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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!

While presenting the Myst-like explorer during Sony’s miserable nonference, Blow called it “a game about epiphany” – because Jon Blow, basically. More importantly, he noted that it’ll clock in at around 25 hours, which is quite hefty by modern puzzling standards. Other than that, however, we don’t have a whole lot to go on.

Well, except for Dan’s massive heap of impressions and chit-chat with Blow from many, many moons ago. Obviously, things could have changed quite a lot since then, but – at the time – our absentee Lord of Grills described the island’s tapestry of dreamlike environments and unpredictable puzzles as:

“A game about working your mind hard, becoming aware of the world around you and coming to appreciate how it can be integrated with puzzles about sound, shadows, texture, mathematics, location, light and memory, never knowing what’s going to be relevant to the next puzzle. Like Blow’s Braid, it’s also about the expression of both philosophical concepts and of intriguing, rapidly-changing mechanics, though neither of these are forced on you.”

So it sounds intriguing, but it also certainly has the potential to be just as divisive as Braid’s highly symbolic brand of hop ‘n’ bop – if not more so. That said, while I don’t think Braid was the revolution many people wanted it to be, it certainly made a mark. Overwrought or not, Blow’s visions are unflinching in their confidence, so they land with cannon-ball-like impact. There’s something to be said for that, I think. As for what exactly it is, well, there’s a reason we all argue so much over the guy in the first place.

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Nathan Grayson

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