Blizzard annoyed flies in a real ghost town to get sounds for Junkertown

Forget it, Winston. It's Junkertown

Overwatch [official site] aka the Shooter You Glance At Furtively, is getting its new Junkertown map next week and Blizzard have been showing it off some more in a trailer. You get some snippets of lore and backstory but it’s far more interesting to see the studio’s sound team, who visited a real ghost town to collect the creaking of a dilapidated cattle gate and the grinding noise from a rusty old crank, among other sound effects. Such as flies landing on the microphone. Watch below.

Apart from footage of sound guys antagonising floorboards and exploiting flies for their labour, the mentions of Junk Queen are interesting. Blizzard have a habit of setting up new heroes long before any real appearance. Doomfist, for instance, was in posters and surrounding story guff since the game’s release and eventually became a playable character. Similarly, Junk Queen now has her own posters and art appearing in-game, whereas she previously existed only as a voice. When I asked about Her Majesty at Gamescom, the developers avoided saying anything concrete. But I’ll eat my novelty Pharah helmet if they don’t make her a hero at some point.

Divine right of Junk Queens

The map itself has been on the Public Test Realm for the past two weeks (the magical server where they trial new heroes and maps shortly before release) so it might be familiar to a lot of folks already. But it’s getting its proper release next Tuesday, September 19.

The almost-too-colourful hero shooter has been mixing things up recently – they’ve added a Deathmatch mode and big changes are due for Mercy, one of its principal healers (Kotaku have an interesting discussion about this on their most recent Fave This podcast but shhhh don’t tell the others at RPS I’ve given that to you). Since I last played they’ve added two new characters and a moon map. I’m almost afraid to go back.

18 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    I remember when Overwatch was the new hot thing and fanart and discussion and excitement was everywhere.

    Now I never hear about it on the internet in general, and playing it feels kinda dry.

    I dunno. It’s weird.

    • Shirsh says:

      I never played it, but see quite a lot of new fanart (doodles, pixelart) in a twitter feed everyday, as if it’s still new.

    • Premium User Badge

      FeloniousMonk says:

      I didn’t play Overwatch at all until about two months ago, and at least from my perspective it is very much alive. There are new articles and YouTube videos coming out constantly, the dissection of the meta is very much a thing, and to say the servers are “active” is probably a Blizzard/Activision scale understatement. I don’t know what it was like at launch – I’ve heard buggy, unbalanced and laggy – but they seem to have figured out how to create a consistently competitive, balanced gaming experience which (and this is where I come in) is welcoming to noobs and doesn’t completely stigmatize people who really aren’t great at FPS.

      The community is only medium toxic, though toxicity spikes badly in competitive play.

      I like it, and I’ve never liked a MP FPS in my life.

      • Uberwolfe says:

        I played from launch and it IMO was very clean. I didn’t experience any lag or bugs, and I felt the balance was pretty good… personally I think the balance is worse today than it was at launch…

        • Xzi says:

          That’s kinda what I gather as well, though I haven’t played it very recently. Only took three new characters for balance to start sucking.

  2. Bullfrog says:

    Going to the trouble of getting authentic sound effects is great (verisimilitude I think is the word, although really I just wanted to type that out) but it seems a tad unnecessary. I mean, would anyone have minded or indeed noticed had they simply used a voiceover artist for the flies? It’s been a while since The Fly, that guy can’t have got a lot of work lately and he probably has several trillion kids to feed by now.

  3. Zorgulon says:

    @Drib

    I guess this is inevitable? The lustre wears off, and bigger, plunkier things come along and grip the popular imagination.

    FWIW I still regularly play and really appreciate the new content. It still feels really good to play. I guess the mainstream hype has settled into more dedicated community, but that community still seems to be pretty healthy.

  4. cpt_freakout says:

    The Overwatch sound design is some of the best in games I’ve ever heard, and this video explains why – these guys are no strangers to field recordings and perhaps doing away with sound libraries.

    • Premium User Badge

      particlese says:

      Ah, sound libraries: making movies and TV sound like Doom/Deus Ex since 1993/2000.

      I haven’t listened to Overwatch aside from the odd frantic YouTube clip, but it can be pretty great when creators of these things find or manufacture their own sounds, yeah. Devil Daggers is one of my favorites in that department.

    • Excors says:

      Recently someone noticed that if you extract the sound effect for Tracer’s “recall” ability (which restores her position and health from 3 seconds ago), play it backwards and adjust the speed carefully, you get something that sounds like nearly-recognisable lyrics. Sadly link to motherboard.vice.com investigated and found that it was actually just based on samples from a sound library, not a field recording of a real time traveller.

  5. mepto says:

    Is this really all these mega publishers have to do to get press attention nowadays, release a new MP map? These companies have billions in money, worth, assets, resources, whatever, and you’re giving them free advertisement space with stuff like this for the little effort it takes to create a new MAP? Never mind that blizzard is basically a company that allows its customers to gamble freely and should be deemed illegal. You’ve just given a vegas strip casino your net traffic and customer attention. For putting up a few new tables.

    • Frank says:

      Too bad it’s about sound design in games and not just a map.

      Better luck next time.

    • AngoraFish says:

      The amount of coverage a game gets tends to be directly proportional to the number of players a game has… at least until the game has been around for long enough for every single person in the universe to have become thoroughly sick of hearing about it (eg WoW, Minecraft).

    • po says:

      He’s got a point, although it’s not entirely relevant here.

      They make just one map for PvP and the whole of the game’s community goes nuts.

      I remember when we could make our own maps for games, and while overall the quality would be all over the place, the official maps would still be outnumbered by community made ones that outdid them in quality.

      Many developers are given far too much credit for what amateur modders are perfectly capable of doing, if only they were given the chance.

  6. Sin Vega says:

    I have a lot of respect for this because the sheer number of games and especially tv and film directors who use the exact same stock sound effects as a thousand other things over the last 20 years is astounding. For some things it’s fair enough, but things like opening a door or someone screaming are hardly restricted to big budget productions. The average folio artist on any radio drama puts even some multi-million directors to shame.

    Also if you put the wilhelm scream in your work you are a bad person and I laothe you.

  7. April March says:

    Overwatch, The Shooter That Is That Woman Walking Past In That One Meme

  8. xfstef says:

    Am I just getting really old or was that video presentation a complete cringe fest?

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