Viewers were left with plenty of unanswered questions after Sony’s PlayStation Meeting on February 20th, and perhaps nothing prompted more question marks than the gameplay trailer for The Witness (above) by award-winning Braid developer Jonathan Blow. The Witness will be the first game from Blow’s Thekla, Inc. development studio.
The trailer opens up to a warm autumn setting with an unusual scene: a record player sitting in a tree stump, which magically starts playing by itself. A soothing Irish flute song begins playing, and your journey across the island begins. The Witness is a game about exploring an open, abandoned island and solving puzzles, and as of right now, that seems to be the extent of it.
Writing on the PlayStation Blog, Blow elaborates on The Witness just a bit.
“Thematically, it’s a game about epiphany, that leap your mind makes when you instantly go from confusion to understanding.”
According to Blow, the open world of The Witness sets it apart from other puzzle-based games, as users who get stuck on a particularly challenging puzzle “can simply go somewhere else.”
In an interview with Kotaku, Blow confirmed that The Witness will be a PS4 console exclusive, though there is the possibility of a simultaneous PC/iOS release. The deal with Sony is for limited-time exclusivity, which could mean a next-gen Xbox release at some point in the future.
Indie-game fans may be a little confused about why The Witness is starting out as a PS4 title when Blow’s last game was initially available on Xbox Live Arcade and only came to PC and PS3 later. Some might blame Blow’s frustration with XBLA. Others may say Sony gave him a money hat when they heard he was making another game following the success of Braid. According to Blow, neither scenario is accurate.
“We liked the idea of being on a console, and originally we thought we might be on the PS3 or Xbox 360, but eventually we decided not to target either of those due to the relatively low system specs. After some more time went by, and our release date drifted further into the future, we realized that the next-generation console launch time might be a good time to release the game.”
“The Wii U still has pretty low system specs, so it came down to a choice between the next Microsoft console or the next Sony console.
“I don’t have good communication with anyone at Microsoft right now, and haven’t been disclosed on their next console, but all our technical people like the PS4 specs a lot more than the leaked Durango specs, and we like the positioning of the PS4 (it’s about games) a lot more than what we perceive Microsoft’s positioning is going to be.”
So Blow is unsatisfied with the specs of current consoles – including the Wii U – yet he wants to do an iOS port of The Witness as soon as possible? It’s odd, to say the least, but if Blow believes that his next-gen game can be successfully developed on current iOS devices as well, then more power to him.
Will you be witnessing The Witness when it launches on PS4, or are you more interested in the PC/iOS ports? Let us know in the comments!
The Witness is currently in development for PlayStation 4.