The Witness: secrets and audio files guide
The Witness is full of overt puzzles, but there are bigger mysteries to solve. What is this place? Where did everyone go? Why doesn’t anybody just use a key like a normal person? In this ongoing visual guide, we’ll list the secrets and audio files we find on our explorations, as well as showing you how to find them for yourself, including puzzle solutions.
We’ve put this information here because people are going to to ask for it, but seriously: just walk away, have a glass of water, and come back with a fresh mind; we bet you can work it out for yourself. If not, wander away and try something else for a while; you don’t have to explore the island in a linear fashion, and sometimes the mental tools you need are right around the corner, just waiting for you.
The first audio file is available as soon as you solve the game’s first major puzzle – how to open the gate leading out of the garden. Once you’re through, turn left and follow the path along, searching to the left side until you reach a green bank you can climb up (pictured).
Turn back towards the garden, with the sea on your right side, and head back towards the castle-like walls surrounding the garden. You can also get to this area via a path hidden in the plants around the base of the walls after you exit the garden.
When you get back to the garden walls, look for an area where the stones have crumbled a little, providing access to the ramparts. It should be pretty much directly in front of you if you approach using the directions we gave; garden in front of you, sea on your right.
Climb on and travel anti-clockwise (turn right) until you’re above the entrance to the cave.
Walk out onto the roof above the cave entrance and look for the audio file hidden to one side of the cushion here. You need to get close and press the interact key, then put the pointer on the file and press the interact key again, to trigger it. You might want to turn subtitles on first.
What a lovely private spot someone found to enjoy the breeze and escape the claustrophobia of the gardens.
There are two more secrets right by the Walled Garden. First, return to the garden and head to the maze terminal in the corner near the couch. Open the puzzle interface and click to solve it a second time – but this time, trigger the first (top right corner) goal rather than the second one, sending power – where? (Don’t worry, you won’t be trapped here. That ship has sailed.)
Go outside the garden and turn left, hugging the walls to walk past the crumbling spot on the ramparts where you climbed up for Audio File #1. Continue around, hugging the wall at the base, and you should find a small path leading around the edge of the walls, along the cliff above the sea.
Don’t fash yourself; even if you sprint, you can’t fall down. You’ll eventually reach a gate with a very simple maze terminal lock. It was so easy I forgot to screenshot it.
There’s a second maze gate between you and the secret. This one’s a little bit tougher, but if you’ve done all the other puzzles so far you ought to get it after a few tries.
We can offer you the solution to this maze board, if you want it. Or, you could solve it for yourself, using your brain. We believe in you!
Once through, look for and audio file near the base of a tree.
Was someone – recording inspirational quotes? Why was this abandoned here, like a piece of rubbish?
Before you leave the secret area, look around to find a puzzle board. You need to face it squarely in order to activate the maze puzzle.
This one’s a bit tricky; look closely at it and figure out what makes it different from the others. If it flashes red and erases your line, you didn’t get it right. Keep going until you get that nice little “you did it” sound. Nothing else happens… yet.
Need help? Here’s the solution.
Don’t backtrack! There’s another green maze terminal you can use to open a door leading back to the main path outside the garden. Jonathan Blow loves you and doesn’t want you to waste your time running back and forth if he can avoid that.
He probably doesn’t love me, because I’m spoiling all the secrets. For example, here’s the solution to this maze terminal.
To find the next secret, head out of the garden and proceed along the main path until you spot some orange rocks, with a narrow path leading down to a house. Don’t go down this path; this is just to show you the general area of the path to the secret.
If you’d like to find the secret for yourself from here, leave now and come back when you’re done.
Still with me? You’re going to feel a bit silly. All you have to do is turn left, assuming you were facing down the orange-ish path, and walk onto the grassy area.
From here you can climb up a gentle slope onto the orange rocks.
You can cross onto the roof of the house (it’s an artist’s studio, I think) and then use the catwalks and two metal staircases to end up on the far side, closest to the sea.
Search under the stairs and lip of the gable and you’ll find a puzzle board pretty easily.
This one should be pretty easy even if you didn’t figure out the trick with the last one, but if you can’t get it done for some reason, here’s the solution.
To find the next audio file, head clockwise down the coast from the artist’s studio until you reach a desert dotted with ruins.
Search around until you spot the structure shown in this picture – an odd sort of stone monument.
You can walk right up the narrow ramp on the monument. An audio file is sitting on the flat rock at the top. Not very hard this one, is it?
Start your search for the next puzzle board close to where you found the last audio file.
Walk along the edge of the desert, looking over the sea, until you see some stairs leading down to the beach.
On the beach you should easily spot this door, guarded by a fierce puzzle lock. Brr! Ignore it for now and take the narrow path to its right, heading further along the beach.
The puzzle board is easily spotted once you round the headland, lying openly on the sand.
You may have figured out the trick to these by now, but if not, here’s the solution.
The next puzzle board is in the tunnels under this windmill, which is easily spotted in and around the town. If you can’t find it, look for the autumnal or cherry trees; they’re both quite close to it. If all else fails, backtrack to the walled garden you started in, exit, follow the path hugging the right wall until you reach the town by the water. You should spot it along the way.
The windmill door is locked. The solution is very cute.
You can ignore the puzzle inside the windmill; look around the room for some stairs leading downwards and follow the rocky corridors down and around.
You should only meet one point of resistance on the way; if you can’t figure it out, you should go back and do the blue puzzles close to where you exit the walled garden. Anyway, here’s the solution.
Eventually you’ll find a little theatre. If you’ve been exploring thoroughly up till now, you actually have what you need for this… but that’s not what we’re here for.
To find the puzzle board, just walk around the theatre clockwise from the entrance corridor to spot it lying on the floor. Here’s the solution.
This next puzzle board is at the quarry. I got here by walking clockwise along the coast from the desert, but you can also follow the streams away from the town and mountain.
However you get there, you want to end up on one side, overlooking the buildings and whatnot as pictures. Facing downstream, flush against the locked gate into the quarry, this is the left side. If you’d like to find the secret for yourself from here, leave now and come back when you’re done.
Just climb onto the large reddish roof and poke around by the vents; you’ll probably need to cross to the other side of the roof, then turn around and walk back, to spot the puzzle board.
Now that you’ve found it, I suppose you’d better solve it.
The next secret is on the opposite side of the quarry from the last puzzle board. Look for a path leading through the autumnal forest.
Ignore the puzzle boards (part of the leafy tree puzzle sequence) and push on through the forest to the far end, turning left to go downhill, as if you wanted to run right into the stream in the quarry as it meets the sea.
The pictured area is what you’re aiming for.
If you walk towards the left hand window (facing the structure) then turn left and search around you should find this tiny little path leading up to a container of some kind.
The audio file is just lying on the floor of the container. There doesn’t seem to be anything else here. Was this the only place someone could find some privacy and quiet during construction…?
To find the next audio file, head to the Keep (the castle-like structure; not the walled garden where you started!) and move into the area where you need to walk around on boards to solve the mazes – in other words, the walled section, not the hedge mazes.
Beyond the first puzzle there are multiple entrances into the ramparts on the far side of the castle – the side that overlooks he sea. With a bit of searching you’ll find a path through to the other side, leading to this gantry and stairway down to a ground level – and a sunken ship. If you’d like to find the secret for yourself from here, leave now and come back when you’re done.
Climb up into the rusted ship and follow the twisted path around until you can access the main bridge – that’s the structure pictured here.
The audio file is lying on the floor in the command deck – the topmost floor bar the roof. It’s very thematic.
Back at the Keep, you’ll need to make your way into the fourth walled puzzle area in order to find the next puzzle board.
The secret is easily found if you just walk around the outside edge of the fourth puzzle area, looking inwards at all times. It’s on the back of a pillar. Here’s the solution.
The next puzzle board is found on the Mountain. From the Monastery and Jungle, begin climbing the mountain by taking the path that runs along the coast.
You’ll know you’re on the right path when you pass the pictured yellow structure (the Bunker) with Town, Monastery and Jungle at your back. Hooray!
See this fallen tree? It’s tempting to run across it, isn’t it? Don’t. Take a few steps onto it and stop right there. Turn around.
Wha…? How long has that tiny little path been there?
The puzzle board is lying at the very end of this path, near a waterfall. You might need to rotate on the spot to see it.
You’re very good at puzzle boards by now, so I’m sure you don’t need the solution.
There are loads more secrets in the Mountain. This one is found after you light up all the lasers and make it into the hart of the mountain.
After crossing the first floor, you’ll end up in a room full of architectural models. Position the camera just right to find an audio file hidden inside one close to the far wall.
This secret is found in the Bunker, a structure sticking out the side of the Mountain.
It’s easily spotted once you know where it is – on the level you can’t reach in the elevator because the cables has been damaged.
You can still get there though; just hop out of the lift at the appropriate level on your way past from above or below. See our Bunker walkthrough for further details.
For my next trick, let’s visit the Treehouses. As you explore this area (only accessible by boat) you’ll rapidly come to a junction, with pink, ornage and green paths available.
The puzzle board is in a little hut at the end of the green path. You can see the solution here.
Getting there is the hard bit, so here’s a gallery showing the solutions you’ll need to cross the green walkway.
The Town is a confusing place to navigate, but this puzzle board isn’t well hidden. Look for this building; on the side facing the dock, it has distinctive marking.
Inside the building you’ll find a locked shipping container. Here’s the solution to the lock.
Once inside you should have approximately zero problems finding the puzzle board.
What’s that? You need the solution, too? So demanding.
That’s all for now! We’ll have more for you shortly.