Independent game developer Jonathan Blow took a huge gamble when he created Braid; he poured $200,000 into the project, which would go on to make him a millionaire. He’s now taken that money, and re-invested it all in The Witness, his next independent title. The game has spent six years in the development cycle, but the developer has faith that his huge gamble will pay off.
His first hit, Braid, was a smash on Xbox Live, and would later be ported to PC after massive consumer demand. It made Blow millions, but even that income wasn’t enough to fund the ambitious efforts of The Witness – and the developer has resorted to borrowing investment money in order to complete his next title.
The Witness is a first-person puzzle adventure game that eliminates the features Blow doesn’t like about other adventure games. He’s kept most of the game a mystery to avoid spoilers, but this year is the tentative year of release for the long-awaited title – though he hasn’t ruled out delaying the release to ensure the title is up to his standard upon release.
The Witness currently has a development team of nine people actively working on the game, and they recently completed all of the puzzles for the game – totaling 677 in all. The game is three times the size of what Jonathan Blow had originally set out to create, and should lead gamers on a hefty 25-40 hour playthrough. It’s plenty of content, and it evidently comes with quite a cost.
Blow, however, isn’t concerned about stretching the development time, even if it’s costing him more money than he can currently afford:
“If there is such a thing as taking ‘too long,’ we have probably already done that. 20 years from now, I am not going to care about whether we took an extra six months or a year in development; I am going to care about the quality of the game people got to play. It’d be a shame to sacrifice some of that quality just to squeak the game out a little sooner. Though I do sympathize with people who have been waiting a long time to play.”
Do you think Blow’s game has potential? Would be you interested in a Myst-inspired adventure game from the creator of Braid?
The Witness is schedule to arrive on PC and PlayStation 4 sometime in 2015.