When Jonathan Blow recently unveiled The Witness, some of my fellow writer-folk reported that the game would be a PS4 exclusive – including yours truly. Indeed, as noted in the liveblog frolic – sometime after the Driveclub demonstration evoked whatever the opposite of “pure, existential bliss” is, but before the caffeine-induced hallucinations found me running naked through the Minneapolis streets, screaming that we were being attacked by the moon – the Braid creator seemed to suggest that his forthcoming game would run on Sony’s WonderBox Mk. IV. Evidently, this is not the case.
In a recent blog entry, Mr. Blow sought to clarify his remarks: stating that The Witness will have “limited-time exclusivity” on the PS4. He denies “speculation” that he was paid for the deal; rather, Blow insists that it was a matter of Sony’s interest in the game, as well as issues with Microsoft:
“To launch a high-spec version of the game on a console, it came down to a choice between the next Microsoft console or the next Sony console. There were people at Sony who really liked the game and were keeping in touch with us about it, and so we naturally started going to their PS4 developer events, got a dev kit, and started playing with it. I don’t have good communication with anyone at Microsoft right now, but all our technical people like the PS4 specs a lot more than the leaked Durango specs, and we like the positioning of the PS4 (it’s about games) more than what we perceive Microsoft’s positioning is going to be.”
Nonetheless, Blow leaves the door open both to the Wii U and Microsoft’s 360 successor. Moreover, the exclusivity deal applies only to consoles; therefore, the deal “does not prevent us from being on the PC or iOS at launch.” The game was originally planned for release on PS3 and Xbox 360, but as time went by, and the current-gen era began to reach its twilight – coupled with “low system specs” for today’s consoles, as well as a laborious porting process – “we realized that the next-generation console launch time might be a good time to release the game.”
The Witness is currently without a release date, though as expected, “we’ll know more as we get much closer to the game being done.” For Jonathan Blow’s full remarks, check out the blog post at this link!