Under the Hood: Anatomy of Sound Design

Patch 5.2: The Thunder King brought with it not only new and exotic locations to visit (if you don’t mind a few storms) but a slew of new creatures. One of these creatures is the Zandalari Battlesaur whose roar can shake even the most stalwart hero. But, what exactly goes into crafting a voice for such a creature? The World of Warcraft Sound team was able to pop the hood and give us a look at the anatomy of the sound design within.

There are subtleties to sound design that aren’t always evident at first listen. In this case, the Zandalari Battlesaur’s roar consists of several layers of sound that are integrated into one unified voice. These layers include:

A voice actor : We pulled in some of the best voice talent in the industry who excel in making creature sounds. In this case, we were able to bring in Jon Olson who also did the non-Voice Over sounds for sha and hozen mobs. What you hear is an edit of two takes that form a base layer of performance and sound that other layers and effects are crafted around.
Bear : Early last year, senior Sound Designer Chris Kowalski took his recording gear and his courage to Big Bear to gather some scary up-close source material from several of the wild animals at Predators in Action. The bear recordings from that visit were used to add size and embellish some of what the actor did.
Tiger : While at Predators in Action, Chris was also given the opportunity to record the tiger that was used in the movie Gladiator. This resulted in a ton of great material, including a lot of big cat chest rumbles and roars you may hear mixed into several creatures across Pandaria.
Final Sound : The final mix is comprised of all the layers above along with additional processing and mastering that make it fit within the world. 

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