Resident Evil Village‘s May release date is almost upon us and among all the hype surrounding fan-favorite giantess Lady Dimitrescu and what the game’s narrative has in store for main protagonist Ethan Winters is an aspect of the game that may be more overlooked than the previous two elements, but is every bit as important: the frightening ambiance set by the Resident Evil Village‘s sound, particularly the Tempest Engine 3D audio.
Tempest 3D audio is Sony’s own proprietary audio format for the PS5, which Sony designed using object-based spatial sound technology, timed audio effects and myriad audio algorithms. For example, before 3D audio, rainfall was a single sound track; with 3D, you’ll be able to hear individual raindrops. Or even footsteps creeping towards you in a terrifying castle, like Resident Evil Village‘s Castle Dimitrescu?
According to Resident Evil Village director Morimasa Sato, the PS5’s sound technology exceeded his expectations and will be “indispensable” in horror games going forward.
“For a game like Resident Evil Village, where exploration is a key pillar of the gameplay, I would say the 3D audio [is the most impressive PS5 tech feature],” Sato said in an recent interview with the Official Playstation Magazine. “You can already experience a taste of this in the Maiden demo: the footsteps of the castle’s residents as they go up the stairs, or the sounds of ‘something’ moving in the dark cellar… The effectiveness of the 3D audio in creating a convincing audio space has exceeded my expectations. In horror, creating the sense of a presence beyond the visual scene on screen is essential, so I think 3D audio will be indispensable in horror games from now on.”
Sato also related how the original Resident Evil was one of the most frightening experiences of his teenage life and how excited he is to recreate that sense of trepidation in a whole new generation of gamers (and probably some old school gamers as well) thanks to the advances in the PS5’s sound tech.
“I was 13 when I played the original Resident Evil,” Sato explained, “and it was so scary that not only did I have to stop playing, but I had to turn the box around so that I wouldn’t see the huge scary eyeball on the cover. I want today’s players to experience the fear I felt back then using all the advances in technology that have happened since the first game was released and having developed Resident Evil Village with that goal in mind, I can safely say that the PS5 hardware is an amazing fit for horror games.”
Another impressive technical feature of the PS5 is how it has nearly eliminated load times, which is particularly useful in the horror genre. “As a game designer, the elimination of loading times is quietly revolutionary,” Sato added. “Those pauses from a few seconds up to a few dozen seconds when players had time to mentally check out of the game and return to reality will go away. I think this will make it more important than ever to design the pacing and tempo of a game so that players can get immersed and play for extended periods without feeling exhausted by the experience.”
Do you think that the PS5’s sound tech in Resident Evil Village will enhance the overall horror experience? Will the Xbox’s 3D audio provide similar immersion? Let us know in the comments.
Resident Evil Village is set to release on May 5th for the PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S platforms.