MPSE Wavelength

Winter 2022

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m ot ion p ictu re s o u n d e d i to r s I 51 ERIC MARKS MPSE: I am joined today by three current and former Naughty Dog audio directors, Bruce Swanson, Phillip Kovats, and Robert Krekel. My first question for each of you, when you all begin work on a new title, what are your biggest goals in terms of sound? ROBERT KREKEL, NAUGHTY DOG AUDIO DIRECTOR (2017-2021): At Naughty Dog, story and supporting the story are always paramount. The technology comes about because we're trying to do things to better support the story. It's figuring out what those story beats are, where those important moments are, and finding out what we need to build to support those things. PHILLIP KOVATS, NAUGHTY DOG AUDIO DIRECTOR (2011-2017): Naughty Dog has a unique approach to this. Part of that is the flat structure that they have, and they expect you to collaborate and speak up for what you need as well. A lot of times, technology influences creativity, but really, creativity influences technology. If we need a system to work a certain way for us to give us better storytelling moments, or a more elegant way of playing a sound that made sense in a behavioristic point of view, we could talk to designers or programmers easily to help us create something to prove out a concept. It was always an open approach. It wasn't like, "Oh, we can't do this because XYZ," it was always like, "Hmm, how can we figure this out?" Jonathan Lanier is a significant link in the chain that links all three of us to success at Naughty Dog. I think he's now the longest hired programmer they've had at the company, and he's the audio programmer. He is a mad genius when it comes to figuring out how we can approach things and coming up with systems, because he's also an audio/videophile. Ellie and Joel make a one-of-a-kind team in The Last of Us.

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