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Creating Sound: 3x5 Interview with Robin Arnott

Interview with Robin Arnott, Antichamber's Sound Designer. Reposted from

Interview with Robin Arnott by George Hufnagl

[This is a repost from Interview by George Hufnagl.] 

Website | Twitter: @RAGameSound


1) Starting with the word “one” and increasing by increments of one thereafter, list 5 points that describe yourself.

One person on a project gets awful lonesome.

Two years is not such a long time.

Three hours is a great length for a game - more single sitting games please!

Four trips to New York every year would make me a happy chappy if I could squeeze ‘em all in.

Five+ Senses boil down to one synesthetic experience zOMG mind aSPLODE!

2) If you could have a five-finger discount on any piece of software, what would it be?

Native Instruments Komplete - but mostly just Kontakt and Reaktor. I’ve been spending a lot of time with the Gl33k folks - they rock a super musical approach to sound design that I’m finding really inspiring.

3) Describe what the number 5 would sound like if it were in human form.



1) If you were to replace one of the Beatles, who would it be? Who would you put in his place?

Replace John Lennon with Trent Reznor... I just really wanna know what that would sound like.

2) What are your four favorite sound design tools?

My cheap Zoom H4 - MAN has that thing given me some mileage. Equally important - a comfortable belt-bag for it. Otherwise I’d never bring it anywhere.

3) Finish the countdown: 4...3...2...1...

[pregnant silence]


1) What are three reasons you’re working with sound?

It’s subversive in the way it affects people. We’re visual creatures, so we’re less critical of what we hear - even though it has just as large an impact on our perception, than we are of what we see. If I could be a smell designer for games I might have done that. Speaking of perception...

I’m really interested in sensation and the mind/body relationship (not to imply that they’re separate things...). Sound has a fascinating role in that.

The tools are THE MOST FUN to work with!!!

2) Of the following, what would you buy if you had a spare $100 and why? 3-piece suit, 3 super cheap mics, 3 blind mice?

A three piece suit... I really need to do my laundry, and that’d give me an extra day.

3) What are three games that are your go-to examples for great sound design?

Limbo, Journey, Proteus


1) Two issues that invariably come up when working are...

Communication. It’s really important to design how the design happens.

Why are we doing this, aside from just to make something cool? The best projects I’ve worked on have cultural or personal ambitions that reach beyond being fun.

2) What are two pieces of advice you would give to someone eager to get into sound design?

Don’t stay too focused! Game Design, Art Design, Sound Design, it’s all the same thing.

Don’t stay too focused! You never know where inspiration will come from.

3) Finish the line: “Two sound designers walk into a bar...”

Says the bartender, “Another pitcher with your breakfast, gentlemen?” **(see footnote)


1) Name one sound design task that could be improved with technology.

Creative association. Seriously! I’ve long dreamed of a system that randomly plays sounds at me all day while I work, so I may accidentally discover some synchresises (what IS the plural of that word?) that I couldn’t have reached inductively. Such a system could be pretty simple, but I don’t think anyone’s invented it yet. I’ve tried twice, and it was inelegant and horrible both times. I WOULD PAY MONEY FOR THIS!

2) “This one time, I was working on a project and...”

I saw my favorite microphone engulfed in flames.

3) What is the first thing you do after completing a project?

Wonder when the next set of tweaks need to be done by. But at least I’ll be wondering from the springs and not the studio.

**footnote: Teeheehee! But srsly...they are almost certainly both gentlemen, which is a shame.

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