SkewSound Onboard for XO’s Sound Design

It’s been a long process, but we are delighted to announce that we are working with SkewSound for XO.

We interviewed a lot of talented people for the project, and were very humbled at the amount of interest we received. At one point, I was getting up to five e-mails a day from composers and sound designers who wanted to work with us on the game – and I wrote a detailed article about that process on Gamasutra.

I met Nick, the co-founder of SkewSound, at the airport on my way to GDC this year. I overheard him telling someone about the local gaming community PIGSquad, and introduced myself (as we frequent PIGSquad events too.) We barely kept in touch, but I had his card set aside as a potential audio contact for months.

Corey (Jumpdrive) and Nick (SkewSound)

When I reached out again to talk about sound design, Nick brought up the idea of doing an audio replacement video to some in-game footage. We happened to have gameplay video on hand from submitting XO to a few expos and sent that over. A week later Nick and the guys at SkewSound delivered us a video, right on time.

I remember knowing that they were our guys before I finished watching the video. In fact, I think as soon as I heard the laser sound, I was sold. Here’s how Dan Crislip (another co-founder) described created the effect:

When brainstorming the laser blasts, we obviously went for the synthesizers first; primarily, Native Instruments Massive. With a solid tonal foundation, we added textural layers to build the sound. During the initial shot, we added a reversed explosion as a quick build-up. For the duration of the beam, a fire sample was time-stretched to the point of digital artifacting, giving it a real-world yet digitized feel. A concert bass drum beefed up the impact with a decent rumble during the sound, and a layer of electrical sparks gave it the energy it needed. Lastly, sine sweeps were added to give it a unique, retro tone: an ultra high sweep up to the start, and an ultra low sweep to the end.”

SkewSound was extremely thorough with their work. They made full use of frequencies, provided music that fit with the theme (which we removed from the Youtube video above, since it’s unlicensed) and even went to the trouble of panning the audio with camera movement.

We’re very excited to have them working with our team for XO, and we can’t wait to show more of what they come up with.   For the latest updates (including our upcoming Kickstarter announcement!) you can sign up for our newsletter here.

– Corey Warning