Let's put down the guns in virtual reality, and learn to pick up anything else

The modern virtual reality community was recharged when enthusiasts finally had VR hardware that was worth a damn, and now Sony is getting into the game. Oculus itself has been acquired for $2 billion in cash and stock. The promise of virtual reality is beginning to look a lot less virtual and much more like reality. The art of putting someone inside a game instead of watching things from a static position outside of the frame, through a two-dimensional screen, is still being perfected. Developers are still learning what they can do, and that’s an amazing thing. I have only one polite request: Let’s try, at least at first, to put down the guns. Violence isn't aspirational, it's filler There are new gun peripherals coming to virtual reality, and a demo my son was given of a new...


Check out Sony's list of PS4 games hitting in 2014, DriveClub is TBA

A post on the PlayStation Blog blog today by social media manager Sid Shuman corrals a list of the games headed PlayStation 4 in North America this year. The list is broken down into six categories, beginning with Out Now, which contains games already released. Spring releases include Child of Light, Sportsfriends and Watch Dogs. Summer releases include Destiny, Murdered: Soul Suspect and The Elder Scrolls Online. Fall's releases contain Dragon Age: Inquisition, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number and The Witness. This winter, games scheduled to hit PS4 count Assassin's Creed Unity, Guns of Icarus Online and Ray's the Dead (pictured above) among them. Games with release dates to be announced include Batman: Arkham Knight, Diablo 3 Ultimate Evil Edition and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor,...


How The Witness devs design to both imitate and iterate on life

Luis Antonio, senior 3D artist at independent developer Thekla, has an interesting approaching to artistic design. In a talk at GDC this morning, Antonio explained how the studio's tiny art team studied artworks of realism and real-world geography to make the visuals of Jonathan Blow's The Witness an extension of the exploration puzzle title's gameplay. Antonio explained Blow wanted to minimize the amount of noise players are exposed to; there is no ambient audio in any of the game's several environments. Additionally, the art must support and extend the gameplay principles — building on the puzzles created for each area — and the island environment must be based on real-world islands. On the subject of the latter, Antonio said the development team strove to create realistic physics...


The next generation of indies faces a tough fight

That's the view of Gone Home creator Steve Gaynor, speaking at DICE on Wednesday. Welcoming new developers and fresh ideas, he nonetheless warned that new indies could face a tougher time that his generation of creators, who have ridden "the first wave" of post-AAA dominance via opportunities presented by low cost development tools like Unity, powerful digital distribution agents such as Steam and hyper-connected social media. "When the first wave came out all they had to worry about was AAA," he said. "They had this proposition of something different that didn't cost $60 that people were saying was really cool. But the thing that is happening now is that those guys are making their follow-ups and those games are being marketed and perceived differently than the first wave, which were...


How Valve tech convinced Jonathan Blow to add VR to The Witness

The mystery has been solved. Last November, Jonathan Blow posted a pair of cryptic images labeled "vr1" and "vr2" on the official website for his upcoming first-person exploration game The Witness. The only text — "What could it mean??" — offered no explanation. He told Polygon at the time that he wanted "to support VR really well with this game — because The Witness is a game that is about exploring a space at your own speed, and walking around and looking at things, and not worrying about getting your face bitten off by a monster." What he didn't tell anyone is what he was experimenting with — until today, when he solved the mystery he created late last year. Blow was "pessimistic about VR systems in the near future," he wrote, in part because those he'd tried "didn't seem to...

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Indie Fund backs Loveshack Entertainment's Framed

Indie Fund, the funding source for independent developers, announced today that it is supporting Loveshack Entertainment's comic panel switching game, Framed. As part of the support, Indie Fund will financially back Loveshack based on the studio's budget needs to complete Framed. Indie Fund's investment model gives its developers lots of flexibility with no long term obligations, no milestones and a repayment system that offers the developer a share of the game's revenue. Indie Fund has previously thrown its support behind games like Dear Esther, Antichamber, Monaco and The Swapper. The fund itself was created by a group of independent developers that includes Jonathan Blow (Braid, The Witness), Ron Carmel (World of Goo), Kellee Santiago (Flower, Journey) and Nathan Vella (Super Time...


Jonathan Blow experimenting with virtual reality support for The Witness

Indie developer Jonathan Blow is experimenting with virtual reality support for his upcoming puzzle game The Witness, he told Polygon today. Earlier today, Blow posted a pair of screenshots on the game's official website, named "vr1" and "vr2," showing two different doorways within The Witness. The header for Blow's post simply reads, "What could it mean??" Blow confirmed that the screenshots were taken through virtual reality rendering and that his studio has been "doing some research in that direction." "We want to support VR really well with this game — because The Witness is a game that is about exploring a space at your own speed, and walking around and looking at things, and not worrying about getting your face bitten off by a monster," Blow said. "It seems to be a lot more...


The Witness is a puzzle wrapped in an enigma

The Witness is a game of individual maze puzzles but, more than this, it's a game of how the puzzles connect with one another and with the world they inhabit. Creator Jonathan Blow has set out to create a game that welcomes players seeking to interact with its secrets but which does not give itself up too readily. The puzzles are line-mazes which the player must complete, albeit without restricting the player to a linear path. "I want to build a structure where you start out knowing nothing," Blow told Polygon. "You gradually know some more things and by the end of the game you potentially know a lot, based on how you engaged with the game, but there is still space. It's not one of those things where it tells you every last detail and who thought what. There's room for you to fill in...


Sony won't 'segregate indies from traditional publishers' on PS4, senior manager says

Sony won't differentiate between traditional publishers and indies on the PlayStation 4 because "Every single individual developer is a publisher as far as we're concerned," Agostino Simonetta, senior account manager of development at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, said at the Develop Conference this week. "We don't separate, we don't segregate indies from traditional publishers," Joystiq quotes Simonetta as saying. Under the PS4's level publishing playing field, indie developers can work with Sony to determine release dates and promote their games through the PlayStation Blog and social networks. Developers can even visit the SCE Europe offices. "For us, it's key that each and every one of the companies working on PlayStation can come and talk to us at any time they want or...

The Witness Releases
North America
  • PlayStation 4
    • Publisher Sony Computer Entertainment
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