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This Is One Expensive Sound Effect For Halo Infinite

While fans may be frustrated with Halo Infinite's continued delays, a recent "Inside Infinite" blog showed some of the hard work that is going into creating the game's sound effects. The post dives deep into the complex processes of creating an authentic audio design, even showing how 343 Industries spared no expense when capturing sounds by destroying a full-size upright piano.

The March 25 "Inside Infinite" is the latest in a series of monthly features from 343 Industries that detail specifics about the work that goes into creating AAA titles such as Halo Infinite. Previous posts have looked at the game's visual elements, sandbox design principles, and campaign structure. The most recent blog brought together members of the audio team to offer insight into how they scored the game, technical observations about deploying sound in a virtual environment, and detailed diagrams demonstrating sound composition specifics.

The in-depth article is well worth a read by dedicated Halo fans and audiophiles alike, but one memorable incident of sound capture stands out. While discussing the team's adventures in field recording for Halo Infinite, Kyle Fraser, lead sound designer, gained access to a used upright piano that a friend was trying to get rid of, which, according to Craftsman Piano, can easily cost over $3,000. After picking it up, Fraser and his crew set up eleven microphones and then attacked the piano with an array of materials to create ominous and resonant sound effects.

The team recorded the entire process in a video that accompanied the "Inside Infinite" blog post, in which sound engineers are seen briefly experimenting with the pianos key before striking the interior with a hammer. Even that simple action produces rich tones, although things get even more intense when the team starts throwing concrete blocks at the instrument, using a socket wrench to stress strings to their breaking point, and snapping components in half with bolt cutters.

While Fraser and his team get some impressive results from all of those efforts, the most interesting sounds are heard after the sound crew opens a bag of dry ice and begins applying it to the piano. When the dry ice is pressed against different parts of the increasingly exposed upright piano, it produces almost metallic squealing sounds, like players might expect to hear in the interior of a space vessel or deep inside a Covenant base. In addition, 343 Industries' sound team demonstrates how the intensity and frequency can be modulated by simply increasing the pressure, producing otherworldly noises.

While fans still have some time until Halo Infinite arrives on the Series X|S and Xbox One sometime in the second half of 2021, they can rest assured that 343 Industries is making every effort to build a detailed soundscape, world, and gaming experience.