CYBERPUNK 2077 – SOUND
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Some good news from Audio: Now you can listen to our stories.
We do believe SOUND itself needs more attention from the creatives of all industries. That is why we have the pleasure to introduce one of our sound design pieces created for the Cyberpunk 2077 cinematic trailer by Goodbye Kansas Studios.
HOW IT ALL
In early 2013, Juice has created the soundtrack and sound design for the cinematic trailer for Cyberpunk 2077. The trailer went to achieve one of the highest ratings on YouTube. But it was just the beginning…
We have been working with CD PROJEKT RED ever since. Each project made tougher demands on our sound team but delivered higher rewards. After all, we were working on one of the most anticipated video games the world has ever known. It was only to be expected.
Juice was one of the lucky few mortals who got called in during the early stages of development. This meant we had to craft our initial concepts and soundscapes based on rough animatics and concept designs—still in the early process of approvals—and lots of imagination. Cyberpunk weapons hover cars, gritty street ambiance, and intense firefights had to be dreamt up based on that early stage immersion.
As is the case with films created entirely in CG, the music, soundscape, and sound effects had to be developed from scratch. For this reason, we feel pretty good about claiming 50% of the success of the trailer! In designing the unique sound signature, we had to take every character, every movement, every place into consideration. We had to account for height, distance, and depth based on rudimentary animatics. The challenge wasn’t new for Juice that is accustomed to working with our VFX arm on an irregular basis. But in this case, it was made twice as hard since Cyberpunk combines real-world sounds players are familiar with—from footsteps to raindrops, heavy breathing, and metal shells hitting the floor—with the futuristic sounds of the Cyberpunk world which featured hovercar engines, mechatronic implants, and various gadgetry.
The team had to build and record many sounds in our studio with painstaking accuracy. To put the attention to detail in perspective, it took us over 3 days to capture the right swoosh of the leather jacket worn by the main character in the cinematic. But more than adding an aural dimension to the action, the goal of the sound design was to punctuate the story and add rhythm and movement that propelled the character forward in a spectacular fashion. That’s the true power of sound.
THE FINAL STRETCH
As the launch date approached, we started receiving more visually advanced versions of the video which allowed us to iterate on the initial concept. We worked to adjust the aesthetics of individual sound effects and in some cases completely replace certain sounds to better meet the final picture. This grueling phase required every bit of flexibility and grit to complete.
An equally important aspect of the production is the mixing stage. It’s where the sound work as a whole is brought together and music, synchronous and asynchronous sound effects, dialogue, and atmospheric sounds are manually controlled for volume and flavor. Specifically, with dialogue, voice actors are typically recorded in a separate studio with neutral acoustics. This requires spatial adaptation of the audio so on-screen characters sound as if they are truly talking to one another from the appropriate angles and sound different depending on whether they are in a car, a hotel room, a back alley, or an open field. Careful correction and specific use of reverbs has allowed us to accurately place the voices of all the Cyberpunk characters.
If you’re not a sound person, we cannot stress the importance of mix enough. Visually speaking, it makes the difference between looking at a screen with white noise and actual images placed in space. The combination of all the sound elements and the decisions of which element should be brought to the forefront at any given moment can make or break a scene. While our eyes can take in a lot of information and do a pretty good job at separating the elements in a scene, our ears need more help to perceive the right emotions intended by the director.
The trailer was received accolades at E3 in 2019. A surprise appearance by Keanu Reeves delivered beautifully unexpected shock value with views on YouTube reaching millions in a matter of weeks.
Our sound design won Gold in Clio Entertainment Awards (category: Games: Audio/Visual Technique), and in Music & Sound Awards for “Best Sound Design in Gaming Trailers” category.
Subsequent awards followed in many other prestigious festivals.
Client: CD PROJEKT RED
Production & Postproduction: Goodbye Kansas Studios
Sound Studio: Juice
Producer: Sylwia Szczepankiewicz
Sound Director / Head of Sound FX: Kuba Pietrzak
Sound FX: Michał “Jurgen” Jaroszewicz, Michał Wróblewski, Wojciech Sławacki
“Often the decisions made in conjunction between the CG artist and production specialist, benefit client, and agency, while still delivering on the very tight deadline. And as we all know in today’s film and commercial world, times are not extending but constantly shrinking. Whatever solutions we might have to accommodate that – especially if they are in sync with cost-saving, we believe them to be the future of approach to the motion picture.”Adam Tunikowski, the CEO and co-Founder of Juice.