The Witness

The Witness from Jonathan Blow is now available to preorder for the PC, but not the PS4

If you so choose you can put your money down for a copy, before the game is released next Tuesday.

Game designer Jonathan Blow has been working on The Witness – the follow-up to his 2008 indie smash hit, Braid – for nearly seven years. He first talked about it back in 2009, approximately one year after his first game had done so well on the XBox 360, via its Live Arcade.

Now, with its release date less than a week away, developer Thekla Inc. has revealed the title’s price on PC ($40/€37/£30) and you can preorder it via Steam or the Humble Store to ensure you get to see what all the fuss is about on January 26th. Sadly, if you’re just busting to give away your money, you won’t be able to do the same for the Playstation 4.

According to Jonathan and his team, they weren’t aware that preorders on PSN needed to be arranged months in advance, so nothing will be there until the game is released. Perhaps a little strange considering Sony’s initial fostering of the project, wheeling Blow out to reveal the game as a PS4 exclusive at the console’s debut event in February 2013.

Earlier in the week there were murmurs around an XBox One version, after the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) rating was uncovered – it was awarded an E (for Everybody). The certificate lists Microsoft’s console alongside the PC and PS4 platforms, stirring up hope that The Witness would soon be coming to XBoxes everywhere.

Blow later clarified that they had no immediate plans for an XBox version of the game – they had only included the XBox One in the list so that they wouldn’t have to submit another request for a separate rating from the ESRB further down the line. All hopes dashed. It will arrive eventually though. Hold tight.

In a recent post on the Playstation Blog, Blow introduced some of the actors who have lent their vocal talents to The Witness, in the form of that potentially overused narrative device, the audio log. He does, however, point out that the device is used in a “highly non-traditional” way, whilst warning that the story in the game is “fairly subtle and happens mostly implicitly” – if you progress far enough and pay enough attention, you’ll be piecing the story together as your pick your way around The Witness’ diverse island environs.

The actors named were Ashley Johnson (Ellie from The Last of Us, as well as Tales from the Borderlands and Infamous: First Light), Phil LaMarr (Vamp from Metal Gear Solids 2 and 4, Ratbag from The Shadow of Mordor, Marvin from Pulp Fiction), Matthew Waterson (The Order: 1886, Fallout 4 and Halo 5) and lastly Terra Deva (from The Mickey Mouse Club…). But in spite of their efforts, don’t expect a “traditional game story like The Last of Us or The Order.

It’s a beautifully rendered little title, with intriguing premise, don’t you think? I’ll certainly be taking a look at it when it launches on January 26th. How about you? Did you play Braid back in 2008? What do you think of Jonathan Blow and his output? Comments are welcome below if you feel like you want to engage. I’m game if you are.

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