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Ideally there wouldn’t be any placeholder audio in the projects I work on, or at least it would be provided by myself. Unfortunately it isn’t always something I have a say in so I’d like to know how you all deal with it.

Case in point: I was brought to work on a small game that had been in development for a year or so. There were some sounds already in, mostly picked by the programmers from places like freesound or sounddogs, and they were all rubbish. For example, a whirlwind spell effect was a short bit of a wind recording that also included birds chirping and traffic in the background.

The biggest issue was convincing the developers that the placeholder sounds were bad. They had gotten so used to them that anything I would create would sound off for them. Their feedback was that “now all the sounds are different and annoying”. In the end I just recreated the placeholder sounds without extraneous bits, but the game sounds awful.

How would you approach this? Is there anything I can do to make the devs understand my point or do I just drop it and move on?