Posts Tagged ‘the witness’

Six Years Later, The Witness Gets A Release Date

The Witness [official site] always sounds to me like a Lynda La Plante two-part drama which would air on ITV and feature foreboding music and chilling crime. Braid creator J.Blo thinks differently and has now presented a taster of his brightly-coloured, six years in the making puzzle island in the form of a launch date trailer.

Video and thoughts below:

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A Good Puzzle Game Is Hard To Build

Making a puzzle game is certainly no piece of cake! Ha! Ha! Ha! *cuts wrists*

I love puzzle games. But it’s not beating them that’s the exciting part: it’s understanding them.

Whether mulling over a cryptic crossword or somersaulting through Portal’s portals, there’s a moment of epiphany which, for me, pretty much transcends all other moments in gaming. But how do you design a puzzle to best provoke that eureka moment? What gives a puzzle its aesthetic, its pace and texture? Why does one puzzle feel thrilling while another feels like a flat mental grind?

I’ve asked three of my favourite puzzle game designers to demystify their dark magicks: Jonathan Blow, best known for the puzzle-platformer Braid and currently hard at work on firstperson perplexathon, The Witness; Alan “Draknek” Hazelden, creator of Sokoban-inspired sequential-logic games, including Sokobond, Mirror Isles and the forthcoming A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build; and Jonathan Whiting, a programmer on Sportsfriends and collaborator with Hazelden on Traal, whose own games are a regular Ludum Dare highlight.

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No Longer Silent: Ten Minutes Of The Witness

Witness this.

The Witness is Jonathan Blow’s next game, so it makes sense that it be filled with brain-teasing puzzles. It makes a little less sense to me that those puzzles be mazes, which appear on screens littered around its colourful island environment. How do the screens and the world interact?

There’s ten minutes of new footage below, as recorded by YouTube user NukemDukem at a preview event last November. It shows the game’s opening and introductory puzzles, and it certainly looks interesting.

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Witness Jon Blow’s The Witness In Motion

Apparently “PlayStation 4 will be the only console that The Witness is on” when it first launches. Which is a very un-clever way of saying, “and also, it’ll be on PC,” but whatever. We get an actual, factual trailer of Braid creator Jonathan Blow’s latest out of the deal, so Sony’s inhumanly lengthy, droning “pppfffthrp” of a commercial‘s no skin off my nose. But I digress. The Witness, if you’ll remember, is set on an open-world island full of laser puzzles. It also looks exceedingly attractive. I’m not sure what to think about the puzzles themselves, but it’s tough to get a bead on these things when you’re not, you know, solving them. Anyway, trailer ahoy!

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A People’s History Of The FPS, Part 1: The WAD

“A People’s History” is a three part essay series by Robert Yang. He told us that he wanted to write an alternate view of the traditionally accepted history of the FPS genre as entirely dominated and driven by the mainstream, commercial industry, and to “argue for a long-standing but suppressed tradition of non-industry involvement in the first-person genre”. This is part one.

In 1994, the New York Times filed a review of a first-person game under its “Arts” section, proclaiming it to be “a game that weaves together image, sound and narrative into a new form of experience.” It sold millions of copies and inspired dozens of imitators. It seemed poised to define an era.

That game was Myst and it failed to define an era. Instead, a game called Doom came out three months after Myst — and then it shot Myst in the face.
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Coming to Blow’s: The Witness Interview

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Master Jonathan Blow has achieved unexpected fame and fortune through the creation of a logistical contrivance called Braid. Glad of this success, he has travelled far from his native San Francisco to take lodgings in riotous London’s Clerkenwell district, so that he might demonstrate his his newest invention – rudely entitled “The Witness” – to the skeptical souls of the old world, including Mister Griliopoulos, unexpectedly standing in for Professor Rossignol. We join the interview at the point where the auteur is struggling with the thinking device hosting his daemonic design.

Now do read on…

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The Witness: Hands On

In an antiquarian hotel room in London’s historic Clerkenwell, Braid creator Jonathan Blow is shaking his shaven head. His laptop has decided it doesn’t want to run The Witness, his new game and he’s copying all the files over to his spare laptop. (If you want to know what it says about Blow that he’s the sort of man who carries a spare laptop… go hire a haruspex.) The game, he tells me, has just over a year to go now, with the appearance and sound likely to change; the 300 puzzles, though, they’ll stay the same. As he copies, I watch the file-names flick by: …theater… trees… rocket launcher… caves… wait, rocket launcher? It turns out Blow was making a very different game after Braid, before the Witness and some of the files are still hanging around in The Witness.
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The Witness Debuts To Few Witnesses

I'm hoping The Island is some kind of Prisoner riff.

While Spyparty and Monaco were rocking PAX as hard as their mighty indie thews could manage, Jonathan Blow wanted to do something a little subtler. In a corner of the Spyparty/Monaco booth, with no fanfare or sign-age whatsoever, the Braid-creator set up the Witness and let people come and play. Why unveil his work in such a way? As opposed to the general melee of a show, he “wanted to do something that is subtle, and a surprise — if you notice it, and decide to investigate, you find something unexpected”. Also, let people play as long as they want. Among them was Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo who wrote up some impressions and took some cam-footage…
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Can I Get A… Blow Reveals His Witness

Locked door, I hate you

Jonathan Blow’s taken his time to openly discuss what he’s up to in the wake of Braid being a runaway hit (some of which’s profits he’s funneled into the Indie Fund, gentleman that he is), but now he’s allowing the world a little peek down his trousers of tomorrow.
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The Witness Vs Time Donkey

Mmm, me too.

This is rather cute. Almost immediately after Jonathan Blow announces his new game, Flashbang follow up with a parody site to announce their own. This is our way of telling you: Jonathan Blow and Flashbang have announced new games.

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