Following feedback from the Fortnite community, developer Epic Games has detailed new plans to adjust spatial audio cues in-game. Epic is reworking current sounds as well as adding new ones in hopes players can rely on audio to survive. In a post on their blog, the developer outlines specific changes that are coming to the game within the next week, as well as larger plans that will arrive in the months to follow.
This is the first concrete information we’ve received so far in terms of what’s coming with the big Season 6 update. True to form, Epic has kept players in the dark until the last possible moment regarding the upcoming season’s theme, content, and finer details. Let’s take a look at what players can expect to see (or rather, hear).
First steps towards improved audio: Updates coming Sept. 27
Earlier today, Epic confirmed the new season goes live on Thursday, Sept. 27. When it does, players can expect to hear revamped footstep sounds. In particular, there will be more contrast between how steps above a player sound in comparison to the steps below. Epic explains that the goal is for these to sound more clear. Especially in Fortnite, there is often a cacophony of players shooting, building, and harvesting. This results in specific sounds getting lost in the noise. Furthermore, additional high frequencies will be added to existing audio sounds, hopefully making steps cut through the audio mix and allow players to pinpoint their location.
Aside from updates to footsteps, there are some audio changes coming to the use of Gliders. While adding clarity to footsteps is an understandable addition, revising Gliders is less obvious, as they already make a fair amount of noise when used. That being said, Epic still wishes to increase player awareness. The first change involves “Doppler-based glider audio.” This mimics the sound of when a vehicle passes by, with audio affected by motion. Lastly, players will soon be able to hear Gliders from an even further distance.
Further updates throughout Season 6
However, these initial changes are not all that Epic has planned for the game’s audio. At some point later in Season 6, Epic will roll out additional changes. The first of these is a “system to add audio tells for in-air movement options,” such as falling and Shockwave Grenades. Essentially, this means that players will now make a sound as they fly through the air. The reasoning behind this decision is because Epic wants to provide players with “additional tactical information” for when players are launching near each other.
With the addition of the double-barrel shotgun, this is a fairly appreciated change. A popular tactic for close-quarters combat is to fly in toward an opponent and blast them at point-blank. Currently, there is very little players can do to counter another player landing directly on top of them. Unless they are able to land a high-damage shot immediately, it’s almost a guaranteed elimination against them.
While these are the only specific changes listed thus far, more are sure to follow. Epic also detailed some high-level concepts that they are experimenting with. Some of these include Sound Propagation and HRTF filtering. For those unfamiliar, these are two different ways in which sound travels and replicates interaction with distance and physical objects.
That summarizes what we know so far about Season 6. With changes to the game’s audio, Epic is further refining their title and fine-tuning it for competitive play. What are some additional changes you’d like to see? As always, we love hearing from you, so sound off in the comments below.