PlatinumGames is a game developer company well received by gamers worldwide, having released many popular game titles such as Bayonetta, Madworld, Vanquish, Anarchy Reigns, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, The Wonderful 101, Bayonetta 2.
After a visit to the headquarters of PlatinumGames (Osaka, Japan), Hiroshi Yamaguchi (lead music composer) and Masato Shindo (sound designer), two of the main creators who primarily contribute the music and sound effects to their games, revealed their way of producing game audio using Nuendo 7 and the Nuendo Expansion Kit.
Nuendo is the ideal choice for Cubase users who want to extend their service offer beyond music production.
A closer look into their latest music and sound effects production system
What was your first impression when you switched to Nuendo and NEK?
Hiroshi: To be honest, I was a bit nervous about changing my DAW software, but as soon as I started using Nuendo and the NEK, I was confident that I could still do everything as before, without losing anything. The system offers everything I was used to do with Cubase. Even the GUI looks familiar to me. Indeed, my anxious feelings were unnecessary.
Masato: I was using Nuendo 6.5 before Nuendo 7. When I switched to Nuendo 6.5, there were few places in Nuendo that needed getting used to, but I didn’t find any inconvenience in Nuendo 7 and its NEK. I’m now encouraging other creators in the same sound effects team to switch to Nuendo!
Do you think that PlatinumGames will choose Nuendo 7 as the standard DAW in regard to game audio production?
Hiroshi: I would like to standardize the system within the company. There will be a huge necessity of project exchangeability, compatibility, stability and working efficiency… even more than today. In addition, I want to highlight that in case you’re a Cubase user, you can switch to Nuendo with minimum effort. You don’t have to spend the time to get used to a new DAW. It’s a big advantage.
Now that the entire team works with Nuendo we have gained flawless compatibility and improved operational efficiency.
— Hiroshi Yamaguchi
Wwise integration ushers in next-generation workflow
What is the real benefit of using Nuendo 7 and the NEK in your game audio production environment?
Hiroshi: The biggest benefit, of course, is that the Cubase Pro 8 capabilities I use in my music production process like professional scoring, expression maps / note expression are still there. The arranger track and render-in-place offer us new possibilities when we need to rearrange a song, or when we need to reproduce a scene in the game.
Masato: The impression I get from Nuendo 7 is very good. It has many new features that creators always wanted, such as VCA faders, render-in-place, the Plug-in Manager and work space improvements, yet it didn’t give a bad side effect for operating. Especially the combination of sound effect production and render-in-place are a perfect match! I actually never even dreamt about a Nuendo and Wwise integration. Personally, the Wwise integration is the biggest impact.
What is the role of Wwise in game audio production?
Hiroshi: Wwise is a software product categorized as a middleware developed and delivered by Audiokinetic. It’s a pipeline solution specially designed for game audio production. Wwise delivers a wide range of functions and merits, for instance sound production and processing functions inside a program. Its best merit is that such functions like sound embedding process and content management can be performed more creatively by the sound creator, whereas these processes were used to be done by programmers. It opens up more possibilities for us. Wwise is indispensable for game audio production studio in PlatinumGames!
What do you think about the merit of Game Audio Connect function?
Masato: We have to produce hundreds, if not thousands of sound effect files for one game, and these files should be properly managed. With Nuendo 6.5, we still imported individual sound data to Wwise after exporting these files separately from Nuendo and organizing them. We repeated this workflow until the end of the production. We used to spend a lot of time with these tasks. Now that Nuendo 7 includes Wwise, simple file drag and drop expedites this workflow owing to the seamless integration of the two platforms! When we need to modify sound data, we can jump to the right position inside a Nuendo project by using the “Edit in Nuendo” function in Wwise. This has drastically sped up our workflow.
Hiroshi: Game Audio Connect is the long-awaited feature for people like us who produce sound for games. The integration options currently available are very intuitive and simple. I must say that this is a very good starting point, and I’m very excited to see how this integration will continue to improve after receiving feedback from the market.
Thanks to the Wwise integration we can now focus more on our creative work and less on routine tasks.
— Masato Shindo
Do you have a favorite Nuendo/Cubase function (new or standard)? And what is your favorite plug-in (internal or third-party)?
Hiroshi: I like the VCA faders because I can easily use them in music production without having to make new buses or groups as we used to do before. It’s very convenient especially for adding automation data to string sections. I really love the new Multiband Envelope Shaper. I choose this processor for mastering but also for sound treatment per part. And I want to mention Magneto 2 as well: I am so happy it came back! I like the processor because it gives a unique texture to sound material no matter what the genre.
Masato: I use Quadrafuzz v2 a lot when I want to make it sound dirty because the sound in modern games is occasionally too clean. I also like Anymix Pro when I want a sound effect to be virtually three-dimensional. I use Audio Ease Altiverb as well as Speakerphone when I want to add more reality to the sound.
What motivated you to choose Nuendo? What do you expect from Nuendo in the future?
Hiroshi: Only Nuendo can provide a lot of audio post-production features and expandability, and full-fledged music production tools. Cubase users won’t feel strange if they switch to Nuendo. I expect that Nuendo will expand its share, not only in our sound team but also in the entire game audio production market. I have good hope that Nuendo will continue to improve on controllability together with more integration features in Game Audio Connect, such as event generator or audio-fade process automation.
Masato: I only found advantages when I switched my DAW from Cubase to Nuendo. Nuendo has more plug-ins, video synchronization and more. Game Audio Connect is a huge plus in our market. I believe I can expect a lot of improvements in Game Audio Connect, and I feel there are unlimited possibilities there.