Post Magazine

March 2010

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 32 of 47 March 2010 • Post 31 toils in a present-day American su- permarket but is capable of ran- dom violence such as remotely strangling a singing Michael McDon- ald.) The powers that be at Lu- casAr ts look favorably upon Sloan and Yonda's online UGC and O'Far- rell hired Sloan to voice Dar th — quite effectively, with a few filters — for the game. G U I TA R H E R O So, you want to be a rock 'n' roll star. Since 2005 millions like you have picked up their new Fender- shaped controller and worked their way into any number of hit rock bands with help from Activision Blizzard's Guitar Hero and its subse- quent spinoffs and sequels. Hendrix, Bowie, Rush, Ozzy, Ted Nugent, Kiss and Van Halen — there's a lot of guitar heroism to enjoy. Add to that the new Band Hero series featuring popsters such as Taylor Swift among many more. Increasingly today, says Clark Wen, audio director at Neversoft, which makes many GH games, play- ers are hearing their favorite band's original master tracks, remastered for use in the game.The new Guitar Hero 5, out since fall 2009, offers "85 songs by 83 artists." Add to that 2008's Guitar Hero: World Tour (in- corporating vocals, keyboards and drum tracks) and you've got a lot. Neversoft ( has been creating GH games since GH 3. The company specializes in GH games (as do some other GH developers) including character ani- mation. They motion capture cer- tain noteworthy stars such as Ozzy Osbourne (GH: World Tour), who was scanned for a performance of "Crazy Train." Ted Nugent recorded a song just for GH where the player is challenged to trade licks with a mocap Nugent. Taylor Swift had herself mocapped for Band Hero, which has a wider instrumental focus beyond guitar. Wen says Guitar Hero's "Fame," by David Bowie, is a good example of the new offerings that employ original master tracks. "We get all of our stems from the music labels' original recordings," Wen says. With "Fame" (1975) there were no mix notes "so they had to redo the mix to match the original and then print the stems in a format that works with our game." Once Neversoft verifies that the new version matches the original and all the par ts are separated out, "we go through and pick out the parts that we want to assign for each instru- ment. In a song like Fame there's a lot of rhythm guitar [riffing] but there's also some other lead par ts. You have to pick out the parts that are not only faithful to the song but also fun to play.They transfer every- thing over to a digital workstation — generally Pro Tools is what al- most ever ybody is using — and remix it to match the original. We got a breakdown of all the separate instrument stems," Wen says, "drums, bass, vocals and guitars." GH: World Tour features Michael Jackson's "Beat It." "That was just an amazing sounding recording," says Wen."Just being able to get the stems from the label and see all the par ts and work that went into making that song work — it's pretty amazing to have that here at Neversoft." You don't hear "audio always comes last, man," at Neversoft — here it's the exact opposite. "It's kind of backwards," says Wen. "The music forms the basis of the game, so we're the first step in the pro- duction process. It's kind of nice, ac- tually." As such, Wen and his audio staff pick out the high points in songs that they want to play up and communicate that to Neversoft an- imation and effects pros. However, at this stage, the visual staff knows what's expected. "The Spirit of Radio" originally on a 1980 Rush album is an un- usual case — Wen and company used an unreleased live recording. With some older songs the studio multitracks are unavailable. The Guitar Hero "Spirit of Radio" has all the instruments separated out — with just a little bit of bleed — live in concer t. Since GH specializes in emulating live performances some crowd noise is welcome. "It can be helpful," Wen says. "In the game we have a stream dedicated to crowd sounds. We took the crowd sounds from the live recording and put that in the game and it sounds really good."

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Post Magazine - March 2010