It’s clear that Chicory: A Colorful Tale is full of visual beauty, but when it comes to games, there is so much more that can be done to make the experience immersive. Hi my name is Lena Raine and i am going to tell you about the fun audio landscape made for Chicory. I worked on many previous titles such as Celeste, Minecraft and Guild Wars 2. For Chicory, I did all the music composition and recording of the soundtrack for the game. We also worked with sound designer Em Halberstadt (Night in the Woods, Untitled Goose Game, Wandersong) who, along with Preston Wright, designed all the sound you hear in the nice, cozy, and even scary areas of the game.
There are a lot of traditions associated with music composition and performance in screen adventure games like Chicory: A Colorful Tale. When composing for Chicory, I wanted to stay true to some of those traditions while pushing back against conventions by drawing inspiration from the dynamic music of free-form open-world games.
Dynamic music helps give a sense of space between each screen in the game. While each main area has its own looping theme that enters next to its title card, we’ve made the transitions between areas much smoother and more gradual. . So instead of just cutting or fading between tracks, we have what we call “edge” areas that let the music of each major domain drift.
Depending on where you come from, the music turns into a more subtle, more subdued version of the music. Stay long enough and the trail will simply disappear. But if you enter the same screen from another directi on, the music in that other area will become more subdued. By making some screens independent of music, we are able to bridge the gap and smoothly transition between areas as you explore.
Some locations even have progressive music that changes and evolves as you explore, so stay tuned to hear how the music follows your adventures!
Fun fact, every woodwind you hear in the score was recorded live by Kristin Naigus! Here are all the instruments she recorded from the soundtrack, all lined up, joining a set that also includes violin, viola, cello and many more.
Along with Em’s input on the sound design side, the musical transition between the zones was also meant to give the player a moment to sit back and listen to the vibe and all the details we put into the paint sounds. . We wanted the sound effects to help the player feel like they were really painting, so Em really made it as tactile and detailed as she could.
Em’s sound design process is pretty awesome, and his process for Chicory was no exception. For starters, she had a big recording session with a bucket of paint and glue to make it thick and globby. Most of the brushes, interactive objects, and menu sounds are made from the crush and absorb that came out of this session. Even the darkest moments in the game use these recordings, they’re just pricked and reversed to sound more menacing. The physical nature of sounds helps make them satisfying.
It was really important that the brush was nuanced and realistic, so that the sound of the painting followed the speed of your brush and all the different brush styles and stamps had their own special sounds. We’ve made sure that all painting related audio comes from the DualSense wireless controller to really feel like you’re using your hands to color this world. The vibrations also contribute to this. While all of this is subtle, it does combine to give you an experience where you can easily relax if you want to and take the time to explore your creativity. However you play, the pops and bubbles you hear as the world reacts to your brush will tickle your ears.
Players will all approach the game differently, and we can’t wait to see them all! Whether you are adventurous and confusing, or just relaxing and painting, we have thought a lot and taken care to make Chicory a world that sounds good to you. With Game Help keeping you on track and the controller vibrate features, we believe it’s a world gamers can feel right at home in.
And don’t be afraid to use your Share or Create button as we’ll be monitoring everyone’s artwork on social media! Chicory: A Colorful Tale is available tomorrow June 10 on PS5 and PS4 in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese and Russian.