Pyramind Studios blasts into 2016 with Ice Age: Arctic Blast, a new Match 3 title by Zynga and Eat Sleep Play, Inc. The Pyramind team provided music, voiceover, and sound design for the game, as well as assistance with implementation and direction. Based on the popular animated movie franchise by Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox, the game follows the antics of Sid, Manny, Diego, and crew as they puzzle their way through various episodes of meteor menace.
The gameplay follows the popular mobile formula of swiping to match and clear objects, similar to Bejeweled or Candy Crush. The game is filled with many fun movie inspired animations, designs, and character moments as the player collects gems, acorns, and meteorites as they advance across ice covered plains, glaciated oceans, rich forests, and dense dinosaur-infested jungles. There are currently 9 episodes released, with at least another 6 planned for future release.
Pyramind voiceover production manager Ophylia Wispling worked with Zynga and 20th Century Fox to produce the voiceover for the game, including many of the original voice actors from the films. Over 500 lines of dialog were recorded in Los Angeles, featuring the talents of Simon Pegg as Buck, Josh Peck as Crash/Eddie, John Leguizamo as Sid, Jeff Bergman as Manny, Tim Nordquist as Diego, and Connie Jackson as Ellie. The VO brings the game to life with fun and whimsical commentary from the movie characters.
The music and sound design were produced by Pyramind’s Jeremy Garren, composer and audio designer, who worked closely with Pyramind’s Creative Director Greg Gordon and the team at Eat Sleep Play to develop and help implement all of the audio for the game. The orchestral score was produced virtually based on the original music of John Powell and David Newman from the Ice Age movies. The sounds also closely referenced the film direction wherever possible, from Scrat’s tiny feet scrabbling across the ice to Manny stomping through the wilderness. Because many of the animations in the game were set to repeat on infinite cycles as the player worked on a game board, development and implementation strategies were required to combat sonic fatigue, from voice limiting, to 3D positional roll-off, to using multiple iterations of the same sounds.
“Getting the music right was an interesting challenge because of the need to balance so many creative requirements. It had to be fun, lighthearted, and reminiscent of the film music, but also stay within a very narrow energy band because of the risk to repetition and player fatigue. Finding the right mix was key as I juggled inspirational sources from both Ice Age and Farmville Harvest Swap.”
“Undoubtedly the most challenging, (but fun) sounds I worked on were the Dodos and Baby Dinos – because in the films, these elements are largely character performances rather than sound design. The end results had me on a microphone squawking like a dodo and crooning like a dinosaur, and then modifying and mixing those recordings with other animal sounds like turkeys and raccoons. Surprisingly, a raccoon makes a great Ice Age baby dinosaur sound – it’s amazingly close to the mark for what they used in the films.”