Wolverine's the best he is at what he does and he'll be back in movie theaters on Friday, May 1 in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine"!
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So sharpen your claws and dig in,
By Rob Bricken
Other than possibly "thwip," "snikt" is the most famous effect in the Marvel universe—so sound designer Andy Bayless had a heck of a responsibility to make sure Wolverine's adamantium claws made the proper noise when he unleashes them on his foes in Raven Software's "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" video game, due out on May 1. In this 5-part interview series, the developers at Raven discuss making the ultimate Wolverine video game; in this first installment, Bayless talks about the real sound of the claws, recording with Hugh Jackman and why he had to destroy so much fruit.
Marvel.com: How much access did you have to the movie's sounds?
Andy Bayless: As a development team, Raven had valuable access to inside production information related to the movie. While every sound effect in the game is 100% original and designed specifically for the
Marvel.com: Jackman, Schreiber and Will.i.am reprise the roles for the game. How was it determined which stars would work on the game?
Andy Bayless: It's important to have talent from the film also represent their characters in the game. It helps the player to build a deeper connection between the characters in the movie and their counterparts in the game. It also allows the player to continue their adventure with these characters, instead of renewing it and feeling detached. Having said that, all of the performers listed above brought exceptional work to our game, and we're happy to have had the opportunity to work with them. Determining which movie talent will be pursued to work on the game involves the amount of voice work required, the overall impact the performance will have on the game's narrative, and obviously schedules and budgets are a factor as well. Ultimately, decisions are made to give the gamer the best experience possible.
Marvel.com: Do you have any memorable anecdotes about recording with Hugh?
Andy Bayless: I think one the funniest and most memorable lines we had recorded was one where Mr. Jackman combined his signature Wolverine tagline with his "sexiest man alive" title from People Magazine. "I'm the best there is at what I do…and I'm the sexiest man alive."
Marvel.com: In previous interviews, you revealed that you made a lot of the combat sounds by destroying produce. How much fruit was sacrificed for the Wolverine game?
Andy Bayless: Indeed, lots of innocent produce was sacrificed to record some very convincing combat sound effects. During one session, I totally demolished a watermelon and got some really great splattery-type sounds for claw impacts. The downside was that my office smelled like a delicious watermelon for the rest of the day, and it really made me crave one.
Marvel.com: What was the craziest sound effect you were asked to create?
Andy Bayless: One group of effects that required some interesting ideas was the vocalizations of the Leviathan—a large and terrifying swamp beast that's exclusive to our game that Wolverine encounters in his jungle missions. I layered several animal snarls and growls and then added some vomiting sounds to get it kind of wet and slobbery. Monsters are always a bit cooler and scarier when they drool and slobber! Fortunately, we already had lots of nauseating sound effects in our library to use, so I didn't have to record any myself!
Marvel.com: What is the sound of Wolverine's claws actually made by?
Andy Bayless: Most of Wolverine's claw sounds were designed using layers of various sword and blade sounds. When his claws blast out of his hands, there is also some subtle flesh tearing to help sell the idea that the claws are bursting through his skin.
Marvel.com: Did you manage to sneak your own voice into the game?
Andy Bayless: At one point very early in development, my voice was the only voice in the game! Back then we only had a handful of characters and needed some voices for combat testing—pains, attack grunts, deaths, etc. So I just recorded myself in an effort to save time for testing purposes. It sounded kind of silly, actually—you'd hear my voice as Wolverine did a big attack, and that would be followed by my voice again as the enemy soldier was killed. Eventually we recorded tons of people for temporary voice work, and all of that was later replaced with the professional work that ships in the final game. It's definitely a lot of fun to play a character in the game, but I'm not a very good actor. The professional actors and actresses we hired to perform voices in the game all did excellent work.
Marvel.com: What's your favorite moment in both the game and the movie?
Andy Bayless: My favorite moment from the game is definitely the battle against the giant Sentinel robot. It's a classic X-Men villain that gets a spotlight in our game and really shines. It's also one of the most intense and epic battles players will face in the game, and I think people will really enjoy it. My favorite moments in the game that are in the movie as well are the interactions between Wolverine and Sabretooth. The actors really understand who these characters are, and the complex chemistry between them is always interesting to watch.
Come back tomorrow for another behind-the-scenes Q&A.
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For more Wolverine, check out Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited. Like gaming? The official "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" video game hits stores May 1! And remember: "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" comes to a theater near you on May 1—visit the official "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" movie site!
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