Jeremy Rogers is an award winning sound designer for video games with over 10 years of experience. He has worked on some of the best game titles out there including the latest Uncharted 4. I was interested in his work on Call of Duty, Uncharted 4 and other great titles so I got in touch with him to talk more about the games he has worked on and his latest sound effects library “Normal Doors“.

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Brief list of credits

Uncharted 4, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Ghosts, Guitar Hero 3

Hi Jeremy, thank you for taking time to do this interview. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what got you into sound design?

I have been a sound designer for over 10 years now (yeah…I’m feeling a bit old, lol). I started my journey into the world of sound with music at an early age. I played piano first and then the clarinet. My family was also huge into movies. I loved both visuals and sound, but thought I was more geared toward sound. So, I went to college to learn Music Engineering, and found my place in post production sound design. I started in commercials and then fell into games through an alumni from my college. Games was exactly where I needed to be! It combines both technical know-how and creativity in a way that no other medium does within the world of sound design. It wasn’t an easy road. It took years to learn the skills and gain confidence. It was and still is hard work, but I love what I do!

Let’s talk about your newest library “Normal Doors” for a bit. There is plenty of door sounds around but you decided to record just normal door sounds. What led to this decision?

On my last project, at the very end with only a couple of hours left before lockdown, I needed a normal door opening and closing (with a small creak). For the life of me, I couldn’t find anything that worked in my libraries or the boutique libraries out there. I was so frustrated! It was just a door. I realized that most door libraries try to record every single type of door in the world. That means you end up not having a large variety of each type of door. So, I couldn’t find a large variety of just normal door opens and closes. I never wanted to be frustrated over a door sound again. That’s what lead me to make this library.

How long did you plan the library and how long did it take to complete the library?

I thought this would be a simple task actually. I thought I could record this within a month and release it a week or two after that. Wow, I was totally wrong. I found out that I had access to a plethora of doors. It took months to record, and then weeks to edit and master. It ended up taking 3 months in all.

Uncharted 4! How cool is it to be involved with such a great title!? How did you get involved with the project and what were your main responsibilities?

I know!! Uncharted 4! It was absolutely a dream come true. Uncharted is my favorite franchise in gaming. I feel in love with Uncharted 1. After playing the first game, I kept my eye out on any job openings at Naughty Dog. One day, a job popped up and I jumped at the chance. At Naughty Dog you wear many hats. I worked on all sorts of stuff in Uncharted 4. I did have to do the ambience for all the levels, so that was probably my main responsibility.

How long have you been working on Uncharted 4 and what would you say were main obstacles during the production?

I worked on Uncharted 4 for almost a year and a half. The main obstacle was time. There is only a finite amount of time to complete the game. There are only so many of us working on the project. Time-management was crucial and always something we needed more of.

What would you say it is your favorite sound in-game?

My favorite sound is one of the puzzles I did. I love Uncharted, and the puzzles are partly why I love the series so much. When I got to work on puzzles, I just had a smile on my face. This puzzle is in a basement and has a large spinning circular mechanic going on. It was really intricate, and had the classic Uncharted feel.

Your portfolio also says that you are familiar with game audio integration. How important do you think is it for a sound designer working in games to be familiar with middleware?

I would say it’s vital to be familiar with audio integration. Middleware is middleware. In my experience, it’s all pretty much the same. Once you know what you are doing with Wwise or FMOD, you can go from one to the other pretty effortlessly. It’s really all a concept that needs to be learned. But, in today’s world of sound design for games, I think it’s absolutely essential to be technical and know audio integration.

Let’s talk about your other projects. Call of Duty is one of the most recognized franchises out there. What were your tasks as a sound designer in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Ghosts?

For Advanced Warfare, I was working at Neversoft/Infinity Ward as a Lead for one of the levels. We worked closely with Sledgehammer and created all the sounds (and implementation) for that particular level. That was a really fun project to work on. The Sledgehammer guys are awesome and extremely talented. For Ghosts, I was a Senior Sound Designer at Neversoft working hand and hand with Infinity Ward on the entire project from conception to release. As with the whole team, we were involved in levels ideas, sound tool upgrades, gameplay ideas, etc. That title was a blast to work on, and I learned and grew a lot as a sound designer from it.

How different, would you say was the sound design when working on Guitar Hero 3 compared to other titles you have worked on?

Totally different, haha. Guitar Hero was very musically driven (especially with guitar sounds). It was more fantastical and humorous. The rest of the titles I’ve worked on are more grounded and hyper-real.

This one is for the gearheads. What tools and technology are you currently using and why?

I use Pro Tools primarily for editing, sound design and mixing. Pro tools is great. It’s what most people use in the industry in the US, and I’ve been using it so long that I’m quick at it. I use Soundminer for searching sounds and doing sound design as well. Soundminer is amazing. I used to use this tool only for searching sounds, but now that it has VST support, I actually do most of my sound design within the tool itself. It’s made my process very fast, which is what you need in the post production industry. My favorite new plugins are the FabFilter plugins. They sound amazing and the UI is beautiful. I love these plugins.

What are your favorite sound effects libraries?

Boutique sound libraries are exploding in popularity! As a sound designer, it’s been an incredible resource. I love what everyone is making out there. To name a few, I liking Boom Library, Tonsturm, Hiss and a Roar, The Recordist and Sound Dogs. Those are some of the bigger named ones. The smaller libraries are amazing as well, but there are too many to name!

What are you working on right now and can you tell us more about that project?

Right now we are working on DLC for Uncharted 4 multiplayer. We are adding new levels almost every month. We are also adding new weapons and some new special powers as well.

Any hints, tips or motivational speeches for the readers?

I would say that my biggest piece of advice is to keep at it! Sound design, like any creative art, is going to be hard and frustrating a lot of the time. It takes true perseverance to make it in a creative field. It’s a struggle, but it’s also an incredible honor and joy to make games. For sound designers just starting out, you should realize that it’s not an easy road. You will need to work harder than you think, but you will make it. You will learn and grow and become better. It’s worth it! So, my only advice is to keep going!

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