Announced before the PS4 even launched, The Witness is the next game from Braid developer Jonathan Blow and has been on the horizon for quite a while. Announced recently to finally have the set release date of January 26th, however, the clock is ticking down, and Blow took a chance to share how a few elements of the game are shaping up.
Speaking in a post on the game’s website, Blow admitted, “The Witness is a game about being perceptive: noticing subtleties in the puzzles you find, noticing details in the world around you,” and for that reason, “there is (almost) no music in the game. This is not an arbitrary decision, but is in fact very important to the coherence of the thing we are making.”
“Instead,” he explained, “we put a great deal of care into the sounds of the world around you, in a way that maximizes immersion in the game. This is made trickier by the game’s setting: you are alone on this island, and there are not even any other animals. There are no birds in the trees! In everyday life if we imagine the sound of nature, we’ll think of some elements that have no place on the island… There’s none of that in this game because in this game you are really alone, and it has forced us to be very creative with the audio in order to ensure things have depth and texture to them.”
Wabi Sabi Sound, the group behind not only Dead Space, but also the more recent Ori and the Blind Forest, is handling the sound design. To get a sense of the sound, and the gorgeous landscape, check out the slow, bird’s eye pan across the island in the new video below.
As for the story and voice work in the game, Blow teases, “When wandering around the island, you may find voice recordings that were placed by … well, at the outset of the game, you don’t know who; and as the game goes along, there is an interesting mystery to unfold about who these people are or were.”
While what is in the game at the moment is simply Blow reading the lines he has written, he assures, “We have cast the real actors and starting tomorrow we’ll do our first test readings with those actors… [T]his will allow me to see how the game really feels with this stuff in there, possibly to adjust the nuances of the way the recordings appear in the game and the way they are played back… There’s not a whole lot of time until release, and we have several holidays coming up, but we’ll get it done!”
Blow goes on to announce they are looking at have sixteen localizations, including, English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and Indonesian.
The Witness will make its way to the PS4 and PC on January 26th. Will you be picking up the puzzle explorer? Let us know in the comments.