Turn the Sound of Junk into Miracles — Foley Artists
Games are an art form, a collision of artistic graphics, creative characters, and, intuitively, dynamic sounds that all immerse you into the world of games.
Pearl Abyss thrives to develop the highest quality of sound. We here meet with Artists Jihun Baek and Si Heon, the “makers of sound” at Pearl Abyss.
Bringing games to life, Foley Artists and Foley Recordists
Jihun: I’m a sound designer, currently working in the audio room developing sound effects for Pearl Abyss games. My area of work stretches into creating sound effects for character dialogue, UI, and game trailers. In sound design, Foley techniques are especially important. These techniques involve us creating specific sounds through the use of props to match whatever is occurring in-game. Abounding sound adds depth to a game and helps draw the player in, hence why people in this field are referred to as ‘Foley Artists’
Si Heon: To introduce myself, I’m also a sound designer and I work in partnership with Foley Artist Jihun. During the Foley sound process, a Foley Recordist, that’s me, directs and records the sounds that Jihun creates. Jihun and I are always shopping at thrift stores in search of bargain tools we can use to inject further quality into our sounds. That could be in the form of a manhole cover, auto parts, scrap metal, or even used clothing. All are precious to us.
From Film to Video Games
Si Heon: Ever since I was young, I wanted to work in sound design. My experiences were in film and advertising production before I joined Pearl Abyss one year ago. During the course of my career, I worked on the recording of the film, “Along with The Gods”, and I really felt a sense of fulfilment as I was gaining professional experience in filmography. However, my true passion was creating sound for games, so I decided to chase after my dream in game audio, which brought me to Pearl Abyss.
Jihun: I was a Foley Artist at my former workplace, a broadcasting company where I created sound for a T.V. show that was exported abroad. But there were limitations to the sound I was able to create. I was working on a post-production team, reproducing, and adding sound to finished film, and the work soon became repetitive. That’s why I wanted to find something new.
I was always interested in fantasy genre films and literature, which is possibly why I was drawn to the games of Pearl Abyss, and especially to the world of “Black Desert.” I wanted to be a part of the team that brought those sounds to life, so I applied to work at Pearl Abyss and can honestly say I am very satisfied with where I am now.
Si Heon: Although they may seem similar, there is a significant difference in the sound created for games and films.
For example, let’s say there’s a scene where a person walks into a room and there’s a fan beside them. In film, we would only hear the sound of that fan once, even if the person walks past it again. In games, players are able to revisit specific locations multiple times though, so the exact same sounds need to be heard each time. However, even repeating sounds must have some variance to add depth.
Jihun: To draw further comparison to the sound work for film and T.V. productions, sound in games is often more flexible but also quite inconsistent. There are many more aspects that must be thought about. Of course, sound is usually embedded into visuals, but there are also sounds that follow the logistics of time and must follow the movement of the players. This is why the work itself is more flexible and worked in real time, as we must consider these diverse aspects of games.
How Pearl Abyss Approaches Sound
Jihun: When I played Black Desert for the first time, I really concentrated on the sound of the game. And I can tell you the quality of the audio was outstanding. I was blown away with the remastered version of Black Desert and how it featured music performed by a German orchestra directed and recorded purely for the game. That’s when I realized that this place was serious about sound. It was mesmerizing.
After I joined the team, I got to learn the secrets behind their excellent sound work while working on a project, such as the steps involved in creating sound, and how they repeatedly work on embedding sound into the game. After being applied to the game engine, the audio is tested and edited numerous times after.
A lot of different elements are considered (characters, monsters, battle, environment, etc.), all for the benefit of the players and to ensure the best possible experience is created for them- that is to say, players enjoy the experience and feel excitement while playing. Few companies invest so much into sound, and I myself was fascinated by the amount of effort that goes into the sound work at Pearl Abyss.
Si Heon: Every single time there was a new launch for Black Desert Mobile, there was new sound. It was invigorating to the ears. There was not a dull moment to be heard, and I was able to see how much time and effort went into creating in-game music and sound effects. It was rewarding being able to read the positive reviews we received regarding the sound effects we worked on.
“We’re All In This Together.”
Jihun: Put simply, audio work is the last step in game development, and we can often be pushed for time. But in this process, a lot of critical thinking is involved, and even when we have little time available to us, critical thinking is always a crucial element.
Si Heon: The work environment at Pearl Abyss reinforces trust and faith. When someone presents an idea, people may have differing ideas. So, we try to perceptualize things by putting ourselves in the others person’s shoes and engage by providing feedback. We can draw more from this, and we are always able to do more when we put our heads together.
A place of Growth — Pearl Abyss
Si Heon: Pearl Abyss cultivates an environment that allows the team to focus purely on sound. Rather than being rushed to produce work, we are given the time to explore creative ideas. It’s a place where ideas can be shared and heard.
It also benefits having the sound designer take charge of the entire process, from creating the sound and embedding it into the game.
Jihun: I am truly satisfied with my job in so many ways. Physically speaking, the food and snacks at work are delicious — they really keep me energized.
Logistically speaking, I’m loaded with opportunities for personal growth, which has really broadened the scope of my career. It’s what keeps me going.