The Witness could launch on PC or iOS simultaneously with the PS4 release.
Nearly four years after first teasing his follow-up to Braid, game designer Jonathan Blow showed off The Witness as a timed PS4 exclusive at Wednesday's PlayStation Meeting. Blow clarified the announcement on the game's website today, explaining that the statement of exclusivity only referred to consoles. "You will see the game on the PlayStation 4 for a while before you will see it on the Wii U or the rumored next Microsoft console... This exclusivity does not prevent us from being on the PC or iOS at launch, for example," Blow wrote.
He also divulged some of the reasoning for going with the PlayStation 4 for The Witness' console debut, which he says had nothing to do with money:
"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. So we just found ourselves doing a PS4 port. And once we are doing that, it is not practical for us also to think about another console port."
Blow added that he decided not to go with a PS3 or Xbox 360 version because of those consoles' technical limitations and the amount of work in porting The Witness to them. While the decision to launch The Witness on the PS4 may have been the result of timing, system specs, and a good relationship with Sony, Blow was required to pledge console exclusivity in order to show off the game at the PlayStation Meeting: "To be in the show we signed a timed exclusivity for competing consoles. But this was just a formalization of something that was already going to be the case."
Of course, this isn't an announcement that The Witness will appear on PC, iOS, or any other console; Blow is just clarifying when that would be a possibility. The release date and non-PS4 platforms for The Witness have yet to be announced, but we'll surely hear more about the puzzle game as we get closer to the console's holiday 2013 release.
Source: The Witness