Five Years Ago, Jonathan Blow Knew Just What The Witness Would Be

Illustration for article titled Five Years Ago, Jonathan Blow Knew Just What emThe Witness/em Would Be

The Witness was in development for a long time. You might think that part of the reason things took so long was that some of the game’s core design ideas mutated along the way. But a video I shot in 2010 shows that Jonathan Blow’s focus was firmly locked into place even then.

The video below comes from IndieCade 2010, which I covered as a freelancer for IFC six years ago. In it, the man who created Braid talks about his aspirations and intention for The Witness. A month before I saw Blow’s talk, Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo played an early version of the game at PAX Prime. Most of the puzzles in that opening section stayed the same but the overall look the game would evolve more over the next half-decade.

In his Indiecade 2010 talk, Blow said that The Witness wouldn’t be done for at least a year. It took a while longer but the end result is a beautiful one-of-a-kind game that appears to prove out the beliefs that Blow espoused five years ago.


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I read a review for The Bridge (…) that said things like “Puzzle games are always a tricky conundrum, they need to be challenging but not too challenging. They need to empower you and make you feel smart, but you also need to earn it.”

That review annoyed me. It came off as “I’m not smart enough to do this so it’s not good. Everything should be easy enough for ME to figure out.”

You have me VERY interested in The Witness. Maybe I’ll hold out hoping it comes to Xbox (I’m super into Xbox achievements and do most of my gaming on Xbox. I have a PS3, Wii U, and nice PC, but I only play them occasionally), but even if it doesn’t I will definitely get it in a sale.