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Home » Featured, News

Super Street Fighter IV – The Sound Effects

Submitted by on Wednesday, 20 January 2010No Comment

Rival Battle Super Street Fighter IV   The Sound EffectsThe official Super SFIV blog has updated and this time the developers discuss the sound effects of the game.

Once again Azrael from SRK has translated the blog for everyone to read. Last week we learned about The Music in SSFIV and this latest blog is part two of the discussion regarding what we hear when we play the game.

According to the blog there are no rival battles that use the same voices from the original SFIV. There will now be dialogue right after a match has started and the triggers that activate the voices have been altered as well.

Continuing on from last week, Mr. Tomozawa and I would like to talk about the voices and sound effects. We’re gonna get really in-depth about the voices and SE!

– First off, tell us about the character voices.

For the character voices this time around, not counting the prologue or ending, all together there are around 10,000 bits of data. It’s probably a bit unheard of to have this many vocal samples for a fighting game. There are a lot of characters, and also because of things like splitting one voice into several parts, the overall number just increases.

– What do you mean by splitting a voice?

For example, let’s take Gouken’s “Kinjite! Shoryuken!” (Forbidden Shoryuken). That isn’t just “Kinjite!” and “Shoryuken!”. For the last half of the motion, we match up the voice with the the action, so it gets cut up into “Sho” “ryu” “ken”. For the arcade version, that was the extent of the increase, but when we made the home version there were more characters and rival battles, so the data became about 3 times as heavy as the arcade version.

Gouken e1264020660413 Super Street Fighter IV   The Sound Effects

– There certainly are a lot of lines (battle narration) during the rival battle.

When looking at a video of a rival battle on an internet video site, in the comments someone had said “Is there this much talking in fighting games nowadays?” But I think on average the characters won’t talk that much (laughs).

In manga/comics, before a battle they often have a little verbal sparring. The characters talk just about at that level.

Yes. In SSFIV’s battle narration we’ve added and changed some things around, so that’s something to look forward to. For example, now right after the battle gets started there will be some lines of dialogue. But if the character gets hit in the middle of their lines then they stop talking. So if possible, please refrain from hitting them and listen until the end (laughs). Also, we’ve changed some of the triggers that would initiate a voice sample from the rival battles in SFIV, and some of them have completely new triggers. So looking for those can be fun.

– So there’s something for those who have already seen the rival battles to enjoy as well.

There are no rival battles that use only the same voice samples from SFIV! If anyone finds all of the voice samples, I’d give them a present (laughs). I’m pretty sure you definitely can’t find them all.

Rival Battle e1264020727783 Super Street Fighter IV   The Sound Effects

– With that many, checking them also seems like quite a task.

Yeah, unlike the prologues and endings, we have to check these during a battle, so it takes time. For example, if we want to confirm the FIRST HIT trigger, that one only happens once a battle. So first we have to try it for both the 1P and 2P. There were 17 of those triggers in SFIV. So that’s 17 for 1P and 17 for 2P. We also had both Japanese and English, so 17 x 4 = 68 voice samples, and that’s just for one rival battle. We have to confirm each one to make sure its the right voice, that it did come out, and adjust the volume as well. At first we didn’t really know what we were doing, so it was just shots in the dark. But now we’ve got the process worked out efficiently.

That’s always difficult. For the English voices, even as we were checking them we had no idea what they were saying (laughs). But the feeling was right on the mark, so that’s our sound team for you!

We worried quite a bit about the English voices. With Japanese, as long as we could hear it then we could confirm whether the lines were correct or not. But I’m not a native English speaker or anything like that, so there were a lot of things that I didn’t understand, had no idea what they were saying. There are also characters who speak with an accent, so those were particularly difficult to understand. If I couldn’t hear what they said, then I had to go back to the script and confirm it, then go back to the battle and see if I could pick it up. Characters who spoke easy to understand English were fun, but for characters with a special accent, especially El Fuerte, I had no idea. I had to check many times “Is this what he’s saying?”

– Speaking of English, in SFIV you can change the character voices to English – how was this decided on?

As we want people to understand the story and emotions of SFIV, we basically thought to just have the voices in Japanese. But if we talk about the impression of the series up until now, there are some characters were players must have thought “I wish he’d speak in English.” So for those players, we wanted to be able to give them the option to have an English voice for that character. That’s one reason. Also, from our overseas players, a lot of people said they wanted to use the original Japanese voices. For example, people who want to use Ryu in his original voice. So in order to be able to enjoy various styles, we set it up in SFIV that you could change the character voices individually. Of course, SSFIV will be the same.

– Were there any other incidents with the English voices?

I mentioned this before, but various countries have different ways of speaking, right? So then characters end up having accents. The easiest to see this in is Rose’s Italian accent, she uses a very hard R. You have to roll your tongue for it. We put that much detail into it, so if everyone would listen closely and notice it I think it’d be interesting. Also, attention was paid to the differences between American and regular English. I have no idea though (laughs).

Depending on your tastes, you can set certain characters to English and try out various settings. As Ken’s Japanese and English voices are both cool, I can never decide which one to pick (laughs). Also, Sakura’s English voice is pretty high pitched, so that’s interesting.

Sakura’s English voice is an actual high school girl! Well, she may have graduated by now, but at the time of recording she was still in high school. As her voice has quite a different image from the Japanese one, I rather like it.

Sakura Battle e1264020899269 Super Street Fighter IV   The Sound Effects

On the other hand, Cammy’s voices in Japanese and English are pretty close to each other.

Ms. Sawashiro, Cammy’s VA, is really good at English. She was able to smoothly read the formal name of BLECE (Boiling Liquid Expanding Cell Explosion) with no problems. We recorded two different patterns, and her concern was “I don’t really have confidence in a British accent”. Everyone who was there could only say “Like we’d be able to tell the difference?” (laughs)

I heard this from Mr. Endo, but Cammy’s VA Ms. Sawashiro went to the overseas recording to take notes. She spoke a few lines to Cammy’s English VA, and only hearing that voice, the sound director said to Cammy’s English VA “You don’t have to speak yet”. Ms. Sawashiro is so good, that she was mistaken for the English Cammy’s VA.

Cammy Battle e1264020981628 Super Street Fighter IV   The Sound Effects

Rufus’s English VA also gave it his all, not to be outdone by Mr. Hatano. There’s lot of good stuff to listen to, so I hope everyone gives the English version a try!

– Speaking of, judging from the promotional videos the announcer’s English voice seems to have changed.

Yes, its been changed. We wanted players to feel with a quick listen that SSFIV was new and different, and Mr. Endo felt that the easiest way to get that feeling across would be through the announcer. As this is a series update, there are some sounds we couldn’t change, particularly the character voices. So as this would be the easiest to understand, we changed it.

Now tell us about the SE.

The environment, the hardware, even TV’s from when we made sounds for SFII have all changed. So if we tried to use the same sounds, it just wouldn’t fit. If we borrowed the sounds from SFII and tried to force them into SFIV it would just sound off.

There are people who want to hear the old hit sounds from the 2D games. But SFIV is presented in 3D, so having them in would kind of be an ear-sore, I think.

Even within the Street Fighter series, the hit sound has changed quite a bit. Especially in Alpha – in SFII the hit sounds were quite heavy, but in Alpha they were much lighter. We did study the previous titles, and though it was really a trial and error process, I feel like the SE we have now are the best fit for the environment and the images. For example, in the past the sound for punches and kicks were the same, but in SFIV they’re different, so this is an area in which we’ve improved. Also, there’s been a little change in SSFIV from SFIV. We’ve tweaked the volume balance so its a little easier to hear than in SFIV.

Hit Effect e1264021065407 Super Street Fighter IV   The Sound Effects

– How about SE that goes with the stages?

For stage SE, first we have to decide where exactly we are going to have sound. For example, the stage designer had expressed a wish for the car in the India stage to blow its horn. But the car doesn’t really move around on screen, so if the horn sounded people would probably wonder what it was. So its best not to have that sound. Of course we had voices for the elephants or anything else that sticks out, but the battle is the main attraction, so we can’t distract from that.

We also can’t have move SE and focus attack SE covering each other up. Its difficult finding a balance that preserves the right feel and doesn’t interfere with the fight.

Also, depending on the stage materials, the jump, landing, and knockdown sounds change. If you listen carefully, you can pick up on it. On the Overpass Stage, the sound changes for places on the ground with puddles of water, and the Brewery has both metal and wood parts of the floor. Talking about stages in SSFIV, the Korean stage has both a stone pavement and asphalt, both of which make different sounds. SE is pretty difficult.

Korea Stage e1264021112305 Super Street Fighter IV   The Sound Effects

It is. Even if there’s just one SE that’s a bit grating to the ears, it’ll be improved upon greatly. You can really feel the passion of the sound team. I hope all the players keep this in mind while enjoying the game.

– Do you have any favorite voices?

For voices, I’d like for everyone to listen to all the taunts. Even if you have to set them all one by one, please give them a listen (laughs)! Also personally I really like Juri’s voice, so definitely check her out! Her voice is a big reason why she’s just a vibrant character.

–How about any SE?

For SE…this kinda covers everything, but we’re doing it in 5.1ch. So its not just a basic flow of sound, but everything happens point by point. Probably the easiest to understand is the sound when the meter fills up. Also, I really personally like the sound of the fire on the Vs screen. Its kind of a background noise, but its really nice. It might be a little difficult to hear just in stereo though.

– I don’t think there are a lot of gamers who are experiencing the 5.1 sound though.

Yeah, there probably aren’t a whole lot of people who have that setup. But if you know someone who does, please go have a listen! Also, the feel of the remixed BGM will change as well under this sound system.

Aah, I don’t have a sound system at home. …Well then, I’ll just have to buy one! Give me some good recommendations later.

– Do you have any final comments for the fans looking forward to the sounds?

Regarding this, I have a comment from Mr. Endo, so I’ll read that first.

“The song composition, where to put in sounds, the sound effects, all have been planned by the sound designer. Where to loop the songs, the sound effects, and their dynamic usage, if you can naturally get pumped up while playing that’s what we were aiming for, so we’d be happy.”

As for me, I personally feel that voices are the big focal point in fighting games. They’re often called tools of fighting. As a tool, if we think about it that way then it doesn’t matter if its there or not. But voices include your spirit. Voices can bring out that character’s specific traits, and you can also feel the passion of the voice actor. Maybe you don’t really get an appreciation for it in the arcade, but for the console version, in the rival battles and things like that, it really reinforces the characters personality and background. This is something featured in all voices, so if possible I’d like for you to listen to all of them.

That’s right. BGM, voices, SE are tools of the fight, just like controls or graphics. They bring out an important part of the experience!

I hope everyone enjoyed today’s entry. We got a chance to talk about some things we normally don’t get to talk about. If you could find an interest in how we made these things, I’d be very happy.

Next week we’ll be talking about character design!
Until next time!

It’s really great that Capcom is giving fans an in-depth look into the development process of the game. It’s always interesting to see how the different aspects of a game come together and we don’t really get to read much about that, especially for a fighting game.