Returnal Dev Discusses PS5’s Tempest 3D AudioTech and How it Changed Audio Development

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Returnal was one of the first PlayStation 5 games to be announced alongside Sony’s next-generation console, even though it won’t be a part of the launch line-up. A third-person shooter with rogue-like elements, Returnal is being developed by Finnish studio Housemarque, historically known for its shoot’em up games (Resogun, Nex Machina, Matterfall just to name a few) before they decided that they had to switch from doing arcade titles to more mainstream genres.

As part of a larger interview on the PS5 appeared in the Washington Post, Game Director Harry Krueger described the most exciting part of the console’s Tempest 3D AudioTech as featured in Returnal.

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I think the moment that really stands out to me is a very simple one, the drops of rain falling on your head. It sounds weird and maybe too simplistic, but just standing still in the beginning sequence you can focus in on the very nuanced sounds of flames dancing by the wreckage of your ship while a slight drizzle falls from the tree canopy above.

Krueger then went on to talk about how the new audio capabilities enabled by the PS5 hardware have actually changed the studio’s development approach for audio in Returnal.

The audio side is now more of a full team blending a wide range of expertise, including level and enemy design. Each sound source is recorded in relation to how a real person would hear the sound actually coming from each direction. … It’s similar to the way we have always done things, but now we simply record things many times from many directions, apply more nuanced layers, and then of course spend even more time tweaking things in the final product.

Returnal, a PlayStation 5 exclusive, doesn’t have a release date yet, but we’ll let you know when it does.

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