Joining us today for a quick recap of 2021 is Mátyás Csernák, CEO at Grand Beats Production. Grand Beats Production is an audio production studio specializing in video game SFX, music, voice overs, and audio implementation.
Mátyás Csernák, CEO at Grand Beats Production
How did 2021 treat Grand Beats Production?
Our studio is one of those lucky service providers that managed to have had dozens of meetings at several physical game development conferences in Europe before the COVID. For this reason, we had a lot of potential partners who brought us a lot of new projects in 2021. From my perspective, since the majority of the game dev events moved to online, now it is much more difficult to approach new game development studios and find new potential partners, what is crucial for a game audio production studio like us. If we hadn’t been able to extend our network before the pandemic, it would have been quite difficult to kick-off new cooperations now, I guess.
On the other side, the pandemic had a positive effect on the growth of the game industry, with millions of people playing games more than ever — that means our partners, too, have seen their sales grow, so they can invest more in development and outsourcing, for example in immersive game audio experiences in their games.
Among our success stories in 2021 I would definitely mention our Audio Journey optimized for web browsers. Developers can now experience an adaptive and interactive audio concept on our website and, more critically, they can now understand the importance of audio in video games more — and that is our mission.
What development or trend that you saw in 2021 do you consider critical for your niche?
I can mention the next-gen consoles, their new technologies and methods for audio implementation and reproduction determined by new hardware and software. As a jury member of the White Nights Dev Contest this year, I had a unique chance to dive deeper into the current trends: what kind of prototypes and games indie studios are crafting in their “laboratories.” While it didn’t come as a surprise to developers or us that in 2021 we would talk a lot about Binaural audio, Tempest 3D audio technology and other VR audio solutions, we got several projects which required the aforementioned audio-related XP. I think our team of audio designers and programmers handled the first wave of these projects very well, so now we are ready to port our new audio journeys for PS5/XBOX Series X, or to optimize for Oculus Quest 2. This is something we are very proud of.
As a company, what are you going to strategically focus on in 2022?
Besides the hyperrealistic sound perspective in PC and console games, in 2022 we are going to focus on three other main fields to strengthen our market position and the role of the audio in video game development industry:
- AAA audio in your pocket — The mobile game industry is growing exponentially. Mobile game developers have to be aware of how to achieve better results in their business and how to attract the players with their projects among thousands and thousands of mobile games. So in my opinion, they will be forced to look for competitive advantages they can rely on to make their game stand out. Game and level design, monetisation, or marketing are important. So far, developers have tended to “forget” about audio in their games. From now on, though, a reward-based and interactive audio concept with psychological effects (all these optimised into just a few MB) will become increasingly important in free-to-play and premium mobile games.
- Custom audio engine — We are at an advanced stage of developing our own audio engine, that will facilitate audio integration and adaptive music implementation for developers without using any third-party middleware. Hopefully after the successful testing and debugging of this system in our projects, the engine will come to life and will be available for indie game developers.
- Game Audio Professionals Association Czech — With our Czech and Slovak friends from the game audio industry, we have established an association that will represent all the above mentioned topics on different levels. Workshops, talks, conferences and many other activities will help to create a lot of useful content both for developers and audio professionals.
Grand Beats Production
What games were you personally excited about as a gamer?
Definitely Little Nightmares II. After playing the first episode, this puzzle-platform horror adventure was the game I couldn’t wait for this year. On behalf of our studio, I can absolutely promise that the audio dramaturgy featuring signature melodies, adaptive musical moods and immersive sound effects will give you goosebumps when you play the game. It is a quite good mix of game mechanics, story, immersive audiovisual / gaming experience and thoughtful puzzle-solving.