ArenaNet has made a couple of blog posts this week discussing their approach to audio in Guild Wars 2. I hadn’t been paying too much attention to them (what? I might be a fan, but I don’t devour everything), but this bit in particular caught my eye:
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.
This is going to be awesome for folks who admit to muting games, while still allowing them to use their own music in a meaningful way. I think the closest other MMOs have gotten to this so far is having in-game music players for folks to listen to their own playlists. I have heard that this is a feature of other genres of games that I am not aware of. Either way, this would be a perfect example of how ArenaNet looks outside of the MMO world to bring solutions in and perfect the package. I was really impressed to read this.
Due to the chaotic and noisy sound level at the Alienware Mobile LAN booth where I got to demo GW2 at ComicCon, I could not fully appreciate the use of sound or soundtrack during my playtime, even with the headphones on. It was a shame, too, because I could hear well enough to know that surround sound was well-utilized; I could “hear” that an NPC talking on my right would switch to my left ear if I changed direction; sounds would fade in on one side and out again, and so on. I cannot wait to play GW2 in an environment where I can fully appreciate the way sound is given life in the game world.