January 2016 is drawing closer, which means The Witness will finally be playable. I for one am looking forward to being confused on a lonely island, and in a new blogpost, creator Jonathan Blow has made me more excited. Why? Because The Witness won't have a distracting score, instead opting for careful attention to sound design.
"The Witness is a game about being perceptive: noticing subtleties in the puzzles you find, noticing details in the world around you," he wrote. "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."
Still, focusing on sound design isn't as easy as it seems, especially with The Witness' lack of fauna or other people. "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," Blow wrote.
Interestingly, there will be voice acting in The Witness, and you'll hear it via... you guessed it, voice recordings scattered throughout the island. Perhaps most importantly, there's a lovely new video showing off the island from a slow-panning, aerial point of view. Check it out below. The Witness releases in January.