Jonathan Blow (creator of Braid) has released a “long screenshot” to give you a feel for his upcoming first-person puzzle-exploration game The Witness. It’s coming to PlayStation 4 and PC on January 26th 2016, as well as iOS at a later date.
The long screenshot is a single panning shot from an aerial point-of-view of the island on which The Witness takes place. You’ll notice that there is no music and this is deliberate. In fact, there’s almost no music in the game itself too.
In a recent blog post, Blow outlined the reason for the absence of music:
“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.”
He adds that, instead of music, the team has paid a lot of attention to crafting the diegetic sounds you’ll hear while wandering the island. On top of that, there will be audio logs to listen to that give you insight into one of the island’s biggest mysteries: the people who previously walked upon it.
But solving this mystery is not your biggest pursuit in The Witness. As said, it’s a puzzle game, and so you’ll mostly be solving line maze puzzles that gradually affect the island itself, manipulating its topology and architecture.