Delivering their most ambitious project yet in Humankind required Amplitude Studios to bring their A-game in every department, including the audio one.
While it's usually the last thing we consciously perceive, there's no true immersion without audio, and that's regardless of the genre. 4X games may not require the complex audio sequences of action scenes, but the soundscape can make a huge difference in turning that 15-minute session into a 4 hour one.
Humankind has 11 biomes representing our planet's climate, covering everything from polar to desert settings. The devs went to all sorts of locations ensuring they capture each's biophony, i.e. the combination of sounds you'd normally hear in a biome.
Vallee de Eaux Claire was used extensively for recording bird sounds, which Amplitude did at dawn and dusk, when birds are most chatty.
Interestingly enough, it all starts with what Amplitude jokingly called the sounds of silence, i.e. recording of the location with minimum animal, or plane sounds for that matter. Scotland and Grand Canyon in the US turned out to be perfect starting points, allowing the team to weave in the rest of the sounds later.
Amplitude recorded geysers in Yellowstone and even went as far as climbing the Mount Etna in Sicily, Italy, to record the volcano sounds, and it doesn't get more dedicated than that.
As a result, Humankind uses an adaptive system that adapts to what the player sees. Broad overhead moves will mostly be reserved for biomes, but zooming in and looking at a jungle will, of course, switch to the jungle biophony.
Humankind is a 4X strategy by Amplitude Studios and Sega, and it's set for launch sometime in 2021.