"In Baldur's Gate 3, when you wear shoes with metal on them, we wanted them to have a unique sound layer of metal clanks," explains one of Baldur's Gate 3's sound designers, Glenn Goa, in a video demonstrating where he sourced the sound effect. "I made some sabatons in the forge (I learned blacksmithing) and recorded an hour session of walking on various surfaces with them loosely on."
Oh, of course, that makes perfect sense. The whisper-quiet flex of the parenthetical "(I learned blacksmithing)" may haunt me for the rest of my days. It certainly sounds like he's saying he learned blacksmithing just to get the right sound for Baldur's Gate 3's many metal boots, though Goa may just be stating he learned to forge armor at some point in the past.
You know what, call me crazy, but I do detect something familiar in the 20-second clip of Goa tap dancing in his sabatons, the ghost of hundreds of hours I've spent clomping along the Sword Coast in various states of armored dress.
The lengths Goa went to ensure our platemail poulaines make the perfect patter are definitely what stood out to me most from his YouTube uploads, but the channel is rife with uncanny Baldur's Gate 3 test level demonstrations and strange anecdotes of where its many fantasy noises come from.
"Fire alone doesn't produce an interesting sound," Goa states in the description of a video showing Baldur's Gate 3's fireball spell, "So I combined various elements. These include cloth rips, canned air, and the sound of plastic melting.
"I used only two actual fire sources: a bonfire with significant crackle and a large torch that moved quickly past the microphone."
The image of a professional game developer swinging a lit torch past an expensive piece of hi-fi audio equipment has seared itself on my mind in a similar fashion to Goa's blacksmithing boast, and by god, I think it was all worth it.
Baldur's Gate 3's fireballs feel like an event, from the low roar that starts when you prepare the spell to that almost sci-fi whooshing sound immediately preceding its earth shattering kaboom. I don't know if 8d6 fire damage on its own would cut it without being accompanied by that audio feast.