Dropping things in Alien: Isolation for fun and profit

When the player removes a door brace, the last bit of the (mostly non-interactive) animation is of Ripley dropping the contraption off to her right with a nice clunk. Great. Great!

But: that clunk sound comes from the left channel. Listen/watch carefully. Headphones might help. (The sound of the wrench turning also illustrates a similar issue.)

I think it's pretty clear that this is weird, but it isn't technically inaccurate. As Ripley drops the door brace, the player’s view pans right and rotates slightly counter-clockwise. Obviously, doing this would angle pretty much anyone’s left ear closer to the ground—so, yeah, the sound "should" be louder on the left.[1]

But that’s the problem; it’s accurate for Ripley, but it isn’t true to how I actually perceive/interact with the game space. This is maybe counterintuitive for first person games,[2] since ostensibly Ripley’s eyes are supposed to be my eyes and Ripley’s ears are supposed to be my ears; but creating that illusion isn’t simply a matter of mapping her senses directly onto mine. The sound should really just come from the right channel.


  1. Have I reached that point where the word “left” looks mega weird? Left left left left left left left left left.  ↩

  2. As a fun exercise, imagine playing a third-person game where sound directionality is based on the player avatar, not the camera. I think that would be a similar weirdness, writ large.  ↩