Introducing the Immerse Gamepack!
Hello hello, can you hear me? This is Go "Kinugo" Kinuya from the Sound team.
Boy, we had so much sound-related work for Endwalker, I almost wished for the Final Days in my area! Some of my fellow Sound team members may or may not have turned into blasphemies over the duress, but we're still working hard on the development of Patch 6.1!
That aside, I have a question for you all today: have you ever experienced gaming in a surround sound environment? You'd surely understand if you have, but let me tell you, the level of immersion you experience when you play in a 5.1ch surround sound environment is insane!
The sound of the wind blowing through the trees, the birds calling from a distance, the intense sounds of battle on the battlefield; you can hear it all from every direction. I believe these kinds of realistic nuances conveyed through these sound elements help deliver an immersive experience that brings you closer to the in-game world.
Alongside Endwalker, we released the Immerse Gamepack FINAL FANTASY XIV Edition, which delivers rich sounds to your stereo headphones. It allows you to not only listen to the sounds coming from your left and right, but the ones coming from in front and behind, and even above and below!
With standard stereo audio technology, it can be difficult to fully grasp where the audio is coming from. Since each person has a unique head shape and ear positioning, audio coming from behind or above us is perceived differently by everyone. To address this, the Immerse Gamepack uses AI to analyze a photo of a person's ear to tailor sounds specifically for that individual.
When we first heard about Embody's Immerse sound technology, I remember us thinking, "This sounds interesting! It'd be great if we could try and implement this into our game!" To realize this, the FFXIV Sound team and the Engineering team at Embody worked closely together across numerous meetings and tests to make improvements along the way. Sure, there were times when we had conflicting opinions, but whenever we explained how we wanted certain sounds to work for our players, or how players may not appreciate the behavior of certain sounds, the Embody team was very cooperative and worked together with us to come up with a solution.
Immerse Gamepack was possible not only because of the Embody team's amazing technology and flexibility, but also the fact that they have the same attitude as the FFXIV development team when it comes to putting the game experience above all.
I took this opportunity today to ask our Sound team members for their notable mentions on what in-game sounds players should check out using the Immerse Gamepack.
The Black Shroud is a popular locale for adventurers who enjoy taking a stroll through the natural environment and ambient sounds of the forest. With Immerse Gamepack, you'll be able to experience an even stronger sense of realism when you hear the sounds of the river flowing, the birds calling, and the NPCs going about their everyday lives. Speaking of the Black Shroud, I recently visited the Ixali settlement while collecting Triple Triad cards, and that led me to complete their tribe quests, which are pretty amazing! If you haven't completed the Ixali story, I highly recommend it as it delves into their history, and... Oh right, we're talking about the sound. How would you like to experience the ambience of the forest and its surrounding environments with Immerse Gamepack as you progress through the Ixali tribe quests?
- Sound Designer F
I recommend taking to the skies and moving your camera around to enjoy the various sounds around you. In the new Endwalker area Labyrinthos, for example, you might enjoy the various sound effects coming from the giant contraptions there with Immerse Gamepack. Oh, and I would recommend flying around on the Mikoshi mount from the Namazu tribe quests. How would you hear the sound of the contraptions over the sound of the mount's bells, you ask? You can adjust that in the configuration menu!
- Sound Designer I
Pshhh I am a Sahagin wandering across the realm, and my home point is currently set to Limsssa Lominsssa. While ssstanding in the Aethertye Plaza, I hear all kinds of sssounds from all directions. The footstepsss of the passerby. Adventurers dancing, clapping, laughing, cheering to the amazing performances by musssicccians. I hear the clinks and clanksss from the blacksmithsss and armorers ssswinnging their hammers. Just ssstanding there listening to the livelinessss of the city fills me with joy. Pshahahaha.
- Wandering Sahagin O
So, what do you think? There were a lot of opinions, and it was hard to narrow them down, but I'm relieved we had enough Sound team members who still understood human-speak!
Please feel free to give Immerse Gamepack a try and check out any of the suggestions or find your own favorite location with its own amazing sounds! It features a free trial, so we'd appreciate it if you'd give it a try.
The technology for stereo sound is ever-evolving, and I believe it's started to transition into the next era. Our team will continue our research and development to deliver a better sound experience for all our players!
Go "Kinugo" Kinuya
- Sound team
* Immerse Gamepack FINAL FANTASY XIV Edition is an addon for the Windows version of FFXIV.