While it was initially revealed way back in 2009, The Witness has been long in development by Braid creator Jonathan Blow, and while it has been nearly seven years in development, a new video and details have emerged from Blow on the game before its release this coming January.
In a new update on the game’s official website, developer Jonathan Blow provided new information on the long-awaited The Witness, giving some more insight into the development process and in particular giving more insight into the sounds and music that will permeate throughout the game.
Specifically, Blow detailed that The Witness will feature “(almost) no music in the game,” citing that its very limited musical arrangements are “not an arbitrary decision, but is in fact very important to the coherence of the thing we are making,” as Blow detailed in the blog post:
“The Witness is a game about being perceptive: noticing subtleties in the puzzles you find, noticing details in the world around you. If we slather on a layer of music that is just arbitrarily playing, and not really coming from the world, then we’re adding a layer of stuff that works against the game. It’d be like a layer of insulation that you have to hear through in order to be more present in the world.
Instead, 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: a forest naturally has the sounds of birds, plains with smaller shrubbery will have crickets, a marsh will have the sounds of many insects. 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. This work is being done by Wabi Sabi Sound, who did the sound for the very atmospheric Dead Space series, and more recently some smaller, artier games like Ori and the Blind Forest.”
Blow also detailed in the post that The Witness will incorporate plenty of voice acting and performance work integrated into the game’s story, with voice recordings that the player can discover throughout the game and that “there is an interesting mystery to unfold about who these people are or were.”
The post also detailed that localization will also be taking place to provide The Witness to a wider audience internationally, and while full audio tracks will not be localized, subtitles for the game are planning to be provided in the following languages at launch, with more to possibly be added:
- Spanish (Spain)
- Spanish (Latin America)
- Portuguese (Portugal)
- Portuguese (Brazil)
- Chinese (Simplified)
- Chinese (Traditional)
The Witness will release for PS4 and PC on January 26th, 2016, followed by an iOS release in the future – in the meantime, you can check out the new video for the game below: