Dildo Sound Effects & Showtunes: The Music Of Saints Row IV
In case you’ve been sidetracked by a haze of explosions and gritty crimes, Grand Theft Auto isn’t the first great open-world game of 2013, and it might not even be the best. That distinction may well fall to Saints Row IV, an absolutely mesmerizing combination of ridiculous and awesome that is both smart and endlessly fun.
One of the elements that makes Saints Row IV so essential is its soundtrack. As I noted in my review, the game is an excellent example of how to mix licensed music with original compositions seamlessly, as well as how to employ that licensed music for maximum hilarity and punch. In open world play, licensed tracks add emphasis to the super powered exploits of the player character, while during more scripted moments they manage not only to evoke classic movies, but also provide pitch perfect accompaniment for moments ranging from silly, to touching, to truly (and hilariously) epic.
In fact, the way music has been employed in the series is one of the defining features that has helped the series finally step out from under the shadow of GTA and emerge as its own distinct genre. Volition has pulled this off so successfully that even Rockstar seems to have noticed: Grand Theft Auto V contains several moments hinged around music that feel ripped straight out of the Saints Row universe. Good job.
To get a sense of how Volition managed the trick, we spoke to Brandon Bray, project audio designer for Saints Row IV. It’s a fascinating look into how the musical sausage is made (no, not that kind of sausage), and if it demystifies the process, take heart: you are going to learn how to make a giant purple dildo weapon’s sound effects as accurate as possible.
Game Front: Can you tell us about your history with the Saints Row series?
Brandon Bray: I joined on Saints Row: The Third, I was audio designer on that. Actually, funny story: one of my first assignments after I joined the team was doing all the sound effects for the penetrator dildo bat. It was like “Welcome to Volition, we’re going to have some fun. Now I want you to make some dildo impact sounds.”
Game Front: I have to ask, what did you use to make the dildo sounds? Were you doing a Scott Walker thing, like slapping steaks of beef against a wall?
Brandon Bray: (Laughs) Lots of sounds of hitting wet rags, lots of squirt sounds, things like that.
Game Front: Ew.
Brandon Bray: (laughs) I remember the first thing I did, my lead comes in and listens to it and says “you know, I think it needs a little more splat and less slap”.