Braid creator Jonathan Blow's next project, The Witness, will go to great lengths to ensure the sounds players make when they walk through the game's deserted, puzzle-filled island will sound natural and reflective of the game's setting. That's why the game — so far — includes 1,119 footstep sound effects, Blow says.
"You are the only active character in the game, so the sound of your own motion is hugely important for establishing setting and mood," Blow writes on The Witness' official blog.
"We have different sounds for left and right foot, always," Blow explains. "For any given material there are 5-6 variations for each foot, to avoid mechanical-sounding repeats; let's just say 5 is average."
"We will probably be in the Guinness Book of World Records as the game with the most footstep sounds..."
"We have reverb footsteps for specific locations, where we blend reverb in and out, or crossfade between two reverbs, depending on where you are in a room or hallway. We also have 'texture footsteps' that are meant to be layered onto a base sound... so if you are walking on grass, but a little bit of dirt is poking through the grass, the game will play the grass footstep, but with a little bit of dirt texture overlayed on top of it."
Blow says the game's sound effects get even more varied, with dirt texture sounds affected by "how much dirt is poking through the grass."
The Witness is currently in a "very limited, very closed" beta testing period, according to Blow. "We still have a gigantic amount of work to do and it'll be a while before the game is done," he says. The multi-platform exploration game is due in 2013.