Star Wars Battlefronts R2 bleeping is actually baby noises

Star Wars Battlefront (opens in new tab)trivia time: the bleeps and bloops of R2 in the game are actually the heavily processed recordings of sound designer Ben Minto’s son. And, before we go on, he wanted to to clarify that by ‘R2’ Ben actually means R2 unit or ‘generic astromech’, rather than the character from the film because, who knows, maybe he won’t be in it.

Yeah, right.

Anyway, according to Ben he personally made the new R2 bleeps while on paternity leave with his son: “because I had a bit of time I actually recorded my six-month old son over about five days and then I spent ages in my spare time just cutting it all back together, so yeah – I hope he appreciates it!” (Laughs.)

To recreate the distinctive effect Ben actually copied the original synthesiser patch from the film where, “it goes through a ring modulator, there’s frequency modulation and then it’s put back together.”

I never actually realised the original R2 units were so organic – I’d imagined a crazy-haired keyboardist stabbing at keys while furiously working knobs and dials, but apparently much of the original audio had very everyday routes. “The original R2-D2, if you can actually hear it – I mean sometimes you can hear him saying phrases in the background,” explains Ben, “sometimes you hear it in the voice, like ‘rawr rawr’ or whatever he’s saying – but you have to be able to reverse engineer it to be able to hear it.”

Apparently all Star Wars movie languages are done this way and “based on real languages”, says Ben. “Whether it’s African recordings pitched up or things like that. Even listen to the Mouse Droid, and there’s some insect somewhere that we found out was somebody laughing recorded in the 1930’s pitched up 80 times. There’s a reasoning behind everything”.

For reference, here’s the mouse droid:

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