Dead Block - Rock and trap zombies!

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Dead Block Developer Q&A - Chapter 5: The Sounds of Dead Block

Answered by: Jens Jankuhn and Roger Joswig


1. How did the collaboration with Vampyre State Building come about

JJ: Back in 1994 I was a guitar player in a band which was a support act for Vampyre State Building. Me and my friends became fans of this band and started following their career in music. When we decided that Dead Block was going to take place in the 50’s they were my first choice for the soundtrack. What I like about their music is that it’s very diverse and not as clichéd as other Rock’n’Roll bands of today.

2. What were you looking for when you were casting the narrator’s voice?

JJ: For the level intros, we were heavily influenced by the horror and sci-fi movie trailers of the 50’s and 60’s. Dead Block is meant to be a 50’s TV horror show and the intro to each level is meant to be a trailer or intro to each episode of the TV show.

So we were looking for a voice talent that could give their voice this theatrical timbre which is so characteristic of these old B-movie trailers.

3. Where did you record him?

JJ: The recording was outsourced and managed by Periscope Studios, who also the did the Sound FX for Dead Block. The main narrator and the different character voices were recorded in Chicago, IL in the United States.

4. Tell us about the role that Rock’n’Roll plays in the world of Dead Block.

RJ: It doesn’t get fully explained in the game if Rock’n’Roll is really responsible for turning people into Zombies. But it is obvious that it has something to do with it. Rock’n’Roll is the deadliest weapon against the Zombies in Dead Block – it can make the Zombies dance till death.

The explanation for this might be that the rude beat of Rock’n’Roll makes the Zombies dance so aggressively that they exert themselves and suffer a quick death. Besides the gameplay and story aspects, the music adds a huge amount to the 50’s atmosphere of the game.

5. What influences did the music have on the actual game design?

RJ: The player can use guitar equipment to play Rock’n’Roll on his own or use a Jukebox to play a devastating song. They can use music as a powerful weapon and so we decided that the music should have an actual role in the level and be part of the overall game goal. Finding all the instruments and a place to play some Rock’n’Roll is key to completing a few of the levels.

6. How did you handle the sound design for the game?

JJ: I wanted the sounds of the game quite realistic and not cartoony. The reason for that was that I didn’t want the game to appear too childish or cartoony/funny with “dings” and “doings” and suchlike. I created some rough placeholder sounds as reference for our outsourcing partner Periscope Studios, who then created the actual sound effects for the game.

The original soundtrack for the game was composed by members of the band Vampyre State Building, and we’re very pleased with the Rock’n’Roll influence it brings to the game. I always liked the band and was very excited when I heard that we had reached an agreement with them to do some tracks exclusively for Dead Block. I expected the tracks to be good but the first time we heard the rough recordings our whole team went delirious. The songs fit the game perfectly from start to finish and we think they’re just brilliant.