Ricky Haggett, formerly of Honeyslug, approached us to create the sound design for his hybrid turn-based action card game Loot Rascals. The sonic aesthetic of the game is 70s lo fi sci fi! Pretty cool. Lots of tape machines and saturation! He commissioned one of his favourite artists Dave Ferguson (Adventure Time and SwatPaz.net) to create the visual world and one of his favourite composers, Grandmaster Gareth to create the music. In our opinion this is a pretty great way to get the sonic and visual palette for your game!
The main job for Loot Rascals is the creation and implementation of SFX including voice acting for the player character, enemies and friendly NPCs. Gareth’s music paired with Dave’s visuals conjure up a super surreal playful retro world. We ended up using a load of tape machines and old synthesisers to generate content we could use to accompany this aesthetic. Most of the in game sounds have a synthy feel to them which we created using a mixture of analogue synths (mainly Juno 106) and traditional foley which gave us a nice blend of punch and retro vibe. To take the synergy between sound, music and visuals further we pitched a lot of the in game SFX such as card pick ups, ability indicators and UI sounds to fit in key with the music.
For the enemies and NPC we hired some of our favourite voice actors to do a few characters each. The style of Dave’s character design and the game’s general tone made this a very fun experience. We needed vocalisations for each character including attack, defend and death sounds. These would then be affected to bring them into line with the rest of the game’s aesthetic. Simon Ashbery, one of our main voice actors even made up some alien languages for some of his characters such as the Merc and Ventrigoon. Dave also provided the VO for the main NPC in the game, Teapot Head. This was recorded onto a tape machine and played back with manual pitch wobble and some chorus to give it a nice warm vhs feel to match Teapot Head’s visual style.
When it came to the music, we had the pleasure of implementing and adapting music by Grandmaster Gareth. Gareth provided us with stems of his music which we remixed into layers and stings before implementing them across the 5 levels of the game. Each piece had layers of intensity and complexity which could scale up or down depending on what situation the player found themselves in. For example, tense rhythmical layers would begin when the player entered combat; the safe areas of the level featured a paired down, chilled out version of the level’s theme and as time moved on and the player ran out of time, sinister things would begin to happen – mainly super distorted double bass riffs!
This was quite a unique experience for us and it presented a refreshing way of working. As the music was not composed specifically for the game the task of suiting it to the task was challenging. Our absence from the composition stage also allowed us to detach ourselves from the process and be objective about what would work without being precious. Gareth assures us that we did a good job!
Client — Hollow Ponds
Our Roles — Music editing and implementation, sound design
Production Time — 2015-2017
Launch Date — March 2017
Platforms — PS4, Windows