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“Happy accidents are easily the most fun part of my job”

Portrait of Cajsa Larsson

Portrait of Cajsa Larsson

#WeMakeGames interview series:

Cajsa Larsson

What is your background?

“I started my journey in the games industry by studying digital audio production at Blekinge Institute of Technology (BTH). That’s also where I founded and then ran the indie studio Forgotten Key for eight years. I’ve also worked as a music designer at Ubisoft Massive, been on the board for Game Habitat and have been on the nomination committee of several industry organizations.”

  • Name: Cajsa Larsson
  • Age: 30
  • From: “I grew up in the countryside of Skåne, then moved to Karlshamn for nine years and now I have spent the last three years in Malmö”
  • Enjoying: Music, plants, pottery, “looong walks”, food, and games – like Botanicula, Sword & Sworcery and Zelda – Breath of the Wild
  • Profession: Sound Designer at Sharkmob

Why did you start working in the game industry? 

While I studied at BTH I met a great group of people. We worked together on a school project, I did the audio and the others made art, programming and design. We kept working together and won a local competition which pushed us to start a company, which was Forgotten Key. We studied and worked with the company in our spare time! 

I’ve always been really passionate about audio and music. And as a kid I also played a lot of games, but I lost touch with that side of myself in my late teens. When I started studying I reconnected with games and I started loving all the amazing experiences you can craft when you have sound, art and design working together.

“I reconnected with games and I started loving all the amazing experiences you can craft when you have sound, art and design working together.”

Cajsa Larsson

How has working in the industry been for you?

It’s had a lot of ups, but also a fair bit of downs. I would recommend anyone who wants to join the industry to give it a go! I joined the industry with my own company. That gave me the chance to get a foot in the industry, while also learning to do things in my own way and at my own pace. I think this fact has given me a different skill set and perspective that might be hard to come by if you’re starting your journey as junior at a much bigger company.

What is a day in your work life like?

Unfortunately, I can’t disclose much about my current project. But much of my work is spent doing this: Meetings and conversations with people, implementing various systems and audio in Unreal and Wwise, sound designing and playtesting. Currently, a lot of the work is understanding what the game is about, where the game is headed and who is going to work on what during this process.

“Other times this job is about spending hours in front of the microphone trying to sound like a sheep.”

Cajsa Larsson

What’s best with your job?

Happy accidents are easily the most fun part of my job! For instance, I once made a bunch of random guitar sounds that were greatly timed to a cutscene. Or that time my cat meowed at the right time and on pitch (close enough anyway) with a banjo part I recorded, that take ended up being used on the track!

Utilizing unique (sometimes personal) things to record sound effects is also something I really enjoy! I’ve used rocks that a thief used to break into my former office to steal my laptop for sound effects. I’ve also ’built’ my own instruments.

Other times this job is about spending hours in front of the microphone trying to sound like a sheep. Or forcing my sister to spend hours in front of the microphone making her sound like a rabbit.

Seeing all the bits and pieces fall into place and noticing that the sound you made, perfectly highlights the visuals and the design of a certain part of the game is truly rewarding. 

However, essentially, the best part of this job is when you have the time to experiment and try out new stuff, and somehow, you’ll discover, some of the stuff you try is actually going to work!

How would you advise others that want a job like yours to pursue it?

“Three things: Learn the skills, sound design as well as how to implement sounds. Get to know the people – go to events, network and find a community. And lastly, explore the world of game jams! Unfortunately there’s not an abundance of sound design positions out there but it is in no way impossible. However, it may take some creativity and a lot of rejected applications before getting a job!

The #WeMakeGames interview series allow individuals in the game industry to tell their story, about their current work, how they got to where they are and why they believe the games industry is such an enjoyable industry to work in. We move beyond programmers and level designers, to showcase the wide range of roles making up the studios creating some of the world’s best games – right here in south Sweden!

The #WeMakeGames interview series is part of the EU funded project Game Accelerate South Sweden (GASS). Read more about the GASS project here.

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