Posted Mon Apr 20, 2015 at 10:56 AM PDT by Brian Hoss
A major first.
Seven months out, and 'Star Wars Battlefront' has already scored majorly for the combined forces of Disney and Electronic Arts. There's good reason for this. Combining DICE with the 'Star Wars Battlefront' property has fans ready to enter a Galaxy Far, Far Away with a vengeance. This 'Battlefront' has all the pomp of the current era's biggest games, and with 'Battlefront,' the Frostbite engine is being used for the exact kind of game it's meant for. Even better, there are no last-gen versions to weigh it down.
But while 'Star Wars Battlefront' will attract millions of players, the game is significant for a much more discerning audience. At this point in time, object-based audio has been around for years. It's in our theaters, and for early adopters, it's in our homes. While Dolby Atmos, Auro-3D, and DTS:X are in the middle of battle over theaters and movies, the three audio formats have completely ignored their true home application, video games.
No doubt, producing an object-based audio mix for 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' is an important, lengthy process that requires specific planning to get the creative input required to meet the high standards aspired to by the films more traditional mix. Object-based audio is relatively new route for films. In stark contrast, games have a 20 year history of featuring a 3D soundstage. During the PS3 era, this 3D soundstage reached a new height that allowed for the resources required to really put together worlds that are alive with spatially 3D sounds that fit in with the soundtrack and other audio elements. These worlds have been built using 3D sound objects, but sadly, 7.1 surround sound has been the best the playback method available. So while studios are very slowly putting together Dolby Atmos Blu-rays, and will eventually start releasing DTS:X Blu-rays, just about every AAA game is wasting much of its expertly crafted 3D world of sound. (It's sort of like having so many Dolby Atmos film mixes, but only having a hand full of Blu-rays.) That changes with 'Star Wars Battlefront.'
Exclusive to the PC version, 'Star Wars Battlefront' will support Dolby Atmos. This is a first, but it won't be the last. If companies like Microsoft and Sony could set aside a slight amount of time to visit with Dolby and DTS, then companies like CD Projekt RED, Bethesda, EA, Activision, Ubisoft, Warner Bros., Konami, Crystal Dynamics, Naughty Dog, Harmonix, etc. could treat their users to the next step in surround sound. Why shouldn't 'Batman: Arkham Knight,' 'The Witcher 3,' 'Rise of the Tomb Raider,' 'Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain' allow users to make full use of their home theaters?
At CES both Dolby and DTS offered impressive audio presentations. Dolby had the luxury of leaning on current films with current equipment while DTS had the wisdom to include a killer music video as a chief part of their presentation. But think about 'Uncharted 4: A Thief's End.' Drake's first PS4 foray could make for an incredible audio demonstration.
That may be where DTS looks to make up ground. All it takes is a system/SDK update, and games in production now can start enabling a fuller audio offering via real-time audio rendering. The hope would be that a game like 'Halo 5: Guardians' might step up and be able to steal some of 'Battlefront's incredible thunder. But that might have to be a 2016 thing. For now, users who are willing to match their gaming PCs with their Dolby Atmos set-up can look forward (come November 17th) to a 'Star Wars Battlefront' audio presentation that will blow away the last ten years' worth of games.
We've reached out to Dolby and EA on their Atmos plans for 'Star Wars Battlefront.' Stay tuned for an update.
You can find the latest info on 'Star Wars Battlefront' linked from our Video Game Release Schedule.
Source: Electronic Arts
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