The Edge awards 2013: best audio design
3. Battlefield 4
Format: 360, PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox One Publisher: EA Developer: In-house (DICE)
DICE’s audio tech has found its way into many games courtesy of its Frostbite engine – and even into the likes of Mass Effect 3 as EA’s studios turn to the Swedish team for advice – but it’s in Battlefield where its audio mastery is best deployed. Its multiplayer battlefields feel like real war zones where every sound is a tell if you listen hard enough.
2. Grand Theft Auto V
Format: 360, PS3 Publisher: Rockstar Games Developer: In-house (North)
Given Rockstar’s track record, it was a given that GTAV would be soundtracked by an impossibly cool, genre-spanning set of radio stations, but the studio outdid itself here. A series-first original score meant Rockstar’s muso flair no longer faded away with the click of the driver’s door, and GTAV’s world was the richer for it.
1. The Last Of Us
Format: PS3 Publisher: SCE Developer: Naughty Dog
Birdsong and the swish of waves fill our world until the wind instruments swell and a grimy window frame appears. TLOU’s title screen says much of the restraint of its soundtrack, and its audio designers are just as fond of grace notes. A rifle’s crack is more arresting in the stillness, while the crash of a bottle between guttural Clicker pops makes sweaty-palmed stealth an alternative to gunplay. Only in so quiet a world could Joel’s hearing ability work, your senses stretched taut by the vulnerability inherent in having to stop to listen.