The "Surround in Video Games" Thread

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Mr. Afternoon

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Hey, we have a general thread for Japanese Music so why not a general thread for surround in Video Games?

Video games, being an "immersive" medium tends to have support for surround sound. Overwhelmingly so, compared to most other forms of media, except maybe movies. With videogames, most of them are guaranteed to have surround (with the exception of Nintendo first-party titles).

Most video games have the standard 5.1/7.1 orientation, however some as of recent have started bitstreaming Dolby Atmos to your receiver if you choose, with varying results.

For PC Gamers, we have this handy-dandy list to refer to whenever we want to check if a game has surround. Some surprising entries here!

Matrixed surround has been in video games as far back as the 90s, with the SNES and the Sega Genesis, however discrete surround didn't really kick off until the mid 2000s with the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 (Nintendo was doing their own thing at the time with the Wii). Games tend to have less dynamic compression, which is very good! ("Are you playing a video game again or did that explosion come from outside?")

Implementations vary. Most games tend to offer a realistic approach to surround. Some games, like the Yakuza series, allow you to adjust speaker azimuth settings in game to your liking. Some older games, such as Final Fantasy X, only have surround sound during cutscenes (short movies in the game to advance the story). Some games do bafflingly cool things too, like Race Driver: Grid for the PlayStation 3, which mixes 224 simultaneous streams of audio at the same time to deliver real-time 7.1 audio with third-order Ambisonics.

With the advent of people just not giving a crap about fidelity anymore, surround support is now delegated to the major studios only, with everyone else not bothering to try to implement it anymore.

I don't know what more to say. :unsure: I personally prefer games with in-depth stories and lots of cutscenes, but some people say these games don't offer enough in-depth gameplay. Also, do NOT play horror games in surround. Trust me. Never again.
 
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it's been a long time since i gave them an airing (must be 10 years at least) but i've got a vague recollection some of the Original XBOX games maybe had discrete 5.1 Dolby Digital.. 🤔

i'll fish some out and sneak a peek 👀🧐

edit: looking through my lists it's been 15 years since i last played the Original XBOX 🤦‍♀️😅 i should maybe get rid of some of that stuff idk 🤷🏻‍♀️
 
it's been a long time since i gave them an airing (must be 10 years at least) but i've got a vague recollection some of the Original XBOX games maybe had discrete 5.1 Dolby Digital.. 🤔

i'll fish some out and sneak a peek 👀🧐

edit: looking through my lists it's been 15 years since i last played the Original XBOX 🤦‍♀️😅 i should maybe get rid of some of that stuff idk 🤷🏻‍♀️
Yeah, some PS2 and XBOX games did have discrete surround. Unlike the easy HDMI carrier it relied on TOSLink if I remember correctly.
Also, 2001 is a whopping 22 years ago! I feel old!
 
Yeah, some PS2 and XBOX games did have discrete surround. Unlike the easy HDMI carrier it relied on TOSLink if I remember correctly.
Also, 2001 is a whopping 22 years ago! I feel old!
oh yeah! 🤯🙃 now i think of it some PS2 games may have even had DTS Surround!? i haven't played any of those games for yonks either but i'll get a wodge out and see what's what what 🧐
 
oh yeah! 🤯🙃 now i think of it some PS2 games may have even had DTS Surround!? i haven't played any of those games for yonks either but i'll get a wodge out and see what's what what 🧐
As far as I know, with the PS2, all the games that have DTS Surround only have it for FMVs...the PS2 didn't support it real-time in the game.
Most games after the PS2/XBOX era have surround real-time in-game.

Edit: I'm probably wrong...Star Ocean and SSX Tricky can reportedly do it real-time in-game? I wonder whether this was done on the SPU2 (the dedicated sound chip on the PS2) or not. AFAIK the SPU2 only supports outputting stereo. Surely, doing audio on the CPU in this era with more limited resources would have caused problems, right?
 
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As far as I know, with the PS2, all the games that have DTS Surround only have it for FMVs...the PS2 didn't support it real-time in the game.
Most games after the PS2/XBOX era have surround real-time in-game.
ahh.. yes it feels like you're right about that, maybe some processing limitation of the PS2 that it couldn't do in-game discrete Surround 🤔
tbh i was more than happy with pseudo Surround for games at that stage (not so much for movies i was already an AC-3 nut in '98 & then a DTS spoilt bastard in 2002 🤩🤤 and PLII often worked out well for games on the Dreamcast, GameCube etc and i think some titles around then may have even been PLII encoded!? although i was potentially somewhat sozzled for much of the late 90's and early noughties so pretty much everything was Surround-y anyway even if it wasn't 🤣🍻👀🥂🙃
 
There was a thread similar to this a while back that never got any traction, but I did learn about DeBlob and Deblob2 for Playstation, where the soundtrack is very much a part of the game and the surround mix is very discrete. The music is kinda pedestrian in my opinion, but the game play is pretty cool.

I remember The Show (maybe the '08 version??) baseball game for PS3 had one of the coolest of those DTS intro/demos, with lightning in the beginning and a sphere that break up into tiny pieces all around you; it was a surround feast. DTS always had some great demos that used to run in the beginning of movies and a lot of video games.
 
had a flick through some games and found some nice ones marked as either Q Sound, Pro Logic II, Dolby Surround, Dolby Digital, DTS/DTS Interactive or Dolby Audio.

here we go.. 😅😋

the only Sega Saturn and Sega Dreamcast games i could find that had any kind of Surround markings were all "Q Sound" and there weren't very many and almost all were Capcom titles.

from top L;

Sonic Adventure (PAL Dreamcast), Nights Into Dreams (PAL Saturn), Warriors Of Fate (Japanese Saturn), Dungeons & Dragons Collection (Japanese Saturn),

bottom row L to R;

Skies Of Arcadia (PAL Dreamcast), Tech Romancer (PAL Dreamcast), Marvel Vs Capcom 2 (PAL Dreamcast), Project Justice Rival Schools 2 (PAL Dreamcast)

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these were the GameCube titles (all PAL European releases) i could find that were said to be in Surround, all marked as Dolby Pro Logic II, with one exception (Super Monkey Ball in "Dolby Surround") from top L to bottom R;

Super Monkey Ball ("Dolby Surround"), Sonic Adventure DX Director's Cut, Spartan Total Warrior, Sonic Heroes, Billy Hatcher The Egg Catcher, Starfox Adventures, Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door, Soul Calibur II, WarioWorld, Phantasy Star Online Episode I&II, Metroid Prime, Super Mario Sunshine

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in Dolby Digital on the Original XBOX (all PAL European releases) from L to R;

Sega GT Online, Genma Onimushi, Dead Or Alive Ultimate, Otogi Myth Of Demons, Panzer Dragoon Orta, Chronicles Of Riddick Escape From Butcher Bay, Soul Calibur II, OutRun 2006 Coast To Coast, Guilty Gear X2 #Reload, Deathrow

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PAL UK Nintendo Wii in ProLogic II;

Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition, MarioKart Wii, Nights Journey Of Dreams, Madden NFL '08, Resident Evil The Umbrella Chronicles, Tomb Raider Anniversary, Wii Sports, The Legend Of Zelda Twilight Princess

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some Sony PS2 PAL UK titles in a variety of formats incl. DPLII, Dolby Digital, DTS, from L to R;

GTA San Andreas, GTA Vice City, Klonoa 2, Canis Canem Edit (aka Bully), Otaki, Soul Calibur III, Final Fantasy XII, Sonic Riders, Genji, Scarface The World Is Yours, The Getaway Black Monday, Tomb Raider The Angel Of Darkness, Resident Evil 4, Devil May Cry Dante's Awakening Special Edition, Rampage Total Destruction, Rayman 10th Anniversary, Street Fighter Alpha Anthology, Onimusha 3

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XBOX 360 PAL UK in Dolby Digital, L to R;

Phantasy Star Universe, Dead Or Alive 4, Lego Indiana Jones, Lego Batman 1 & 2, Lego Star Wars Complete Saga, Virtua Fighter 5, Sega Rally, Sonic Generations, Sonic Unleashed, Avatar The Burning Earth, Mass Effect 2, Civilization Revolution, Soul Calibur IV, Saints Row 2, Battlefield 2, Tomb Raider Legend, Virtua Tennis 3, TMNT, Ninja Gaiden II, PGR 3, GTA IV, Call Of Duty MW3

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Sony PS3 PAL UK in Dolby Digital, L to R;

Battlefield Bad Company 2, Resistance Fall Of Man, Infamous 2, Battle Fantasia, Resident Evil 5, Street Fighter IV, Super Street Fighter IV, Time Crisis 4, Soul Calibur IV, Dante's Inferno, Resistance 3, Borderlands The Pre-Sequel!, Call Of Duty Black Ops, Valkyria Chronicles, Red Dead Redemption, FIFA '09, Condemned, Madden NFL '08, Uncharted Drake's Fortune, COD MW3, Castlevania Lords Of Shadow

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Resident Evil: Village is one of those Dolby Atmos supported games, I played it in 5.1 with the lights off and it was very effective sitting right in the sweet spot. Lots of directionality and very realistic. Great game as well.

One of these days I might try connecting the analog outs from my GameCube to the Surround Master, just for fun.

I’ve got a couple GameCube games that support ProLogic as well and it’s pretty effective even if it is just matrixed.
 
a few PS4 PAL games in Dolby Audio or Dolby Digital (i barely game like i used to since my eyesight, reflexes etc all started going down the Green Hill Zone 🥳🙃🤣 )

Sonic Racing 30th Ann., Street Fighter V CE, Assassin's Creed Black Flag, Streets Of Rage 4, Soul Calibur VI, Bioshock Collection, MK Ultimate, Rise Of The Tomb Raider 20 Yr Celebration

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Digital only (… for the most part. There are physical discs sold through smaller boutique companies… and there may be a wider release) games people should check out: the games of Enhance Games/Tetsuya Mizuguchi. Mizuguchi got his start at Sega, making some of their odder, experimental games, and created one of my favorite games of all time, REZ. The version to get these days is REZ Infinite, which runs at 4K, 60 FPS, and now with the new PS5/PSVR2 version, HDR, as well as adding a brand new level, Area X which is a modern take on the game… and what I’ve been continuing to hope is the teaser for a full new game (there is a spiritual sequel of sorts, Child of Eden on the Xbox 360 using the Kinect, with a PS3 release that came a few years later)
The very first screen you see on boot claims that it’s best experienced with a surround system or headphones, and is classic 90’s trance/rave tunes in 7.1.
The game responds to your inputs, mixing in elements of the track in real time, whilst the controller vibrates and pulses and the screen explodes in colors. The intent is to create a state of synesthesia in the player. Easy to learn and play, difficult to truly master and get 100% enemy shoot-down rates.

The studio’s more recent, and probably more well known game is Tetris Effect, which recently added multiplayer modes and is now called Tetris Effect: Connected.

Not designed by Mizuguchi, but overseen by him, this applies the “dynamic surround music” formula of REZ Infinite to the classic game of Tetris. Not only is it a fantastic game, it’s 100% original soundtrack is one of my favorite electronic albums of recent years, and my 5 disc vinyl box set is a crown jewel in my collection. I was also fortunate enough to meet the designer and Mizuguchi in person at the only time I went to GDC. The enlightening talk about the game’s development I saw can be seen here.

Honorable mentions goes to Mizuguchi’s earlier attempt at a puzzle game with dynamic music, Lumines, but sadly as far as I know most entries have stereo audio only. A recent remaster of the first, Lumines Remastered is out on practically everything that runs video games as a digital download.

And their most recent title that they published rather than developed, HUMANITY, a puzzle game updating Lemmings for a modern generation. It came out all of 1 day before Tears of the Kingdom, which I would like to stress, I’ve been playing a lot of, so I haven’t been able to give it a spin to see if it has surround sound. I can vouch for it’s excellent streaming stereo soundtrack however:
 
@fredblue I didn't realize you're such a massive gamer! Good I made this thread, eh?
Resident Evil: Village is one of those Dolby Atmos supported games, I played it in 5.1 with the lights off and it was very effective sitting right in the sweet spot. Lots of directionality and very realistic. Great game as well.
Speaking of horror, I tried Alien: Isolation in 5.1 and it was so spooky I couldn't get through it...I didn't even get to meet the Alien!
 
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