Jonathan Blow, creator of acclaimed XBLA puzzle platformer and IGF winner Braid
, brought his next title, The Witness
, to last weekend's Penny Arcade Expo, but most people probably missed it -- its debut was unannounced, unmarked, and hidden at SpyParty/Monaco
Blow says the reason
he kept The Witness
' public debut low-key was to counter the traditional approach companies take of capturing people's attention and trying to sell them things, and also to give players as much time as they want to try it out without a line of people waiting behind them.
The designer also said he wanted to show The Witness
directly to gamers, completely free of any preconceived notions about its creator or the game itself, which he describes as an "exploration-puzzle game on an uninhabited island."
"Before PAX, only two people had ever played the game; those people were game developers, and the versions they played were very rudimentary," said Blow. "This was the first time the game had ever been played by general players, and I wanted to see how people would react to it, as honestly as possible."
He viewed The Witness
play sessions from afar, without interfering. "Happily, the game worked very well -- despite the fact that the visuals are still in an early prototype stage," said Blow. "People tended to play for a long time, and they liked what they played."
He added, "I am very happy with how this playtest session went. I am glad I was able to bring a game directly to players, as a surprise." The Witness
will release for multiple platforms some time late next year.
Kotaku noted the game's first public appearance and captured three minutes of footage
from the game. The site points out that the game is "far from finished" as the demo was filled with placeholder art and early puzzles.
(Image from The Witness news blog