Cygames Facilities Vol.3: New Sound Studio

At Cygames, we have a number of facilities that allow games of the highest quality to be created within the company. We’ll be introducing some of these on-site resources in our “Cygames Facilities” series.
In this third volume, we’ll be sharing an inside look at our Tokyo sound studios together with the sound department’s office.

From voice to video—a multipurpose audio recording studio.

We’ve had a recording studio in operation at our Tokyo Cygames office since the spring of 2016. It’s used for a wide range of purposes, including not only voice and sound effect recordings, but also recordings for radio programs and livestreams, as well as audio postproduction for promotional videos, commercials, and animation.

(Above) The control room. (Below) The recording booth, featuring a spacious layout designed to support numerous uses.

The studio is furnished with equipment for a variety of functions. For example, there are desks and chairs for radio recordings in which participants are often seated, green curtains for compositing backgrounds in video recordings, and track lighting for boosting and readjusting the lighting of the room. In addition to recordings, livestreams are also broadcast from this studio.

Brand-new specialized sound studios! Creating an environment focused on quality and usability.

The aforementioned studio has seen frequent use since its inception, and as demand increased in conjunction with the number of our internal projects, there were times it was occupied and unavailable when staff members needed to use it. In order to solve this problem, we’ll be opening a new group of studios in our Tokyo office to be utilized alongside it!
The new studios are in the process of receiving some final touches, with August 2020 as the target date for the grand opening. They’ll feature specialized equipment for each and every sound-related function, even more than our current Tokyo office studio. Let’s take a sneak peek at the facilities prior to their unveiling!

The entrance has been given a chic finish centered around black—the corporate color of Cygames—with brickwork styling adding to the fashionable atmosphere.

The first thing you see upon entering are the editing rooms.

In the workspace located on a separate floor, each staff member’s desk is equipped with speakers so they can perform sound checks at their seat when needed. However, when making final quality adjustments, it’s essential to listen carefully and balance the sound using more enhanced speakers in a space that can maximize their performance.

Editing can be done in the control room of the existing sound studio, but since it’s a single space and attached to the recording booth, it can’t be used during recordings, and is thus limited by studio availability. However, the new sound studios are equipped with six editing rooms designed specifically for this purpose, enabling sound designers to bring in their laptops and adjust the balance at a high volume on 7.1.4-channel surround speakers.

Each room is also furnished with its own monitor, allowing audio to be matched to the game or video being produced. According to the sound department, the new editing rooms were designed with the optimum number and equipment in mind, in order to provide users with the highest quality sound!

By the way, when you step into one of the editing rooms, you’ll notice a type of power outlet that you may never have seen before!

As described by the sound department, there are three types of outlets provided—100V and 115V variants for audio equipment, and ordinary outlets (100V) for general use. For the audio equipment outlets, voltage is lowered and adjusted from 200V to the appropriate level and supplied to each room via a transformer located in a separate room.

A lot of foreign-made sound equipment is designed to be operated at higher voltages than the Japanese standard of 100V, so using 115V is said to produce the originally intended sound. Although a boost converter can be used to achieve a high voltage, our new studios lower the voltage from a dedicated 200V line and transmit it to the outlets in each room, in order to eliminate noise generated by the electrical current. As even the slightest amount of distortion can affect sound quality, extensive efforts have been made to eliminate noise by using top-tier equipment.

Continuing down the hallway, you’ll find a stylish waiting area reminiscent of a cafe, complete with high tables and elegant lighting.

High tables were selected so that they could be easily used by voice actors and managers visiting the studio, even while standing. Naturally, it’s also possible to sit down and work in one of the raised chairs. Even small meetings can be held here.
The indirect lighting also creates a warm, relaxing atmosphere to allow for people to take a break between recordings.

Three studios for different purposes—the sound department’s passion.

Three studios are located on the far side of the waiting area. All are equipped with a recording booth, recording equipment, and wall monitors, but each has its own purpose and ambience.

Studio A is furnished with 7.2.4-channel surround speakers and features an interior that calls to mind a “tropical resort.”

The control room has a spacious area behind the work desk, allowing a large number of people to simultaneously check the sound for commercials and promotional videos while watching the video on the monitor. Surround sound (stereophonic sound) checks for projects such as console games can also be performed under optimal conditions by listening in front of the work desk in the center of the room.

Studio B is slightly more compact than Studio A and features 5.1-channel surround speakers, with the rear speakers suspended from the ceiling. The room’s design is also completely different, exuding a relaxed aura evocative of a “vacation home away from the hustle and bustle of the city.”

The recording booths are located next to the control rooms in both Studios A and B. Although smaller than in Cygames’ existing studio, they provide the ideal sound environment for solo voice and song recordings. Also, as in other similar facilities, the recording booth and adjacent control room can see each other through a glass window and communicate via microphones.

(Left to Right) The recording booths for Studio A and Studio B. Their relaxed ambience will make you feel as though you’re lounging at home. Microphone stands are set up for use during recording sessions.

Next up is Studio C.
Unlike A and B, this studio is dedicated to stereo sound. The decor features a luxurious gothic design with red as the dominant color.

The recording booth is larger in comparison to Studios A and B. Like our existing studio, it can accommodate radio recordings with a table and face-to-face seating, as well as small-scale instrumental recordings. In contrast to the layout of A and B, the window for communicating with the control room is larger and located in front of the studio desk.

These new studios are the result of the sound department’s desire to make visitors feel comfortable and allow them to enjoy a unique experience. Even the furnishings in each room such as the side tables and cushions were individually selected by the staff!

In addition, during their creation, the subcontractors made a great deal of effort in terms of design and supervision. The sound department communicated its concept and desired specifications to the subcontractors, who then created the actual design. All aspects of the decor such as curtains and pillars were calculated down to the very last detail, not only in terms of design, but functionality as well, including the layout and materials.

A behind-the-scenes glimpse at the sound department’s office! Creating an environment filled with the hopes of our creators.

Next, we infiltrated the sound department’s office area, which was relocated to coincide with the establishment of our new sound studios!
We previously introduced our standard desk spaces at Cygames in “Creating an Office Dedicated to Development” (The Cygames Workspace Vol.3), but the sound department’s work area is equipped to its own unique specifications.

The desks for the sound design and music teams are wider than the norm at Cygames, in order to provide them with more space for their additional equipment, such as electronic keyboards and speakers.

A sound design team member’s desk.

Partitions are made of felt, a sound-absorbing fabric. Since team members work using speakers as well as headphones, this material is used to reduce mutual audio interference while also eliminating echoes within the booth. And in addition to ensuring a sense of privacy so designers can concentrate on their work, the partitions are installed at a height that facilitates communication by allowing team members to speak with their colleagues simply by straightening up in their chair.

Other desks of different shapes and sizes are available in the area used by sound administrators and assistants, who perform the initial setup and inspection of audio equipment before it’s delivered to staff members.

A sound administrator’s desk.

Peeking through the door next to the office area, you’ll see a small room outfitted with a TV screen and 5.1.2-channel surround speakers connected to a consumer AV receiver. Team members can gather here to play games with full surround sound through the AV receiver.

During the interview, we requested Granblue Fantasy: Versus to test the equipment, giving us the chance to enjoy the game with seriously intense sound

When developing console games, it’s important to output audio in a setting similar to that of actual end users, so according to the staff, a heavy focus was put on creating a production environment to support this thorough approach.

That’s it for our up-close look at the new sound studios and the sound department’s office area.
At Cygames, we’ll continue to foster an optimal environment for creating the best in entertainment!