New World Immersion: A Creative Inquiry into Enhanced Dynamic Music in the Open Worlds of Medieval-based Roleplaying Games

Melissa Nichols Part of CW18

A study by Gasselseder (Gasselseder, 2014) explored the immersive presence, emotional behaviour and arousal in players through the use of dynamic and non-dynamic music in an action-adventure video game. The study concluded that subjects experienced “enhanced [immersion] when being presented with dynamic music” (Gasselseder, 2014).

Open-world games, particularly medieval-based role playing games (RPG), have been criticised for their overly-cluttered content and information resulting in reduced immersion. Their “design has reduced what should be immersive worlds into expensive yet meaningless filler between objective icons.” (Parish 2015). Consequently, this study will explore how dynamic music can be used to enhance immersion in such open-world games. Based on a pragmatic action research methodology the study will focus on the development and refinement of a musical prototype. Brainwave measurements, questionnaires and semi-structured interviews will be used to inform the refinement phases.

It is envisaged that results from this study will be valuable to game developers who plan to create huge open-worlds with improved immersion levels.