Those searching through the game files of The Witness probably won’t find anything very interesting, according to Jonathan Blow. Obviously what follows could be a potential spoiler, so skip this if you’ve yet to put much time into the game.
Speaking in a reddit AMA, Blow said the odd sound which players encounter when pushing a button on the windmill is nothing to get excited over.
“It is probably just an old sound that we didn’t correctly tune,” says Blow, via PCgamesN. “The windmill used to work very differently. It used to be more of a power generator for other stuff on the island, and there was a visual battery gauge that would fill up as it turned.
“Then there was a timing puzzle where you would turn it off and the battery started draining and you had a certain amount of time to go do something non-obvious before the battery ran out. But that was too much like stuff in other games, and was not really related to the core ideas of The Witness – i.e. it sucked so I cut it.”
This also applies to the odd shadows cast on the environment by the windmill blades. It’s just shadows and nothing more.
Folks looking through the files also found a reference to Carl, and many assumed this was the player’s name. Unfortunately, it’s just a filename left over from an animation set called Carl the team decided not to use.
Elsewhere in the AMA, it was stated The Witness wouldn’t be coming to a virtual reality headset near you any time soon.
According to programmer Andrew Smith, who was also included in the AMA, VR is “quite problematic for The Witness.”
“Outside of the broader issues that current seated or room-scale VR is just bad for navigating any huge open-world environment in first person, some of the alignment-puzzles can be ‘cheated’ by crouching down, or tilting your head etc,” said Smith.
“The Witness can be played in VR, but its far from optimal because it was very much designed to be a traditional non-VR experience. The VR games that will really convince people are those that’re designed for the format from the ground up. Any kind of free navigation in VR is a hard problem.
“Stuff like this is why most current games are designed around seated or room-scale, where the real bounds are known. It’ll be interesting to see what people come up with as solutions to this stuff.”
The Witness is available on PC and PlayStation 4, and seems to be selling rather well.
If you’re completely lost over a puzzle of some sort, have a look at our walkthrough and map guide and see if it helps.