Posts Tagged ‘The Witness’

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…

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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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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