Imagine this: You’re a Rebel soldier stepping cautiously through the forests of Endor when you hear a Stormtrooper moving in the trees above you. The sound is so precise that you know exactly where he is. You whip around and take him out before he’s able to shoulder his blaster.
Or try this: You’re hiking through a snowstorm when an AT-AT walker plants its massive metal foot on the ground so close you can touch it. The thunderous sound seems to come from all around you.
You won’t have to imagine those scenes much longer. Last week, EA announced that the upcoming Star Wars: Battlefront will be the first game released with Dolby Atmos® sound.
Dolby Atmos, which began in the cinema in 2012, allows content creators to precisely place and move sounds, including overhead, in a kind of 3D bubble of sound. How great will that be in games?
Not only will it provide some competitive advantages, it will also make a huge difference in helping you feel immersed in the setting of the game. In Star Wars™: Battlefront, for instance, you’ll feel like you need to duck as the Y-wings scream overhead on a bombing run, and you’ll hear the thud of laser rocket blasts landing near you.
EA showed a few scenes from Star Wars: Battlefront to gaming journalists, who were very impressed with the powerful, enveloping sound.
Dolby Atmos “truly simulates sound coming from every angle of the room – when the AT-AT’s foot slammed down, you heard the creaking of the joints from above and the deafening smash vibrating from all around you,” wrote Lucas Siegel of Comicbook.com.
“We could especially hear the difference in the demo, as our faceless Rebel hero charged under a massive AT-AT, the machine’s clunky feet pounding all around us,” reported Max Nicholson of MTV.com.
EA is a great partner to bring Dolby Atmos to gaming. The company has a long history as a technological leader in gaming and their game Battlefield 3™ won a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award for audio achievement in a video game.
At Dolby, we believe that gaming is a logical next step in the evolution of Dolby Atmos. We have always seen Dolby Atmos as the future of recorded sound and believe its potential is nearly limitless. Since its debut, Dolby Atmos has been used or will be used in more than 275 titles from all the major studios. Last year, Dolby Atmos came to home theater and to mobile devices (it’s now in the Amazon Fire™ HDX 8.9 tablet and in tablets and a smartphone from Lenovo). Earlier this year, we partnered with Jaunt to bring Dolby Atmos to the world of virtual reality.
The Dolby Atmos difference
What distinguishes Dolby Atmos from earlier sound technologies is also what makes it perfect for gaming. Dolby Atmos is object-based sound. That means that every object in a game scene – a speeding car, a rocket, a charging tiger – can have a sound associated with it. The sound moves precisely as the object moves. That produces sound that’s much more realistic and enveloping than older sound technologies, which could only assign sounds to channels, like your right or left surround speakers.
Games and gaming platforms take a long time to develop, and it’s too soon to make any announcements about other specific gaming products with Dolby Atmos. But Dolby has a long history in gaming. Gamers know that for years virtually all the best games have been mixed in Dolby® surround sound. We’re excited about working with partners like EA to bring the next generation of sound, Dolby Atmos, into the best game experiences of the future.