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All Articles: The Witness
After being outed by the ESRB all the way back in January, Jonathan Blow has revealed The Witness is officially coming to the Xbox One. Speaking to IGN, the developer confirmed the game will make its Xbox One debut on September 13.
“There are some technical differences, but it’s basically the same game,” Blow told IGN, dismissing the idea of platform-exclusive content for The Witness.
“I feel like that would kind of… mess up the game,” he continued.
The Witness is also in development for iOS, but it might be a while before its released, as Blow said his team will need to fine-tune the entire game to make it work well with mobile devices.
In The Witness, you traverse an island divided into traditional video game zones (desert, forest, castle) solving line puzzles. Each puzzle exists on a square grid with a starting point and an end point. Your goal is to successfully navigate these puzzles. The puzzles are very simple at the beginning of your quest, but quickly become more complicated after the introduction of new rules.
Contrary to what the above description might make you think, The Witness is a fascinating game, and if my description makes it sound dry or boring, it is only because I am eager to dispel any theories of what The Witness may or may not be. (more…)
The Witness was released for the PC and PS4 last week to near universal acclaim, and today developer Jonathan Blow is ready to share some sales figures.
According to a new post on the official website for The Witness (which is titled “Fun Sales Fakts,” by the way), Blow has revealed that the game sold over 100,000 copies in its first week of availability. He also said The Witness has accumulated more than $5 million in gross revenue, which means the total number of copies sold (at $40 per copy) is probably closer to 125,000. Blow added that these numbers absolutely blow away the sales figures for Braid‘s entire first year:
This is a good chunk more revenue in one week than Braid made in its entire first year, from August 2008-September 2009. (Braid initially launched on XBLA in August 2008, and it came to Steam in April 2009). Braid was considered a hit independent game at the time.
However, the “Fun Sales Fakts” news post wasn’t all business for Blow. The developer used the final paragraph to hint at a bright future for The Witness, writing, “After this, in the near future, we will start investigating the bringing the game to other platforms. Under serious consideration are: iOS, Android, Xbox One, OS X.”
This is great news, but it’s not entirely unexpected. Blow has been talking about a mobile version of The Witness since 2013 and the ESRB outed a possible Xbox One port last month.
Jonathan Blow’s The Witness aims to bring back the exploration genre on the PlayStation Store this week. The PS4 game is now available to download and its Myst-like qualities are readily apparent. Once you add in the whole “you’re alone on a deserted island and there are puzzles everywhere” thing, it almost starts looking like a stealth sequel.
Also available this week is Lego Avengers (PS3, PS4, Vita), the 18th Lego adaptation from TT Games. This time, the British developer has mined the Marvel Cinematic Universe to create a game that links together Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Finally this week, a trio of other titles will be added to the PlayStation Store including This War of Mine: The Little Ones (PS4), a war game that focuses on the civilian experience; Saturday Morning RPG (PS4 + Vita Cross-Buy), a dual homage to JRPGs and Saturday morning cartoons of the 80s; and Gemini: Heroes Reborn (PS4), a first-person adventure in a superpowered world.
Jonathan Blow’s The Witness will be available for the PC and PS4 on January 26, and it’s scheduled to make its iOS debut a few months after that. But according to a new Rating Summary published ESRB, the developer plans to bring the puzzle game to the Xbox One as well.
While Blow and his team haven’t made any official announcements about an Xbox One launch for The Witness, the “About” page on the game’s official website has always indicated it would someday appear on “other platforms”:
It will be released on the PC and the PlayStation 4 on January 26, 2016. The game will come to iOS some months after that, and other platforms a bit later.
However, it might be a while before we hear more about the Xbox One version of The Witness as Blow likely can’t say anything until after his timed-exclusivity contract with Sony runs out.
UPDATE: Jonathan Blow said on Twitter (1, 2) this afternoon that he currently has “no plans” to bring The Witness to the Xbox One: “There are no plans right now for an XB1 version of The Witness. We just put that on the rating form so if we ever do XB1, we won’t have to get the game re-rated. (Provided the content is the same, which it would be).”
As one of the first games presented during the PlayStation 4’s unveiling, it was originally assumed that Jonathan Blow’s The Witness would be a launch title for Sony’s new-generation console. But here we are in the first month of 2015 and the Myst-inspired puzzler is still no where to be seen. But it looks like the development team has just reached a major milestone.
In a post on the game’s News Blog, Blow wrote that The Witness is now “Puzzle Complete,” meaning that all of the game’s 677 puzzles and “high-level creative decisions” have been completed. The developers said that there’s still work to be done on some “story stuff” and “the menu system,” but for the most part, all that’s left is polishing and playtesting:
It does *not* mean that the game is done. We still have a lot to do! But it *does* mean that the nature of the work changes and becomes simpler, because we don’t have to be making high-level creative decisions any more. It is now much more about turning the finish-the-game crank (making sure stuff plays well and polishing it up) for anything related to game design, modeling and texturing.
However, the bad news is that The Witness still doesn’t have a release date. So we’ll all just have to continue to wait patiently for the game, which will launch first for the PC and PS4, then on iOS, and on “other platforms” after that.
The latest episode of Sony’s “Conversations With Creators” video series stars Jonathan Blow and his game, The Witness. And like any true artiste, Blow is less concerned with making money than he is with making sure The Witness is good:
“We also have the freedom not to have to make a huge profit if we don’t need to. I would definitely like to make our money back on this game and I would like to make a profit on it, but it’s not actually the number one priority. The number one priority is to make the best possible game we can make that brings the most beneficial experience to the players.”
The Witness is expected to be available to download from the PlayStation Store around the system’s launch, so we shouldn’t have to wait too long to find out if he’s serious.