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The Witness on PS4: Tiny Details in a Very Big World

Jonathan Blow's Avatar + Posted by Jonathan Blow on Oct 16, 2013 // President, Thekla, Inc.

It has been a while since we made a post on PlayStation.Blog, so I thought I would give an update about what we are working on.

The Witness on PS4

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The Witness takes place on an island full of puzzles. The island is an open world; you can go anywhere you want, and the game does not try to force you into a linear path. For the past couple of years, we have had the island mostly built in a gameplay sense, and we were trying it out, moving things around, developing location concepts, tweaking puzzles. At this point, most of that stuff is figured out, so we are now going through all the areas of the island and detailing them.

What we learned in this process is that the island is in fact very big, for a place where you carefully visit every location during gameplay! Correspondingly, for a small independent team like ours, detailing this huge space is a lot of work!

The Witness on PS4The Witness on PS4

Just the other week, we played through the game from start to finish, to get a fresh perspective and to see everything that is here (because when you are working on a small piece of a game for a long time, it becomes very easy to get tunnel vision and to see only that small piece). Originally I had meant to design an 8-hour game, but The Witness is more like 25-40 hours depending on how much you play (some of the game is optional!)

I suspect this is the biggest and most-intricate world ever built for a puzzle game (someone get a consultant from the Guinness Book to verify that!)

The Witness on PS4

The Witness on PS4The Witness on PS4

On the tech side, we are working on making The Witness run with a smooth and solid frame rate, making the graphics look as nice as possible, and ensuring that the streaming system loads things quickly. We wrote our own engine for this game, so on the one hand, it means we get to do a lot of work; but on the other hand, it means we have precise control and can tweak it carefully until it is the highest-quality experience we can deliver.

We look forward to giving you an excellent game!

//Add Your Own

39 Comments

1

+ G-Force08 on October 16th, 2013 at 6:17 am said:

I’m really looking forward to playing this game and I’m glad to hear that you can get a lot of play time out of it. Is there any release date or time frame we can expect to play?


2

+ dlee_75 on October 16th, 2013 at 6:17 am said:

This game looks super cool! Also being able to sink up to 40 hours into it is awesome too! I may be behind on the news, but is there a release date/window? Can’t wait to play this awesome-looking game.


3

+ thekiddfran on October 16th, 2013 at 6:18 am said:

This game looks incredible, I can’t wait to play this. Thanks for the indept update Jonathan. Will this be disc based too or just available on PSN?


4

+ loadstone007s on October 16th, 2013 at 6:19 am said:

Looks like a superb game.
I’d love to get it once I finally have the PS4… :)


5

+ paulogy on October 16th, 2013 at 6:20 am said:

Wow! Glad there will be so much to do in this world you have carefully crafted! Very excited to finally play it when it’s good and ready :-)


6

+ T3DV0L70L1N4 on October 16th, 2013 at 6:21 am said:

Hi Jonathan, definitely psyched about this game, and I’m also curious about the release window. Any chance of it being a PS4 launch title? Now that Watch Dogs is delayed, there are basically zero launch titles I’m interested in, and I’d love to dive into your game for 40 hours.


7

+ erapago on October 16th, 2013 at 6:34 am said:

Finding things and getting lost has always been my favourite part of the Elder Scrolls series (and Minecraft, come to think of it), so I’m really excited to jump into this world.


8

+ Qatsmasher on October 16th, 2013 at 6:43 am said:

Easily my most anticipated PS4 game. I was hoping for launch or shortly thereafter but take your time. I know you guys will deliver. In the meantime, it’s Knack and Resogun to hold me over and I’m pretty excited about them too.


9

+ Patsrule0316 on October 16th, 2013 at 6:48 am said:

This is an absolute must own game for me, and I am really excitied to experience it. I just want to send out positive thoughts and encouragement to make the best game you can make.


10

+ DeathGazer on October 16th, 2013 at 7:00 am said:

BEAUTIFUL looking game. This is definitely no-brainer purchase. Braid was unlike anything I’ve ever played before and this looks no different.


11

+ Gorvi on October 16th, 2013 at 7:01 am said:

Witness is looking really great, is there a general release window?


12

+ xPapaSauce on October 16th, 2013 at 7:04 am said:

Awesome I hope it comes out soon. This could be the best puzzle game ever…


13

+ MarinoBrea on October 16th, 2013 at 7:05 am said:

That doesn’t look “indie” at all. I hope the gameplay execution is just as polished as the visuals, I’ve been interested in this since I saw it in the PS4 reveal, hopefully it will be priced attractively.


14

+ KwietStorm on October 16th, 2013 at 7:46 am said:

Haven’t played a game like this in a long time. Reeeally looking forward to it. Hope it comes out sooner than later.


15

+ lisatsunami on October 16th, 2013 at 8:00 am said:

Definitely getting this; I just hope it’s pretty soon.


16

+ FranklynStreet on October 16th, 2013 at 8:46 am said:

This is the game I’m most excited for on the PS4 right now, and depending on when it releases, will probably be the first game I play on the PS4.


17

+ FuntimeBen on October 16th, 2013 at 8:47 am said:

Gives me Myst flashbacks, or rather what I remember Myst looking like when I was a kid. This looks gorgeous and something I will definitely play with friends/nieces/nephews.

Less than a month away from PS4 launch and I’m starting to get excited!


18

+ Xcaligamer1 on October 16th, 2013 at 8:48 am said:

had hoped it was a launch title, seemed very interesting at ps4 reveal.. i like puzzles


19

+ TallguyNB on October 16th, 2013 at 8:58 am said:

I’m really looking forward to this game, its the actual reason I pre ordered a ps4.


20

+ drd7of14 on October 16th, 2013 at 8:59 am said:

This game is looking fantastic. Love the art style, gives me the feel of Flower and of course, The Unfinished Swan. Fantastic titles.


21

+ ironic005 on October 16th, 2013 at 9:01 am said:

The group behind The Witness should make a 3rd Person Adventure Fighting Game with that same art style. I want some Nintendo like games for my PlayStation; there are not enough cartoon world games.


22

+ snakeeyes211 on October 16th, 2013 at 10:07 am said:

This is amazing, thanks!


23

+ JordanTWL on October 16th, 2013 at 10:53 am said:

Woah, the game looks stunning. I can’t wait to get lost in this world!


24

+ Jak23ft on October 16th, 2013 at 11:28 am said:

This art style is flipping AMAZING!


25

+ fromage2323 on October 16th, 2013 at 11:32 am said:

looks awesome. i love exploring!


26

+ Kchow23 on October 16th, 2013 at 12:21 pm said:

The game looks amazing! Looking forward to the release date :)


27

+ Welmosca on October 16th, 2013 at 12:54 pm said:

Oh man this game looks so good and interesting…shame its on PS4…if you won’t make a PS3 version…are there any possibilities for a Vita version at least?….


28

+ luvmyR6 on October 16th, 2013 at 2:02 pm said:

“Pretentious this, Pretentious that, rabble, rabble.”

There, now a certain someone whose name begins with a R doesn’t have to grace us with his presence and blubber like a blithering idiot.


29

+ plaztiksyke on October 16th, 2013 at 2:26 pm said:

Really looking forward to this — I’d preorder on PSN right now, if I could.

I don’t think my previous question ever got answered, though: will it support 3D? have HD (24-bit/lossless) audio assets?


30

+ sibbor on October 16th, 2013 at 2:42 pm said:

The Witness looks so beautiful. From the very first time I saw The Witness, back at the PlayStation Meeting in Feb. I’ve been looking forward to it. It reminds me of Myst and Atlantis, as well as giving me a Zelda feel over it. Which is kinds weird, but I love it.

Thanks Blow, with the team!


31

+ Rezolution77 on October 16th, 2013 at 2:49 pm said:

Not to complain, but,
if you were going for this type of genre, why would you not use it for something like the vita and touch screen.

From someone that “once” enjoyed games like this.
(Shadowgate)

I would expect it to sell better, and make it more “active”.


32

+ Rezolution77 on October 16th, 2013 at 2:50 pm said:

Not saying I would still purchase it still.

It does look nice though.


33

+ Rezolution77 on October 16th, 2013 at 2:53 pm said:

I could definitely see the potential, for a book, you could get more “immersed” in.


34

+ MKPACK on October 16th, 2013 at 4:11 pm said:

Hi Jonathan,

The game looks great! I can’t wait it buy it to explore the world.

When are bringing Braid to the Vita?

Cheers


35

+ Erlaxis on October 16th, 2013 at 4:14 pm said:

25-40 hours? Wow. Just… wow. This is my most anticipated PS4 game, and I get even more excited every time you guys release more information.


36

+ stlthriot on October 16th, 2013 at 6:36 pm said:

Looks stunning~


37

+ tusunami on October 16th, 2013 at 7:12 pm said:

Another excellent game for PS4, PS4 day 1 shipping I’m out


38

+ guitarded77 on October 16th, 2013 at 11:04 pm said:

My most anticipated PS4 indie… is there a hard launch date?


39

+ stemitchellusa on October 17th, 2013 at 2:21 am said:

Can’t wait to see this in the flesh, it looks beautiful.


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