Thanks to all the leaks and accurate rumors, Sony’s PlayStation 4 event this week held very few surprises, however, there were a couple of announcements that nobody saw coming. One of those, was the reveal that Jonathan Blow’s open-world puzzle game, The Witness, would be a timed exclusive for the next generation console. Blow has since taken to his website to clarify how the highly-anticipated indie game found its way to the PS4, and he also hinted that his deal with Sony does not exclude the possibility of a “PC or iOS at launch”.
“People have been speculating that we got paid for PS4 exclusivity, but that is not the case. There was no money involved.” Jonathan wrote. “The real situation is that, because we are a small developer, we only have the ability to launch on a small number of platforms at once. We liked the idea of being on a console, and originally we thought we might be on the PS3 or Xbox 360, but eventually we decided not to target either of those, due to the relatively low system specs and the work required to do the ports.”
“There were people at Sony who really liked the game and were keeping in touch with us about it, and so we naturally started going to their PS4 developer events, got a dev kit, and started playing with it. I don’t have good communication with anyone at Microsoft right now, but all our technical people like the PS4 specs a lot more than the leaked Durango specs [Blow was careful to note that all he knows about the next Xbox comes from the same rumors we have heard on the internet], and we like the positioning of the PS4 (it’s about games) more than what we perceive Microsoft’s positioning is going to be.”
He added, “So we just found ourselves doing a PS4 port. And once we are doing that, it is not practical for us also to think about another console port.”
If you have not been keeping track of The Witness, the game takes place on a relatively small island. The open-world nature of the game allows players to tackle puzzles in any order they want, and abandon or come back to them at any time. This allows the The Witness to contain much harder puzzles than are found in more linear puzzle games, because there is no fear of the player becoming stuck and unable to continue past a certain point.
Each solved puzzle gives the player a small bit of communication that when put together forms a “flow of ideas, presented to you at a high density”.
Check out the first gameplay trailer for The Witness below, which gives off a strong Myst-vibe, thanks to the small-island setting. We will keep an eye out for any further updates on the title and let you know as soon as additional platforms are announced.