The Witness, being developed by Thekla, Inc. since 2008, is a game by Jonathan Blow, creator of Braid. The game is inspired by Myst, and this influence is seen in the game’s setting of an open world island on which the player is free to explore and solve puzzles, all within a first-person view. The island of The Witness is divided into ten sections that are arranged around a mountain, with the mountain itself being the overarching goal for the player. Completing all the puzzles in a given section will unlock a turret that will shine a light towards the mountain.
Players solve puzzles based on mazes presented on panels, however the rules for solving the individual mazes is part of the greater puzzles that the player will learn through visual clues and audio logs found throughout the island. The game is designed to feature as little instruction as possible, leaving it to the player to figure out the puzzles and how to solve them. According to the game’s creators, the game will feature over 650 puzzles to be solved, which may take about 100 hours to solve, although not all of these puzzles are mandatory. The game also features a puzzle that, according to creator Jonathan Blow, only 1% of the players may be able to solve. The puzzles are based around themes, with early puzzles in each section designed to help the player identify the theme for the later puzzles in that section. In fact, the game’s title, “The Witness” is derived from that core gameplay element of making players perceptive of their surroundings to deliver context and eventually solution to the puzzles.
The open world nature of the game means that the puzzles in the game are spread out in a non-linear fashion, and players are free to pick which puzzle they want to attempt at any time, just as they can abandon any puzzle they are currently solving to wander and look for other puzzles.
- Developer: Thekla, Inc.
- Publisher: Thekla, Inc.
- Genre: Puzzle
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC, iOS
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