The Witness by Jonathan Blow

The making of the Witness - Interview with Jonathan Blow

Jonathan Blow is a talented video game designer who became world renowned after releasing his first game, Braid, which went on to become a smash, Indie-hit. Braid is considered a keystone title enabling the growth of indie game development since its 2008 release. 

Blow has often spoken about the potential for video games to be so much more than it currently is. According to him, he has always tried to make games that are more adult (not in a risque way) and for people with longer attention spans. He also notes that video games could have a much bigger role to play in our society in the future, but current game development does not address this potential; seeking to produce more low-risk and high-profit titles rather than experimenting with different genres or new styles of gameplay. 

The Witness which was released in 2016 has been Blow's most recent work. It is a 3D, 1st person puzzle game in which the player is stranded on an island and required to solve puzzles. It is notable for its beautiful, calming music and lovely art direction. Blow invested $2-3 million dollars of his own money (which he made from the success of Braid) in order to bring this game to life. 

The Witness was a critical success, grossing US$5 million in its first week and going on to critical acclaim. IGN awarded the game a perfect score of 10/10 calling it a masterpiece and a "beautiful, powerful, and cleverly designed puzzle game with a wealth of mysteries to unravel". 

Blow is an inspiration for anyone who wants to give a go at game development by demonstrating that it is possible to have great commercial success from independent game development. He is an enigmatic personality as well and a wonderful contributor to video game culture. Have a watch of this documentary if you wish to learn how one of Blow's early design ideas blossomed into The Witness. 

If you are a fan of The Witness, we also sell some stunning artwork from the game: