Pasi Pitkänen

Pasi is Head of the Audio Department at Rovio Entertainment where he works on top-notch audio content for Angry Birds and Battle Bay.

BA Creative Sound Production, 2012

Can you tell me more about your job, and what it involves?

I have been working at Rovio Entertainment for almost six years now. For five of those I worked as a Sound Designer. That job consisted of planning, recording, processing and designing audio content for our games and upcoming prototypes. As you can imagine the days varied a lot! One day you’re recording footstep sounds in a wet swamp surrounded by millions of mosquitoes, and the next you’re in the comfort of your own acoustically treated audio room, editing those recordings and eventually implementing those sounds to a game.

Currently I’m the Head of the Audio Department and I manage a team of seven audio professionals; two composers, three sound designers, technical sound designer and an audio programmer. 

As a team we’re responsible for creating and developing top-notch audio content for Angry Birds, Battle Bay and other Rovio products or brands. 

What are the key factors to consider while producing sound for games?

I think the main thing is to always have great communication and having that channel active throughout the development of the game. The other thing is to have a positive attitude even when things are not so good and you’re having problems with audio tech, implementation or creative lulls in the audio production.

For the actual audio production I always keep in mind that as an audio department we’re serving and reinforcing the game team and their vision. Of course we come up with our own crazy audio ideas and eventually carve out a unique audio identity for the game, but in the end all of this has to be well-matched with the game team’s vision and communicated to them properly as well.

The atmosphere at Abertay was really positive and inspiring.
Pasi Pitkänen | Head of Audio | Rovio Entertainment

How did your Abertay degree help you get to where you are now?

When I arrived in Dundee I did not know that it was one of the biggest hubs for game development in UK. I had some hints of this when applying for Creative Sound Production programme, but the first two weeks at Abertay really opened my eyes and I was excited to be there!

I learned a lot about game development, audio production for games andworking as part of a game team. I had great teachers who pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me further develop my audio skills and my way of thinking about audio in general. I’d give a special thanks to Kenny McAlpine for being a really inspiring and motivating teacher throughout my studies!

I also took part in the Dare To Be Digital competition with my friends and that turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. We had all these mentors coming in from companies like Disney, Outplay, Ubisoft and Codemasters and they gave us valuable feedback on our game.

It was during this competition that a friend of mine told me that Rovio Entertainment was looking for a full-time junior sound designer and I applied since in-house audio jobs are really rare to find. I did not expect to get an interview but eventually I did and got the job. When Dare was over, I moved back to Finland and started living my dream of creating audio content for video games.

What are your lasting memories of Abertay?

The atmosphere at Abertay was really positive and inspiring. Maybe being in Scotland for the first time had its effect as well!

What advice would you have for someone looking to get into this aspect of gaming?

Have a passion for audio in general. If you don’t have that then this might be a really tough road to travel so having that motivation and inspiration to push yourself forward is a must. The field of game audio is a lot more than just creating the music and sound effects for the game. You have all the tech and project management aspects to think about as well, so with good research you can definitely find your focus, audio production management etc. 

I would strongly urge people to attend game audio related conferences and events. While there don’t just promote yourself and hand out business cards - try to get to know the great game audio community that we have in place. 

What are your future aspirations?

I’m currently living my dream so my plan is to keep on learning new things, stay positive, work hard and of course look for new exciting things that I can add to my skill set and utilize in my work.

 

To reconnect, engage and make an impact with your fellow alumni and the University, join abertayalumni.com

Share Pasi's story