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Creating Sound: 3x5 Interview with Samuel Justice

George Hufnagl swims across the pond to interview British sound designer, Samuel Justice. With credits including Dear Esther as well as a new in-house position at EA DICE, Samuel talks about listening, experimenting and getting chased away by a pig farmer

3x5 Interview with Samuel Justice

[George Hufnagl swims across the pond to interview British sound designer, Samuel Justice. With credits including the chinese room's Dear Esther as well as a new in-house position acquired at EA DICE, Samuel talks a bit about listening, experimenting and getting chased away by a pig farmer. Additional video is available at the original source,]

Sam Justice's Website | Samuel on Twitter


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

  • One day I hope to own my own theme park.
  • Two times a year I like to take a step back and not do any work for a small period of time to recharge the batteries.
  • Three really is the magic number.
  • Four extra channels in the engine please.
  • Five years later I hope to be doing the same thing.

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

Ben Minto's sound library. Does that count? It's pretty incredible.

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

Big and beefy, not so punchy but more a long drawn out sub bass extravaganza.


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

Take Ringo Starr out and replace him with a death metal drummer, I would love to hear what that would sound like.

2) What are your four favorite sound design tools?

Nuendo, Kontakt, Mic and Recorder

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

Can we start again? I forgot to press record


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

Love of videogames and gaming culture


Right places at the right times

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?

Enough Red Bull to last me the week

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

Bioshock - I love the organic nature of the sound design

Mass Effect series - One of my favourite abstract sci fi soundscapes, and it’s so consistent throughout music and sound design. A fantastic achievement.

Brink - I really like the sound direction in that game


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

Staring at a blank piece of paper

Tweaking with stuff too much

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

I tried my hardest to sum it up into two points, but I just can’t. But these are the tips that have helped me grow -

  • Listen to the world around you.
  • Never over complicate things as the simplest solution is usually the best.
  • Venturing into the world of game audio is incredibly daunting as there is not only a huge amount of technical sound stuff to learn but also the game engines themselves, don't panic and don't let it stop you.
  • If you have questions don't be afraid to ask.
  • There will always be people who are bigger and better than you, instead of getting intimidated and put off, ask them for advice to help yourself learn and grow.
  • Don't try and be a perfectionist, it won't work, sound in its very nature is inconsistent.
  • Experiment with audio and have fun, it's a wild ride.

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

They’re both so tired from working that they pass out on the table before the drinks have arrived.


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

File management and sound library editing. I would like a robot to do this for me.

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

I got chased off a farm by the owner of the land. I was out field recording and stumbled across a pig farm, the pigs were making horrible sounds and I was trying to get the best performance I could out of them. I was subsequently chased away by the farmer.

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

Go back and continue tweaking the audio hoping that I can improve it in a post release patch.

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