Ubisoft Went To Chernobyl To Record Sound For ‘The Division 2’
In The Division 2, Washington DC has been largely cleared of people. First through plague, and then the marauders who followed. The city is empty - given over to nature. Plants grow over the stonework and animals walk without caution through the streets. It's civilisation become uncivilised. However, in reality, the US's capital is full of life and bustle, so where on Earth could Ubisoft go to record an abandoned city?
Why, Chernobyl, of course.
In a video put out by Ubisoft detailing the work the studio did to create the audio for The Division 2, audio director Simon Koudriatsev explains the team had to go somewhere to capture the silence of a city.
"We actually ended up going to Chernobyl," The Division 2's audio director Simon Koudriatsev explains in a video Ubisoft released. "It did have some recording opportunities that I think are not available elsewhere. What we got there, if you listen back to it, is quite eerie. There is actually still wildlife there but there is no presence of human life."
The Russian town of Pripyat was evacuated in 1986 after problems at the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant caused it to vent plumes of radioactive steam into the atmosphere. Since then the town has been uninhabitable - though, regular tours let visitors go and see how nature has taken it back over. It's a strange place. The population had to leave in such a hurry it looks like a normal functioning city - except that, because there is no one there to maintain it, the concrete is crumbling, plants are spreading over the buildings, and the furniture that was left behind is rotting away.
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The town has been used in games a few times before, it's the setting of the Stalker series, where you play a scavenger exploring the nuclear wasteland for artifacts you can sell on the black market. You face threats from the army garrisons stationed there, irradiated creatures that prowl the land, and strange radioactive pockets that, if you step into them, can tear you into pieces.
Though, perhaps most famously, it was the setting of the All Ghillied Up mission in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. In that you play Captain Price as you infiltrate the city to try and assassinate Imran Zakhaev.
It's worth watching the full video, as it's full of interesting details of how game audio is created.
Featured Image Credit: Ubisoft