I met with Jonathan Blow on a misty Monday evening in an unassuming San Francisco cafe. He was in exceptionally high spirits, but why wouldn’t he be? The rest of the world didn’t know it yet, but he was about to reveal a new trailer and a release date for The Witness: a passion project in which he has invested not only the last five years, but the entirety of the small fortune he earned via the success of his 2010 breakthrough Braid.
The Witness is a game where you explore an abandoned island and solve puzzles. We’ve been working on this game for a long time (It’s been more than five years since I began working on it, myself! The rest of the team joined at various times after that.). We don’t know the release date yet; it’s still officially “when it’s done,” but these days “when it’s done” is getting closer and closer.
My excitement for The Witness may, admittedly, be amplified by my sentimental nature (it is the first PS4 game I ever laid eyes on, after all). After getting a chance to play it at an event last week, however, I’m relieved to know that my excitement is justified.
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.
It’s been a few months since our last post on PlayStation.Blog, so I think it’s a nice time to let people know how the game is coming along. If you haven’t heard about The Witness, it is a game about exploration and puzzle-solving in an open world.
We, Thekla, Inc., are a small independent development team located in San Francisco, California, USA. Our current project is a game called The Witness, where you explore a mysterious island and solve puzzles. Thematically, it’s a game about epiphany, that leap your mind makes when you instantly go from confusion to understanding.
The game takes place in an open world, so that you can go wherever you want.
For a puzzle game, this is nice, because it means we can include real puzzles that challenge and surprise you. In a linear game, if you get stuck on a puzzle, you are usually just stuck unless you look up the answer; this is why many linear games shy away from puzzles with non-obvious solutions.
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