Posts Tagged ‘The Witness’

The RPS 2016 Advent Calendar, Dec 8th – The Witness

It’s the end of another puzzling year in which plenty of things have made us scratch our head and frown so hard that we have permanent crease-marks in our foreheads. The RPS Advent Calendar highlights our favourite games of the year, daily, and behind today’s door is…

The year’s best puzzle game: blow me down, it’s The Witness [official site].

Read the rest of this entry »

Photographic Evidence: The Witness Adds Ansel Support

As pretty as it is, I don’t know why you’d share screenshots of The Witness [official site] – the primary response seems to be people screaming that your screenshot of a pebble contains the hugest of spoilers. However, bold video game photographers now have a new tool. J. Blo and Thekla’s puzzler has added support for Ansel, the super-swish camera mode exclusive to Nvidia cards. It lets players place the camera where they please, tweak lens settings like rotation and field of view, then save snaps in fancy formats like 63360×35640 or VR view-o-spheres. Pretty!

Read the rest of this entry »

The Bestest Best Games Of 2016 So Far

We usually do our enormous GAMES OF THE YEAR posting fest at the end of the year (as would seem logical) but because it seems silly to reserve praise for special occasions we’re doing a Games Of The Half Year collection to tell you about everything we’ve loved playing so far. It can double as a summer holiday recommendations list too!

We’ve listed ours in alphabetical order to prevent genre-based punch-ups in the staff chatroom. We’d also invite you to list any gems we haven’t mentioned or might not have played in the comments below.

Just hit the left and right arrow keys to navigate the Games Of The Half Year or click on the arrows next to the images to get started!

Witness The Witness Remade In 8-Bitness

In the great tradition of taking something cool and then reducing it to its most basic elements while simultaneously challenging what made it cool in the first place, someone has made an NES version of The Witness It’s a curious thing, because at first glance The Witness is a game about tracing lines through grids so that you can trace different lines through different grids. In that pursuit, The Wit.nes [Itch page] seems to excel.

Read the rest of this entry »

Flash Bang Wallop! Nvidia Ansel’s Screenshot Tools

Nvidia have unveiled their next top-end GPU, the GeForce GTX 1080, which they say can draw lots of really nice pictures really fast. Look, I’m sure Jeremy and his Week in Tech will have more to say about that soon, but what’s interesting to me is the software they announced alongside it. Nvidia Ansel will let people take fancier screenshots, pausing the action to rearrange the camera, apply effects, take ultra-high-res snaps, make 360-degree panoramas compatible with VR goggles, and so on. Support for Ansel is coming to Nvidia GPUs for games including The Witcher 3, The Witness, and No Man’s Sky, and it’ll work on many cards older than the 1080 too.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Great Outdoors: The Witness

While attending GDC I was thinking a lot about how “outdoors” works in videogames and speaking to artists and designers about how they had approached those environments. I was relatively early on in my experience of The Witness [official site] but I was intrigued by how many biomes were crammed onto a small island space without it ever feeling overcrowded. With that in mind I sat down with artist Luis Antonio to talk geography, architectural decay and why a simple handrail needs an entire backstory…

Read the rest of this entry »

Dark Souls’ Uncompromising Design Leaves No Space For An Easy Mode

Dark Souls [official site] isn’t for everyone in the same way that a bowl of piping hot broth isn’t for everyone. Let it cool for a while, add some seasoning, and people might happily tuck in and enjoy, but if you expect them to eat it exactly as you would – whether that’s by chugging it down in a few swift gulps or taking tiny sips long after it’s gone cold – a fair few folks would rather have a nice sandwich instead. Nothing wrong with that. Nobody should have to drink soup through a straw.

Or should they? Given the cries of ‘git gud’ that greet many complaints about the difficulty – or inaccessibility – of Dark Souls, it’s tempting to see those who love the series as precisely the sort of people who would chase you away from the bowl if you brought a spoon to the soup kitchen. “NO SPOONS” they’d shriek “YOU WON’T APPRECIATE IT IF YOU DON’T GET IT ALL DOWN YOUR CHIN AND THE FRONT OF YOUR JUMPER BEFORE YOU MANAGE TO SWALLOW A MOUTHFUL”

I wholly agree with these kitchen monsters.

Read the rest of this entry »

How Does The Witness Teach Without Words?

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites a developer to help him put their game up on blocks and take a wrench to hack out its best feature, just to see how it works.

The Witness [official site] is generally considered to be very hard. It is frequently very hard! I’m feeling a little brutalised by a succession of puzzles that I encountered last night. But I’m not sure it’s particularly hard compared to all puzzle games. Sokobond, Pullblox and Box Boy on Nintendo 3DS, Spacechem, The Talos Principle: I find all good puzzle games hard.

But in The Witness you feel peculiarly alone. Everything you know about the game you’ve learned yourself from observation and experimentation, a feature that doesn’t make The Witness unique, but combined with its sheer wordlessness, it makes its puzzles feel awfully cold when you’re stumped. And yet answers do come, because the game is always subtly teaching you, a lesson that starts right at the game’s beginning, in the Entry Yard, where you experience its:

THE MECHANIC: Non-verbal tutorial

Read the rest of this entry »

The Witness And Its Colour Palettes

So this is the irritating situation I find myself in. I want to talk about the things I’ve found and seen and taken pictures of in The Witness [official site]. Except because of the infernal “environmental clue-giving” aspect I can’t do that without running the risk of giving spoilers or whatnot by accident – spoilers I might not even know exist.

But! I have uploaded the images from different areas to Colourstory which is an app I use to get an idea for the relative proportions of colours in a picture/set of pictures. Here I was using it because I wanted to see whether the differences between each area were as striking as I thought they were when I was wandering between puzzles. The results were pretty in and of themselves AND, unless J. Blo was using relative proportions of colour to impart valuable game information (OH NO, WHAT IF HE WAS DOING THAT?) I think these would be classed as spoiler-free!

Read the rest of this entry »

The Witness And The Joy Of Note-Taking

Inspired by recent experiences with The Witness’ [official site] puzzles, Robert Zak has been reminiscing about the art of note-taking while playing games. From graph paper for dungeon crawlers to suspicions and clues for Her Story [official site], many genres are represented, with only the noble pen and paper to hold them together.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: The Witness

After a whopping seven years in development, Jonathan Blow’s follow-up to Braid is finally here. The Witness [official site] throws out much — though not all — of the pompousness of its predecessor to deliver a less obtuse, modernised riff on Myst. And it’s actually quite brilliant, if you can ignore its layer of self-satisfied philosophical grandiosity. Here’s wot I think.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Witness Sells Well, Next Game “Maybe Bigger”

I’d normally not care one jot about how many copies a game has sold, but there has been enough reportage of The Witness‘s budget that I can’t deny I’m interested in how it fared. So maybe you’d also like to know that Jonathan Blow has said on Twitter that the game “is on track to sell more in a week than Braid sold in its first year.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Get Up, Come On, Get Down With The Witness

As you might have guessed from all the riotous jokes on Twitter about finding the laser gun in The Witness [official site], about losing the boss battle with the ice wizard on level three, asking how to craft a diamond pickaxe, about unlocking the warp drive, and about the ghost, J. Blo & co’s puzzler came out last night. We’ll be telling you Wot We Think in a bit, but for now here’s a reminder that hey, it is out!

Read the rest of this entry »

The Witness’s Famous Voices And Regular Prices

Jonathan Blow’s time-twisting platformer Braid was a powerful force in the latest resurgence of indie games, helping propel them into the relative mainstream. Since 2008, J. Blo and his studio have been working on The Witness [official site], and the colourful puzzler will finally arrive on January 26th. Consider this me reminding you of that, while also relaying word that it’ll cost £30 and its voice cast includes some folks that might make you say “Hey! I liked that voice they did! e.g. Ellie from The Last of Us off that there PlayStation, and Hermes out Futurama.” You talk funny.

Read the rest of this entry »

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:

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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!

Read the rest of this entry »

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.
Read the rest of this entry »

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…

Read the rest of this entry »