Voicing the Multiverse

How King’s audio team lent their voices to Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!

by Libby Beacham on Jul 12, 2021

One of the most memorable aspects of the Crash Bandicoot franchise is the incredible soundscape. Whether it’s the legendary title track, the background music that immerses you in the levels, or the death sound effects, the audio in the game is immediately recognizable as a Crash Bandicoot title.

Creating Crash Bandicoot: On the Run! allowed King to dip into the phenomenal history of Crash Bandicoot sounds, with the familiar friends and enemies returning in all their glory. But what about the new characters?

In the midst of a pandemic, King’s audio team — from their homes, and using their own technology — lent their voices to the latest and greatest characters to join the Crash Bandicoot multiverse and created the personalities of the villains that you see in-game today.

We chatted with some of the team members to learn more about their process for recording voice-overs of characters - from the infamous Noid to the fan-favorite Mr. Crumb - and their experience of working in audio.

Gabriele Griciute - Sound Designer and Composer at King

Gabriele Griciute

What do you do at King, and what does your average day look like?

I mainly compose music and do sound design here at King. My average day these past couple of weeks was working on one of the new games. It is super exciting for the whole audio team to be working closely with the new game team and creative leads, shaping the overall sound identity for an upcoming title, experimenting with different creative approaches to game sound design, as well as taking on some challenging and unique music composition and production tasks.

How did you get into audio/gaming?

I guess an audio career was sort of predefined for me. Since my very first days, I’ve been hearing my sister playing the piano (sometimes like 6 hours a day) in the same room, so as you can imagine, I had no choice but to get on board.

Who did you voice in Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!?

I had an opportunity to become the voice of Fake Coco.

Gabriele, the voice of Fake Coco – Journey from home recording to in-game music.

Is there anything you do to prepare yourself for a voice-over?

You have to have good energy, dedication, and of course commitment (as for everything I guess) before you start doing VO, as it can be a long and hard process. It might not work for the first couple of takes until you have a really clear vision of what’s needed, and you are able to deliver it. Also, it’s important to say that a lot of times you can trial yourself for a certain role, but nine times out of ten you need to work with professional VO artists to get the best results.

Do you think there are any misconceptions of audio in mobile games?

I guess this one is not only for audio, but for all the elements really, that certain details don’t matter or matter less because it’s mobile. Well, in my opinion mobile is (insert whatever big percentage) of our lives and its usage is just growing with technology improving at the speed of light, so yeah, I think mobile matters, very much.

Any advice for people who are looking to get a job in audio for games?

If you really want it, just go for it and you will succeed! You can learn everything and be really good at whatever you are doing with a fair amount of hard work and enthusiasm.

Guillermo Badolato - Senior Composer and Sound Designer at King

Guillermo Badolato

What do you do at King, and what does your average day look like?

I compose and produce music, sound effects, and VOs for the games, marketing videos, and other related audio. Voice work is required less often, but I’m always up for it when the opportunity is presented. I also enjoy recording guitars [and] bass and further producing, mixing, and mastering tracks coming from my fellow audio team colleagues. I love co-composing music with them, as something original and unexpected comes out of it every time. My day usually starts with working on what I currently have in the pipeline. We have our daily audio meeting, briefly updating everyone about our schedules for the day; then I keep working on the current tasks. We’re a small but well-oiled team.

Who did you voice in Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!?

So far, I’ve had great fun recording the voices for [the] Venus Flytrap, Lab Assistants, the Mummies, and the Domino’s Pizza partnership character called the Noid. This last one was fun to do!

Where do you get your inspiration from when you are thinking about how to voice the character?

I get into the mood of the character as much as possible, considering all available material, and find out everything I need to know about what’s intended for the character, such as type of voice, expressions to cover, etc. I also watch related animations and concept art drawings.

When there’s a previously created character with a distinct VO identity that must be maintained, I listen to the original VO recordings and see how it can be achieved (performance and sfx, if any). This was the case for the Noid (Domino’s Pizza character). For this one, I read the official briefing I received, and watched all the commercials and material I found available online and practiced over the actual video.

How does it feel to hear your voice in the game?

It’s super fun! It always brings a smile to my face, especially after some time has passed by and I’ve forgotten about it, and then I hear this character screaming at me when I’m playing.

Do you think there are any misconceptions of audio in mobile games?

Not so long ago, it used to be that sound quality in mobile games was pretty limited, due to the device’s resources. People kept that in mind, thinking that it was carried over to the current mobile games era. Luckily, tech has improved A LOT lately, each year getting closer to console implementation, and I believe that this general view has changed, especially due to the standardization of current powerful devices in daily use. Now everyone listens to music and uses their mobile as a standard multimedia device.

Any advice for people who are looking to get a job in audio for games?

As with any other discipline, it helps to genuinely love it and have the drive to go for it and keep trying no matter what. You will need to invest lots of time, effort, and energy to find a spot, so it’s better to enjoy the ride whilst waiting for your opportunity to come. And it will come if you’re persistent. Audio jobs are much less in demand than developer or artist jobs, so the competition is huge in the audio world.

In the meantime, learn the craft and the tools needed. Be versatile, practice composing to both interactive and linear media (commercial cutscenes, movie clips), sound and video editing, mixing, mastering, and playing instruments. The list can go on and on.

Play games, pay attention to the use of sound and silence. This will prepare you for the job when an opportunity arises.

Sebastian Aav - Audio Lead at King

Sebastian Aav

What do you do at King, and what does your average day look like?

I am the audio lead at King. My average day at the moment is composing music and doing sound design mainly for Crash Bandicoot: On the Run! so the daily work now is mostly being “embedded” in the Crash Bandicoot: On the Run! content team. I'm also involved in any improvements or bug fixing when applicable.

Who did you voice in Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!?

Mr. Crumb, the evil ghost enemy of Crash Bandicoot!

Where do you get your inspiration from when you are thinking about how to voice the character?

I think Mr. Crumb seemed to be a sort of “skeleton with asthma” kind of guy, someone who’s hung out at funk gigs too many times.

How does it feel to hear your voice in the game?

It’s fun to have made some sort of stamp in the Crash Bandicoot franchise. And the fact that the fans are not sending me complaints is a good sign overall of its reception!

Do you think there are any misconceptions of audio in mobile games?

More people listen to it than you think. The attitude of “no one plays with sound on” is unfortunate but prevalent even within game-development companies.

What’s your favorite sound or piece of music you’ve heard in a game, mobile or otherwise?

Skyrim’s soundtrack by Jeremy Soule is my favorite in the world of game music.

Any advice for people who are looking to get a job in audio for games?

My advice is you don’t need to know everything to get into the industry.

Privacy Policy Update
We’ve updated our Privacy Policy. You can view the revised policy here. By continuing to use Activision’s websites, products or services, you acknowledge this revised Privacy Policy.
+