Keanu Reeves isn’t just a pretty face in Cyberpunk 2077. As the latest Night City Wire broadcast shows, he’s also helping the developers with a serious aspect of the process: capturing vehicle sounds to be used in the game.
Reeves is co-founder of Arch Motorcycle, along with his business partner Gard Hollinger. The company makes custom bikes off existing production platforms. Reeves said that the devs mentioned they were fans of Arch bikes and that they would like to put some of them in the game. Arch had a design already, designated Method 143, which apparently helped inspire the developers for the virtual counterpart which will appear in the final game.
As for the actual sound recording process, Reeves went out with Hollinger and sound engineers from CD Projekt RED to the California City Municipal Airport, then rigged up a Method 143 with microphones next to the engine, drivetrain, and exhaust to capture the sounds of the motorcycle as it ran at various speeds, as well as idling. Reeves said, “I’m sure they will have played with (the sound), but the source will be pure!”
The Arch sound capture sessions are only a small part of the tremendous efforts CDPR sound designers and engineers have undertaken to capture vehicle sounds for the game. Senior sound designer Krzysztof Lipka stated, “Cars are very, very complex in terms of sound and it’s very difficult to get all the necessary components you have to have to make it sound believable.” The efforts even extended to getting the sound of Johnny Silverhand’s Porsche 911 right. Lipka and his team captured sound off a Porsche 930 which they put on a dynometer. As sound designer Grzegorz Michalak explained, “The Porsche 930 we recorded is the only car really that would be sounding like the real car in the real world.” Over forty different vehicles were recorded, which Michalak noted, “Not often do we record so many vehicles for a game that is not really a racing game.”