Leeds Beckett provided the perfect environment for me to develop my skills
Student spotlight | Lewis Barn, MSc Sound & Music for Interactive Games
Lewis Barn is a junior sound designer at PlayStation. Following a background in music production, he studied on the MSc Sound and Music for Interactive Games course at Leeds Beckett University with the goal of working within the games industry.
- Course: MSc Sound & Music for Interactive Games
Tell us a bit about yourself and what drew you to study on the Sound and Music for Interactive Games course at Leeds Beckett?
From the moment I watched a behind the scenes featurette on Foley artists in the extras menu of a Star Wars game when I was young, I instantly had an interest in video game audio. I loved the crossover between technology and creativity that came with developing a video game. While I had originally set out to study music production, I was spending more time practising my sound design skills and field recording than recording and composing music, so I decided to follow this passion, leading me to look into the Sound and Music for Interactive Games course at Leeds Beckett.
What made you choose Leeds Beckett?
I decided to look into studying at Leeds Beckett after hearing a lot of praise about the Sound and Music for Interactive Games course through several networking events. Given that the tutors had literally written the book on game audio implementation in Unreal Engine, it seemed like a no-brainer. Equally, while there were lots of learning resources online, I wanted to surround myself with like-minded, passionate people to fully develop my skill set in a way that wasn’t possible anywhere else.
Can you tell us a bit more about working as a Junior Sound Designer at Sony PlayStation?
It has always been a dream of mine to work at PlayStation Studios. As a junior sound designer in the Creative Services Group (CSG), I help to deliver high-quality sound design and implementation for the variety of exciting new IPs (internet protocols) and world-renowned game franchises that PlayStation has to offer.
Recently, I was lucky enough to work on Returnal (2021) which was critically acclaimed for its use of audio. I designed the sounds for the fast-paced cutscenes, which the player is shown just after dying, as well as assisting the team on various assets, such as the translocators, eagle nest portals and some of the enemy attacks heard throughout the game.
It’s incredible to work with the award-winning CSG team and being able to contribute to the amazing experiences I’ve had playing games throughout my life is very fulfilling.
What opportunities have you had on your course?
The course provided many opportunities, the best one was being able to attend the Ludomusicology Conference which was held at the university. There was a wide variety of talks given, with an impressive line-up of speakers from the games industry. A personal highlight was learning how Paul Weir, a freelance audio director, designed the sounds for No Man’s Sky, where he went into detail on the bespoke tools he created. The conference also provided a great opportunity to network with many of the guests and ask any burning questions I had from their talks.
What has been your favourite thing about your time studying at Leeds Beckett?
The support from the tutors throughout my time studying was incredibly valuable, giving me the confidence to grow and develop my skills, as well as aim higher. Not only did they support me through my studies, but they regularly shared local networking events and jobs that they felt we should be applying to. When I got my first freelance job as a sound designer, my tutors shared my excitement. They really care about the students’ progression.