Bronze: Battlefield 4 by DICE
There isn't much to say here! The Battlefield games have always had some of the best sound design in the business and the bar was raised in a big way when the original Battlefield: Bad Company was released back in 2008. Since then with the release of Bad Company 2, Battlefield 3 and now Battlefield 4, not an awful lot has changed but that doesn't change the fact that all of these games just sound incredible. Firearms and explosions have never sounded so impactful and harrowing and when playing this game at loud volume, the amazing sound design immerses you into the game in a way that many games don't. It's a shame it feels like the rest of the first-person shooter genre can't seem to keep up!
- Ross Hartley
Silver: Grand Theft Auto V by Rockstar North
As I mentioned in the best graphics technical article, Grand Theft Auto V is a massive game with an incredible amount of graphical detail, considering how big the overall game world is. The sound design throughout GTA V is similarly exquisitely produced from top to bottom. GTA V gets the stuff that a lot of games get right like gun shots, car engine noises and some really booming explosions but what really makes GTA V special is just the sheer amount of sound used throughout the game to fool you into believing than Los Santos is a real place. The amount of random pedestrian dialogue in the game is staggering, for instance. I can hear what you are thinking. "You are just rewarding this game the silver award because it has so much sound." That is not true. Yes, GTA V has an awful lot of sound but it is all produced to a ridiculously high standard. It's all small, almost arbitrary things like the distant sound of vehicles passing by or the nearby sound of a warthog grunting. The sound is so amazing that you could just walk around all day and soak in the ambiance, in a way that feels eerily similar to real life.
- Ross Hartley
Gold: 140 by Jeppe Carlsen
There are a lot of games, especially platformers, where the gameplay adds to the music, making cute little chimes and bleeps when the platforming man jumps and other such nonsense. 140 is one of the few games where the music design and gameplay feel entirely dependent on each other. The levels move and change with the beat of the music, with different instruments and sounds being tied to certain platforming obstacles. It's not impossible to complete 140 without paying attention to the music, but to truly succeed at the game it is. This required me to be synced up with the music in ways that I haven't before in a game. The music is 140 is excellent, but after playing through it in such an intimate way I don't think could listen to it separate from the game. The acts of listening to 140 and playing 140 are intricately tied together, and I can't imagine playing one without the other. That's the best form of sound design that I can ever think of.
- Isaac Wagner