Tech Alumnus Helps Create Award-winning Video Game
In December of 2014, Steve Green was set to graduate from Michigan Tech’s Visual and Performing Arts Department. Armed with a degree in sound design, he knew he had a good job waiting for him just a few weeks and 1,800 miles away. What he didn’t know was that the coming year would not only be exciting and rewarding for him, but for the world he was entering, the world of video gaming.
In January of 2015, Green began working with Giant Squid Studios, a small innovative company in Santa Monica, California, founded by Matt Nava, the art director behind the award-winning games "Flower" and "Journey."
“They waited for me to graduate,” Green says. “I didn’t know anyone in the company at the time I reached out to them, but I was incredibly interested in the work they were doing, the origin of the company, and I wanted to be part of it.”
That part, as it turned out, was to serve as sound director for one of the most highly anticipated games of 2016, "ABZÛ." The game, which derives its name from Mesopotamian meaning “to know water,” is slated for release on PS4 and PC later this year. It is an underwater exploration game that has already received numerous awards and honors, even though it has yet to be released to the public.
"ABZÛ" has been named Best Indie Game and Best Soundtrack, by ArabNerds.com, Best Indie Game by Play Station Universe, Best of E3 by PC Gamer and Polygon Editor’s Choice for E3 Game of 2015. Green was chosen to accept Epic Games “Everything is Awesome” award on behalf of ABZÛ and Giant Squid.
For his first job at Giant Squid, Green was tasked with designing the sound for a game that takes place entirely underwater. He called the challenges “endless, coming from every angle.”
“First and foremost is creating this water world without continuously reminding the player they are under water, with constant bubbling, respirator breathing and skewed underwater hearing. The trick is keeping the unique underwater ambiance,” Green says.
Using creativity, Green was able to create some unconventional sounds using everyday objects. For example, he says, “For ABZÛ, I made dolphin calls by rubbing my thumb on a wet ceramic plate.”
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