Profit Isn't Top Priority for The Witness

Profit Isn't Top Priority for The Witness

The creator of Braid would rather make a quality gaming experience than an easy money-grab.

As gaming systems grow more advanced, the costs of producing games rises higher and higher. Many publishers can't risk losing money on a lackluster game that tried something new, so they stick to tried-and-true genres with dedicated audiences. Jonathan Blow, creator of Braid and current developer of the PS4 puzzler The Witness, uses his indie status to reject that line of thinking. In his mind, it's an acceptable loss to spend more money building a game than the game earns back - as long as it brings a high-quality experience to those who do buy it.

"I would definitely like to make our money back on this game and I would like to make a profit on it," says Blow in a post on the PlayStation Blog, "but it's not actually the number one priority. The number one priority is to make the best possible game that we can make, that brings the most beneficial experience to the players."

It's immediately apparent that the ideas behind The Witness would leave most publishers nervous. It's an open-world puzzle game with a focus on exploration and, according to Blow, hidden layers of story and philosophy. With no publisher to pigeon-hole The Witness into more conventional directions, it's free to try these experimental designs. "There's a magic there in the subject that we're exploring," Blow says. "And because the game was not constrained by financial fetters, we were able to find the magic and make it as good as we possibly could."

The Witness will be arriving on the PlayStation 4 as a timed exclusive (relative to other consoles), with a PC or iOS port being a possibility on launch day. This is just one of many independent games that Sony is drawing in with its indie-friendly approach to development. "For a while, we had been generally interested in being on the next Sony console, so we kept up relations with people at Sony," Blow mentions. "At some point those discussions naturally turned to, hey, we're going to have a preliminary dev conference soon, do you want to be in there? And ... that was really good, and the ball started rolling."

We'll see whether or not The Witness will prove to be worth the cost of its development when it launches. There's no set release date yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if it followed close behind the PlayStation 4 in the holiday 2013 window.

Source: PlayStation Blog

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And that practically guarantees they WILL make a profit.

Is this game coming to PC (or even tablet) at all?

He's done it again. He just keeps digging and digging. JBlow saying he wants to make a game for charitable reasons semms to run counter to his decision to give Sony exclusivity rights.

He's basically the opposite of Phil Fish. Fish appears to be a highly intelligent man who has very controversial opinions when in reality he's kind of a wally. Jonathan Blow appears to be a passionate man with insights when in reality he's just a two-faced wanker.

JudgeGame:
He's done it again. He just keeps digging and digging. JBlow saying he wants to make a game for charitable reasons semms to run counter to his decision to give Sony exclusivity rights.

He's basically the opposite of Phil Fish. Fish appears to be a highly intelligent man who has very controversial opinions when in reality he's kind of a wally. Jonathan Blow appears to be a passionate man with insights when in reality he's just a two-faced wanker.

You do realize how odd it is to get mad at Blow about making a game as a timed exclusive and then hold up Fish as a great guy who's only well known game is... a timed exclusive. Maybe Sony he wanted to show support for Sony's business practices? Maybe Sony offered to help pay for the game a bit which allowed for a better over all experience? Why jump to conclusions like this? Indie developers releasing games as timed exclusives is hardly controversial, it's actually quite normal.

pearcinator:
Is this game coming to PC (or even tablet) at all?

If you read the article, you would know it's coming out for PS4, iPad and PC. They started development of PC and just now porting it over to the other two platforms.

JudgeGame:
He's done it again. He just keeps digging and digging. JBlow saying he wants to make a game for charitable reasons seems to run counter to his decision to give Sony exclusivity rights.

He's basically the opposite of Phil Fish. Fish appears to be a highly intelligent man who has very controversial opinions when in reality he's kind of a wally. Jonathan Blow appears to be a passionate man with insights when in reality he's just a two-faced wanker.

Phil's game was timed exclusive, also. Companies like Microsoft and Sony tend to have this perspective that being indie and being on their distribution platform (you know, PSN and XBLA), is like they're doing you some kind of favor. So they usually ask for something in return, like timed exclusivity. It's just how they work(slightly outdated perspective if you ask me). They also help advertise the game, but usually those expenses are taken away from the games profits. Essentially charging the developer for it all, on top of the their cut (I believe it's 30%, for most). My point being, he was probably forced to give them something just be on PSN to begin with. And, really, it's no big deal. If he really wants his game to reach as many people as possible, it only makes sense that he must have a version for consoles. Besides, from what i have read on The Witness blog, he doesn't have intentions to make an Xbox version anyways.

I don't understand why people try to make Jon Blow look pretentious/two-faced/hypocritical or just an overall jackass. It seems unjustified.

As long as he makes quality games, I say he can talk about whatever he wants.

..although Braid story was way too pretentious.

I don't believe that. If they didn't already suspect they'd be making a profit they wouldn't have the freedom to think otherwise.

I imagine that if JBlow wants to keep making games, he will care about profit. However, gameplay trailer had me interested. I'm looking forward to giving it a try. Kinda like a fully 3D Myst :D

Caramel Frappe:
I am unsure if we can trust JBlow or not, but certainly his game is interesting plus not many would want a game with so many puzzles to solve along the way (it might even out-puzzle Portal but then again I probably will get some backlash for saying that lol). Still, as long as he stays true to his word and makes the game unique with creative features and great gameplay then YES please keep doing what you love man. Show Microsoft why their console should of been more about the games!

Trust what? He became indie because he makes the games he wants to make.

If he 'wanted to make a profit' he would've stayed (or returned after Braid) as a developer at a bigname company; you don't become indie for money, and you shouldn't be making games as modern artist for the money either (unless your name is Nicki Minaj.

Revnak:

JudgeGame:
He's done it again. He just keeps digging and digging. JBlow saying he wants to make a game for charitable reasons semms to run counter to his decision to give Sony exclusivity rights.

He's basically the opposite of Phil Fish. Fish appears to be a highly intelligent man who has very controversial opinions when in reality he's kind of a wally. Jonathan Blow appears to be a passionate man with insights when in reality he's just a two-faced wanker.

You do realize how odd it is to get mad at Blow about making a game as a timed exclusive and then hold up Fish as a great guy who's only well known game is... a timed exclusive. Maybe Sony he wanted to show support for Sony's business practices? Maybe Sony offered to help pay for the game a bit which allowed for a better over all experience? Why jump to conclusions like this? Indie developers releasing games as timed exclusives is hardly controversial, it's actually quite normal.

I didn't say Fish was "a great guy". From what I said all that can be gathered is that Fish is a moron who is not a two-faced wanker. I compare him to Fish because while Fish has many faults, he is completely open about his utter idiocy while on the other hand stands Blow pretending to be the Socrates of videogames. I have no problems with exclusivity rights, I have problems with bullshitters.

I like the idea of the game but the puzzles themselfs look really boring.

 

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