Behind the Scenes with The Sims 4 Audio

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The Sims 4 is launching in just one month, featuring all new Sims with really big personalities driven up a whole new emotional center. A key part of the development process to bring the emotion to life is the game’s audio and this week’s EA Tuesday Exclusive brings you behind the scenes of this important facet of the game.
In the new Create A Sim and Build Modes, each audio track has eight levels of intensity. As your attention changes from less detailed to more detailed (or the other way around), the music changes dynamically to immerse you into the experience for the first time.
Listen to this Sims 4-inspired track from Maxis on SoundCloud to get a feel for the new audio in the game.

The team at Maxis even created special-edition Sims 4 ringtones, including one just for readers of the EA Tuesday Exclusive! Download your one-of-a-kind ringtone now.
Want more on The Sims 4 soundtrack and audio? We sat down with Robi Kauker, Audio Director for The Sims 4, to find out more about the sound in the game.


Q: What are the main influences for audio in The Sims 4?
A: There are two major influences. The first is making sure that we don’t mess up. Our fans love the music in our games so we want to make sure we deliver a soundtrack that will meet their expectations. The second is a drive for a more physical presence in the game, something that would connect the sound and the world more tightly than before.
Just one small example is making a Sim’s voice who is turned away sound different then the Sim who is facing you – directional filtering, essentially. Every time we made something, be it voice, SFX or music, we were constantly thinking: how does this feel? Where is the emotional tie? What will this mean in the big picture?
Q: How did the idea to create ringtones based on The Sims 4 come about?
A: Actually, Lyndsay Pearson, one of our senior producers, came by my office and asked for one, so I made some for her. She loved them so much, we wanted to share them with the fans. We will be giving away more in the coming weeks. [editor’s note: download the EA Tuesday Exclusive ringtone HERE]
Q: What inspired you in creating audio for The Sims 4?
A: Oh, lots of different things. I have such a great team around me that I was really free to explore lots of the real world and audio geek spaces and how that would work in the game. The design is always first, and then you add the art and animation styling. I had so much material to play with. The music really is a result of the visual styles, the new Build and Create A Sim work, and the emotion-focused game design.
Q: What was your favorite part of working on The Sims 4?
A: I love the emotion based game design. Audio for me is all about enhancing the player’s experience and creating an emotional connection, so The Sims 4 is right in the sweet spot of my love. And if that wasn’t enough, we have some of the best producers and dev team members. They really care about the game to a level you see so rarely in entertainment, I can’t think of any better group of people.
Q: Do you have any anecdotes from making decisions on audio content for The Sims 4?
A: For voice, we had received over 1000 auditions. I can’t imagine how many more were screened before those reached us. There is a lot of amazing talent and picking the actors was an incredible process.
For sound effects, the bathroom and kitchen related stuff is largely recordings of my own bathroom and kitchen. Thomas Day (one of my team) and I placed four microphones around every appliance, toilet, shower and bath we could. When a Sim gets in a tub, that’s me – well, at least my sound effect!
For music, the whole process was amazing. Just a ridiculous wealth of talent brought their best to the game. [English composer] Ilan Eshkeri and everyone in London couldn’t have been better. I had members of the orchestra come up with a series of notes about the game, asking for features or tips – it was great.
I met so many fans during the score recording process in London and it was amazing to hear from them and see their creativity – that alone would have made all the work worth it.