Quantcast
GDC: Witnessing Jonathan Blow's The Witness - Destructoid

DestructoidJapanatorTomopopFlixist



The Witness  



GDC: Witnessing Jonathan Blow's The Witness


2:30 PM on 03.08.2012
GDC: Witnessing Jonathan Blow's The Witness photo



During the 2012 Game Developers Conference, I had a chance to sit down with Jonathan Blow to talk about his new adventure/puzzle game The Witness. I would like to stress that what I played was a very early version, without most of the textures and/or graphical effects added in.

I can say this right now: if you loved Braid, you will love the Witness. It operates on the same core concept -- making you feel like a freakin’ genius. Instead of a 2D linear world, though, all of the puzzles are built around a fully open island.

The Witness starts you off alone in a small corridor in the dark. Controls are very simple and have the standard dual analog look-move system and an action button. As you progress through a tunnel, you are very steadily introduced to blue glowing panels. These are the primary means the player has to interact with the world. Walking up to one and pressing the action button allows you to drag a cursor through mazes. In each area of the island, new parts are added to this basic form.

Once you step out of the starting area and into the open world, you are greeted with an incredible visual contrast. The island stretches out before you, inviting you to explore. Doors, narrative chunks, and clues are everywhere. And this is where The Witness shines. By using the environment -- both to hide and display key aspects of the game -- Blow and his team have managed to put an enormous amount of content in a relatively compact space.

The standout moment for me was coming up on a series of panel-based challenges on the far side of the island. They were tucked away in a structure that loosely resembled a jungle gym with several spikes jutting out in seemingly random directions. It took me a few minutes, but I eventually realized that those spikes cast shadows on the panels and that in order to progress, I needed to complete the maze without touching any of the dark areas. The final segment of that series is really cleverly done, and, just in case that series does make it into the final game, I won’t ruin it by putting the solution here.

By steadily introducing the player to subtle variances of what they have already seen before, The Witness creates the same satisfying progression and nuanced complexity that Braid had. The build that I played had some technical issues, which is to be expected given that the game is still very early in its development. But there is great potential here and it is probably the most impressive thing I’ve seen at GDC so far. It definitely toys with your expectations, but if you like puzzlers at all, you will be thoroughly impressed.








Comments not appearing? Anti-virus apps like Avast or some browser extensions can cause this.
Easy fix: Add   [*].disqus.com   to your software's white list. Tada! Happy comments time again.

Did you know? You can now get daily or weekly email notifications when humans reply to your comments.



Have you played Rhythm Doctor? photo
Have you played Rhythm Doctor?
5:30 PM on 03.27.2014





timeline following:
The Witness



3:00 AM on 02.21.2014
I don't think I'll mind getting lost in The Witness

I'm looking out my window as I type this and what I see is a mostly overcast sky and lots of drab grays and blues. It's sleepy. What I'd rather be looking at are these warm, teeming-with-life screenshots from Jonathan Blow's ...more



1:45 PM on 12.02.2013
The Witness might receive Oculus Rift support

The Witness, Jonathan Blow's follow-up to the universally well-received Braid, is definitely a highly anticipated game. It's been in the works for quite some time, and the hype surrounding it has sort of just kept building. I...more



2:30 PM on 10.16.2013
Jon Blow: The Witness might be largest puzzle game ever

Jonathan Blow's next project sounds absolutely massive. The Braid designer and his team are currently putting the finishing touches on The Witness, an open world puzzle game coming to PlayStation 4 that is reportedly somewher...more



8:45 PM on 06.14.2013
Blow's enigmatic The Witness is the highlight of the PS4

Braid-creator Jonathan Blow's The Witness is probably my most anticipated PS4 game -- almost definitely among games that are coming to the system this year. It, in its own way, stole the show at Sony's PlayStation 4 announcem...more



9:00 PM on 05.23.2013
The Witness looks lovely in this latest PS4 footage

While The Witness might seem like quite the departure from Braid, at least at first glance, there are similarities to be found -- particularly with the way the games' overall themes are presented. "When you go in, if you jus...more



7:30 PM on 03.11.2013
Jon Blow praises the power of the PlayStation 4

I think many eyebrows were raised when Braid developer Jonathan Blow came on stage at the Sony Press conference last month and announced his upcoming title, The Witness, would be a "timed exclusive" for the PlayStation 4. Spe...more



3:00 PM on 02.22.2013
Blow explains why The Witness is a timed PS4 exclusive

Designer Jonathan Blow talking about The Witness was not something I expected to see during the PlayStation 4 reveal event this week; it was one of the more pleasant surprises of the evening. While the exploration-puzzle game...more




Indie

10:00 AM on 04.19.2014
Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake is not as simple as it looks

Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake saw success on Kickstarter, and it's coming along nicely as evidence by our interview at PAX East. It looks super cute and simplistic, but there's way more depth than you'd imagine here. A deep ...more



4:00 PM on 04.18.2014
The Darkest Dungeon gods were kind to me

Hot off its huge Kickstarter success, Darkest Dungeon is already in a playable-enough state to have a demo at PAX East 2014. Although the demo was only a short snippet of what's to come, it was easy to get a sense of the them...more



2:15 PM on 04.18.2014
Punch frogs, get paid: New Curses 'N Chaos trailer

We got a brief look at the new Tribute Games joint, Curses 'N Chaos, at PAX East. It's a pared-down, arcade-like action game about two players cooperating to clear waves of foes before the timer hits zero. Super simple, but ...more



View all Indie






Back to Top




All content is yours to recycle through our Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing requiring attribution. Our communities are obsessed with videoGames, movies, anime, and toys.

Living the dream since March 16, 2006

Advertising on destructoid is available: Please contact them to learn more