Exactly what Jabberwok said.
@goettel: Yes, this is the plan. You'll hear faster breathing and exertion sounds and other audio feedback giving you a sense of your overall condition in the world. You'll also create sounds that wildlife can react to, and you'll need to listen to the sounds of nature around you to "read" your environment.
@Jabberwok: We haven't nailed this down, but I'm sure we'll provide players with the option to adjust the various volume levels (music, environment, speech, etc.). We would never let music interfere with the other ambience or gameplay-critical audio.
Glad to hear their will be gameplay footage soon. As long as it's good, that's probably what this campaign needs to kick it over the top. That's what I, personally, usually want before pledging.
I'm all for a good score, but I'm hoping the game will allow me to adjust the music volume separately from the sound effects, if I want to. It might be nice at times to just soak in that ambience without the music informing the tone of the moment, or even just turn the music down some if I can't hear footsteps when I need to.
Great to read more about the focus on realistic audio. Will there be things like increasing breathing noise, heartbeat etc. when a situation becomes critical? Will movement speed increase the noise of stepping on branches etc. and influence e.g. wildlife?
@Richard: Thank you for sharing. Sounds like you and the team at Hinterland enjoy a lot of the same things.
Your development announcements have been eerily relevant to my life. I completed Mass Effect for the first time a few days before you announced that Mark Meer would be part of the team. Straight after that I went on to begin Deus Ex, again a few days before you mentioned Elias Toufexis' involvement. With your announcement today that, "There is even a plan to create a custom instrument for the soundtrack", well... on one of my blog posts a while back I wrote, "I've been researching musical instrument design to determine what instruments it's possible for me to build with simple tools and reclaimed materials. I'm going to restrict myself to using these instruments to compose and record the diegetic music for the play. The instruments I'm considering at the moment are conceptually a cross between indigenous and scrap-built chordophones and idiophones. Ideally I'd like the sound of the instruments to aesthetically match the feel of the drama as a whole."
I'm sure by now you've heard people tell you that you're making the game they want to play. Well, you're making exactly the game I want to play. I'm very excited about your project. Best of luck with everything!