This Poor Piano Was Murdered for Your ‘Halo: Infinite’ Game

343 Industries

The next Halo game is on the way, and this time it’s dubbed Halo Infinite. Any good game needs good music and sound effects, and audio teams are always looking for interesting new ways to create new sounds. And that’s apparently why the group from 343 Industries murdered a perfectly good piano.

It can take years to make a single piano. Between sourcing the lumber, properly drying it, lamination techniques, glue and drying, the wood pieces alone are a huge investment. Depending on the piano, it can have thousands of individual parts. All that work goes into making a beautiful instrument in both looks and sound.

So it’s a little distressing to see a team of people whack a piano with hammers, cut its strings, and place dry ice all over the poor instrument’s innards. But if you’re going to brutally murder a piano, at least we can take a little solace in knowing that the sounds it groaned are likely perfect for a Sci-Fi video game with mild horror and tense sequences.

And that’s exactly what the 343 Audio team did in its goal to create unique audio effects and music for Halo Infinite. The team posted a blog with descriptions of some of the hoops it jumped through to create new gun effects. The team went to great lengths to accurately depict sounds from a distance, so a gun fired nearby is distinct from a weapon fired over the next ridge.

But while you should read the team’s blog, it’s the piano segment that will likely get the most attention. The team posted a full video (seen above) of the process. They experimented with different methods for generating noise from the piano, like placing a subwoofer inside the instrument. They whack it hammers, cut strings, and drop dry ice on it as well. If you’re a piano lover, it’s distressing.

And if you’re a gamer, the noises you’ll hear are appropriately distressing, too. It’s easy to imagine the environments the noises will eventually help create—with each whack, thud, and clip, the piano groans. Electric bows pushed against the strings emit haunting screeches that may fill your nightmares. And dropping dry ice against the strings “yielded a large offering of singing, bellowing, screeching and everything in between.”

It’s all in the name of a video game, they say. But only time will tell if it’s worth the cost.

Source: 343 Industries