign models, textures, lights and sounds. And I’ve failed many times. Someday my main character made loud cow noises with every step. I almost left it that way.
And suddenly I come across the new Steam favorite Unpacking. It has an amazing 14,000 different sounds … just for putting things down. Please what? I fall off the chair and make an acoustically correct noise when I hit my parquet floor. And I ask myself: what’s behind this strange game and have the developers gone mad?
Every surface sounds different
Whether we put a plate, a plush duck or a soccer ball somewhere – it all sounds different in reality. And whether the plush duck is placed on a wooden table, a fluffy duvet or a leather couch makes a huge difference. A fact that games tend to ignore, especially if there is no large AAA studio behind it. Often everything has the same generic “pat” sound and we just have to believe that toilet rolls sound like that.
But is in unpacking putting things down is almost all the fun – which is why the small team has put a huge amount of effort into the mechanics. In Unpacking, we clear out moving boxes and find the perfect place for each item while learning about the life of the person who owns the belongings.
Unpacking: Unpacking simulator shows impressive audio design in the trailer
Unpacking was released on November 2nd on PC, consoles and in Game Pass and has already won countless indie prizes. Not 14,000, but an impressive number. Unpacking has 87 percent positive reviews on Steam, and the game is slowly building an enthusiastic fan base on Twitter. Especially the news about the sheer mass of sounds that were recorded for the game are attracting attention. The senior sound designer Francesco Del Pia, who worked on games like Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, horrified and posted an excerpt from the game with the words “Please what?”
Link to Twitter content
Unpacking audio designer Jeff van Dyck responded promptly and confirmed that there were 14,000 different sounds in the game. In addition, a complex folder hierarchy would have been necessary to assign the corresponding sounds to the correct objects.
If you want to learn more about sound design in games, then we recommend you to click on our podcast on the subject:
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Podcast: Audiodesign – Experts explain how to find the right tone
From my own experience I can say that assigning and naming 14,000 sound files would haunt me in my nightmares for years, which is why I would like to take this opportunity to express my respect to the developers Witch Beam. I hope you are well.