The Witness on PlayStation 4: Tiny Details in a Very Big PS4 World
Thekla Inc President Jonathan Blow shared some fresh PS4 details today of the very big world of The Witness on PlayStation 4.
To quote: It has been a while since we made a post on PlayStation.Blog, so I thought I would give an update about what we are working on.
The Witness takes place on an island full of puzzles. The island is an open world; you can go anywhere you want, and the game does not try to force you into a linear path.
For the past couple of years, we have had the island mostly built in a gameplay sense, and we were trying it out, moving things around, developing location concepts, tweaking puzzles. At this point, most of that stuff is figured out, so we are now going through all the areas of the island and detailing them.
What we learned in this process is that the island is in fact very big, for a place where you carefully visit every location during gameplay! Correspondingly, for a small independent team like ours, detailing this huge space is a lot of work!
Just the other week, we played through the game from start to finish, to get a fresh perspective and to see everything that is here (because when you are working on a small piece of a game for a long time, it becomes very easy to get tunnel vision and to see only that small piece).
Originally I had meant to design an 8-hour game, but The Witness is more like 25-40 hours depending on how much you play (some of the game is optional!)
I suspect this is the biggest and most-intricate world ever built for a puzzle game (someone get a consultant from the Guinness Book to verify that!)
On the tech side, we are working on making The Witness run with a smooth and solid frame rate, making the graphics look as nice as possible, and ensuring that the streaming system loads things quickly.
We wrote our own engine for this game, so on the one hand, it means we get to do a lot of work; but on the other hand, it means we have precise control and can tweak it carefully until it is the highest-quality experience we can deliver.