NFL Blitz Audio
Hi, I’m Brad Lippman, Audio Designer for NFL Blitz, here today to talk about Commentary, Sound Design and Music in NFL Blitz. Working with the Audio Director, Jesse James Allen we created the next gen version of audio for NFL Blitz.
First I am going to talk about the commentary in the game. The talent was amazing to work with. We have Tim Kitzrow for the Play by Play and Brian Haley for the Color Commentary. Tim Kitzrow is a legend in the industry; although he has worked on countless classic pinball and arcade machines he is most famous for being the "Boomshakalaka guy" in NBA JAM. Finding the Color Commentator was a little more difficult. There was no one that was clearly associated with being the Color Commentator in Blitz so we had to find a person that could bring the comic relief of Blitz into this generation of consoles. After many auditions and seeing some real talented individuals we went with actor/comedian/writer Brian Haley. Brian has been in a ton of movies with an acting career that spans over multiple decades.
Tim and Brian were friends and had natural chemistry; working together they wrote the entire Blitz commentary script. We had the luxury of recording both commentators at the same time. This allowed them to improv and feed off each other’s energy while recording, which lead to some really funny moments that you will hear while you play.
Directing and recording the talent was only half the job to get great commentary into NFL Blitz. The other part was designing the logic for when the commentary lines fire off. A commentary line can be funny but if you hear it every game or every play it can start to get annoying and take away from your enjoyment of the game. On the other end if you make the memorable lines fire off too rare, no one will enjoy them and the game will be too quiet. We had to find a good balance of making sure there was funny commentary and allowing there to be times of silence or as I like to call it "letting the commentator’s breathe".
While the commentators keep you informed and laughing, the music sets the mood and tone. The style of the music for NFL Blitz is based on a modern take of the aggressive soundtrack of the previous Blitz titles. We wanted the modern day high energy sound while trying to avoid cliché. The soundtrack ended up being a combination of NU School rock and Dubstep. We wanted a Blitz Theme so we worked with a cutting edge Dubstep composer named Josh Money who is currently sharing the Beatport.com Top Ten with other big names like Skrillex and Nero.
From a sound design perspective, Jesse did a six month overhaul on sound design; over 1,600 original audio elements were blended together to create the over-the-top tackles, power ups, special moves and user interface. In Blitz, if it is a big move it has a bass blasting Hollywood style sound assigned to it; for instance, the tackle sounds were combinations of vocal grunts from mixed martial arts fighters blended with Foley of baseball bats slamming into football pads and a small sprinkling of military munitions for extra pop.
Crowd sounds were recorded in 5.1 in real stadiums from real games in 2011. We wanted to really immerse the players in a football experience in a cinematic fashion.
The mix is also custom-tailored for a home theater experience. Many elements panned out in full surround sound and we make good use of those sub-frequencies, too. Everything from the pregame Jet Flybys (created by DICE Sound Designer Ben Minto working on Battlefield), the roar of a 100,000 fans, commentary that will leave you in stitches and the hardest hitting football hits ever is in this Blitz. It’s loud, it’s over-the-top and it’s all in the game.