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Utterances associated to physical actions or conditions.


Many contexts, including:
Character Soundprint , Awareness , Ouch! , Shout and Yell , Emotional Script , Signature , ....
May Relate to:
Breath , Footsteps .
Compromises with:
Stealth .
Makes use of:
Foley , Dialogue .


Grunts are the second most commonly used ingredient in of the Character Soundprint, following Footsteps.

Grunts effectively convey a wide range of messages, evidencing effort, attesting that a certain type of action is potentially damaging, notifying actual damage (see Ouch! for that particular exploration), conferring aliveness to the character (that otherwise may be mute during all the game), conveying short messages (e.g., "Uh? Hmm..."), accompanying the Engagement in a fighting (battle cry, kiai, as used in real martial arts), etc. Grunts also integrate some of the solutions to implement the Awareness for proximity and alert status of opponents.

In all cases, Grunts contribute to the Awareness for some aspect of the game, in a diegetic way that maps the event into the Emotional Script.

It may also be an effective surrogate for Dialogue, avoiding more complex Voice Acting and possibly Dubbing.


Mirror's Edge: Grunts amplify the magnitude of the efforts.
Ice Age 3: Scrat's Grunts are a consistent during all game. They map into the Emotional Script the nature of each particular circumstance.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots:
[show less examples...]
Tomb Raider Underworld: Lara's Grunts are one of the game Signatures and they assert the difficulty to the movements she performs.
Papa Sangre: A Grunt (accompanied by a subtle Sound Effect of Failure) reveals that the PC tripped.
Ico: During Engagement, Ico's Grunts enhance the perception of his attacks.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: The energy put in these Grunts give a feeling of power.
Shadow of the Colossus: Although the distance to the character and all the other sounds that, objectively, would conceal the character's Grunts, they are still heard, augmenting considerably the perception of the movements and explaining the difficulty in manoeuvring.
Assassin's Creed:
Half-Life 2:
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune:

External Resources

The relation between grunting and physical performance has been discussed in other domains:

  • professional tennis is one notorious case [pending: ref];
  • kiai in martial arts [pending: ref].