Guide: How to Reach the Secret Ending in The Witness

By Sam Quirke,
How do you access the secret ending in The Witness? If you have worked through the game's trophy list, completed all of the puzzles and even endured the timed Mountain Challenge for the Platinum, you might still have one final secret to uncover...

Spoilers ahead for the standard and secret ending to The Witness.

How to Reach The Standard Ending in The Witness

Before you access the secret ending to The Witness, we recommend that you complete the standard ending. Although the story is very abstract, the content of the secret ending would suggest that it may come after the standard ending chronologically — as much as there is any chronology in this strange dream world.

To reach the game's first ending, you need to launch at least seven of the game's eleven lasers:
*** Spoiler - click to reveal ***

These lasers will converge on The Mountain. Activate the yellow box that one of the statues is holding, then solve the maze beneath their feet three times, one from each angle, to unlock the floor grate. You'll face a series of large puzzles inside, none of which should be too tricky. Eventually you will reach a door with two randomised puzzles on it, which leads to a cave overlooking the ocean. Finish the pillar puzzles in here and you will gain access to an elevator. Close the elevator doors to activate the standard ending — which frankly leaves a fair amount to be desired.

How to Reach The Secret Ending in The Witness

If you were left somewhat disappointed in the standard ending for The Witness, you might want to check out the secret ending. It does not include any trophies, but it includes a slightly more meaningful ending sequence — though it remains completely bizarre.

The secret ending is hidden behind an alternative solution to a puzzle. To find the alternative solution in-game, you need to reach the Challenge area. Check out our Mountain Challenge and Platinum Guide for details. Once you get to the Challenge room with the vinyl player, head through a small tunnel just behind it. You will reach a junction with a minecart rail — head right and along a long set of wooden boards. Down a small flight of stairs, you will eventually come across a box on a pedestal with a horizontal switch. Flip it and you will find the alternative solution to an earlier puzzle, this time involving triangle icons.

Look familiar?Look familiar?

If the grid layout looks vaguely familiar, it's because that same grid is the one that unlocked the gate in the very first area of the game, giving the player access to the rest of the island. Head back there now and remove the previous solution to the puzzle, and then solve the puzzle following the guidance of the clue you found. Here's the solution:

The puzzle solution brings back the light grid barrier from the game's opening.The puzzle solution brings back the light grid barrier from the game's opening.

As soon as you input the alternative solution, the light grid returns over the entrance of the area, trapping you in the beginning section — just like the start of the game. However this is exactly what you need, because now you are going to use the sun itself to solve a puzzle hidden in plain sight. Step back from the gate and look up at the sun. Align the lit column of light above the gate with the sun, so that the sun effectively looks like the starting circle in its own puzzle grid. Inspect the view as you would with a puzzle, and start a line from the sun which extends around the outer edge of the light gate you just activated. Once you drag the line all the way around the gate, the barrier disappears and is replaced with a strange corridor.

Secret Ending Access

We won't spoil too much from here. It suffices to say that your path through this new area is almost completely linear and contains no essential puzzles — there is one puzzle just before the very end of the game, but it's not essential — it just reveals a wider view of... a strange room. Eventually you will follow an increasingly trippy corridor through a stone arch, and then an FMV sequence will start. It will spark all sorts of interesting questions regarding the meaning and purpose of The Witness as a whole, though it still leaves plenty of questions on the table. It certainly seems to be the game's "true" ending, given that the rooms preceding this final scene contain a handful of audio recordings, all of which contain the game's credits.

Is there a quicker way to access the secret ending in The Witness?

Let's say you lost your game save a long time ago and just want to quickly explore this secret area. If you know how to access the secret ending by using the sun, you don't need to solve any puzzles at all. Just start a new game and walk out of the opening corridor. Head straight to the light barrier (which at the start of the game is already up) and draw a line from the sun as described above. The secret ending area will open up immediately, allowing you to bypass the entire game.

If even that's a little too much work, don't worry — we have you covered. You can view the secret ending in its entirety below. The beginning of the video shows how to access the clue and puzzle which together unlock the secret ending. From about 7 minutes in, you can see the secret area revealed by the hidden puzzle. The final video sequence that introduces a whole new trippy aspect to the game's vague story starts at 10 minutes.

We hope you found this guide to the secret ending in The Witness useful. What do you think of the ending sequence? Have you found other clues to the game's overall meaning around the island? Let us know!

We've got the full list of The Witness trophies - check the list for guides to unlocking them.
Sam Quirke
Written by Sam Quirke
Sam has been a Newshound since 2016 and is now the Editor for both TrueAchievements and TrueTrophies. He loves gaming on all devices and in all genres. He remains a stubborn Assassin's Creed and Pokémon fan.