Halo 5 Sound Design (Ambience)

Many of Halo 4’s maps, while visually pleasing, seemed to lack a certain quality to them that really cemented their believability: ambience. Wind, animals, distant noises, so many things were absent. To me, when a map is not believable, it isn’t interesting as a place. Video games are experiences, and well made ambience is part of what makes those experiences feel complete. I think that the original Halo games did ambience very well. Here’s an example from CE. That’s right, the oldest game in the Halo series does better ambience than the latest release. Listening to the linked audio clip, I couldn’t help but notice that it was relatively simple; it’s just a recording of nature, but it’s because it’s a recording of the world we live in and the sounds we’re familiar with, it influences me to believe that Blood Gulch could be a tangible place somewhere, that it really exists despite the rather outdated visual representation. A lot of Halo 4’s maps felt empty and devoid of life, dead if you will, because the subtle detail of ambience had been removed or at least stripped down. While beautiful, they didn’t feel real and I couldn’t connect with them. This is something I hope that will be changed for Halo 5.

All those birds living in the one tree on the map.

Waterworks. That is my suggestion for proper ambiance. Go in solo and tell me that map doesn’t make your skin crawl.

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> Waterworks. That is my suggestion for proper ambiance. Go in solo and tell me that map doesn’t make your skin crawl.

343 Guilty Spark has some creepy ambience as well, in the jungle and inside the facility. One of my favourites is Longshore, because of the stunning sunset. Same with Standoff. I want to live in some of these maps.