What a Difference a Year Makes

August 2010:

September 2011:

August 2012:


  1. I can only imagine what it will look like a year from now. Hopefully it will be done before then. It’s definitely been evolving a lot recently.

  2. The mountain just keeps getting taller all the time!

  3. That 2010 screenshot doesn’t even seem like that long ago, it’s amazing how far the island has come. Awesome work, best wishes on the next year of development!

  4. That is definitely some progress. It got me to thinking, though, if you ever get frustrated by how long it takes/is taking to finish a game project? Obviously, it’s not prudent to get ahead of yourself, but I’m sure, if you’re like me, you gotta lot of stuff floating around in your head or on paper that you want to reify.

    • Yes, I would definitely like to be able to make more things faster than we currently are. I am not sure how to do that without dropping quality (but we will try).

      • My thoughts:
        1) Take as long as you need to do it right.
        2) OMG GIVE ME THE GAME NOW!!!

        I am having difficulty reconciling the two.

  5. Do you feel like developing a lot of gameplay earlier and doing most of the art later is your ideal workflow moving forward? Would there have been any advantage to developing more assets back in 2010 in terms of how that would inspire puzzle design or do you feel like you’ve homed in on a optimal structure for your way of working?

    • How we are doing this game is probably not perfect but I don’t have a better idea about how to structure it. If the engine had been fully-ready-to-go at the start, we would have shaved off a fair bit of time, probably. But I am not sure if that would have resulted in some of the puzzles being worse because they weren’t thought about over enough calendar time. Sometimes you just need time. I don’t know.

      I don’t think it would have been a good idea to produce “assets” earlier. That only makes things clunkier and more inertial.

  6. I like how the various areas have distinct color palettes (I remember a post about this some time ago). I see a tendency, though, in oversaturating some colors. That could be just what you wanted, but since you are still in the development process why don’t you take a look at some perceptual color systems for inspiration?


    Also I like the vignetting in the last shot camera. :)

  7. @Andrew: Curious to hear your take on your question actually – the visuals on Parsimonia look fantastic – I assume you guys are taking an art first or an art-as-you-go approach rather than prototyping gameplay thoroughly up front? Interested to hear how that’s been so far.

    I’ve been mostly “polishing as I go” for the game I’m working on currently, which is a departure from the prototyping-first I’ve done in the past – it’s been nice when getting feedback, as people “get” the game a bit more easily without me having to give a bunch of caveats, and I find I feel better about it as I’m developing since I’m not seeing as much ugly temporary art and unfinished todos for months on end. Also gives me a better sense of the production effort ahead. I guess the risk is that if my gameplay vision sucks or needs massive revision I’ll end up tossing a lot of that work.

  8. I’m impressed! Lot of work over here.

  9. Wow, a year really does a lot, let alone two. Like a lot of people I really want it to be released soon, but even if I didn’t I have to say that the latest screenshot is starting to look a lot like what could be an end result. I mean there’s obviously still a lot to do, but things are starting to look like they’re getting into their final or penultimate stages.

  10. Wow, thank you for posting this. As an amateur dev, it’s incredibly inspiring to see how things have changed. Like most, I hate programmer art, but it’s all I’m capable of. Seeing it turn from one to the other is just amazing.

    Also, I really, really want to play this. Hurry. ;)

  11. it’s a bit strange that in this uninhabited island we can find some “modern” architecture. (sorry for my bad english : i’m a french fan)… How does the human species has disappear so fast ? Is the game about that ? There iare a lot of different architecture in the same place, that’s a bit strange too. The water and the sand makes me feel like I’m in “from dust”, good job !

  12. I know! I was thinking about that too, BlackTree!

    The people that were there before the witness himself. What happened to them? Where did they go? Why did they leave in the first place? Why did they even go to that island in the first place! What happened so that they had to migrate there, build, and then just leave?

    And why did the witness go there willingly? and how did The Designer take over it all?

  13. Watching that little cloud of smog in the background disappear over the years made me kinda sad.

  14. Awesome! Seeing the progression over time is great. Excited to play this!

  15. I think that for a game of this type, everything will be concentrated in subtle details. Music also will play a great part. This is really like “crafting” a game and refining it than throwing lots of features and content everywhere like most western games are.
    I hope you succeed on that concept of “crafting” the game and refining it. But anyway you are the guy have theorized on public the most around that subject, so I guess we will have a nice attempt whatever comes out of it.

  16. @justin
    Maybee it’s not supposed to be realistic and it is just a kind of test. What would you be if you were the last human in the world ? Will you still be a human ? I think the game is more phycologic than realistic. (again, sorry for my bad english)

    • @BlackTree: I think in this sense it is supposed to be realistic and very! Idk about the graphic style and if they are going for realistic or photoreal graphics but just look at the island and the history. alot of care and attention went into making it plausible and realistic. From the island features, history and its natural occurrences. And the psychological part of being alone and lonely in an environment reminds me of Braid too, but in Brid you atleast had enemies, here you have nothing. just you in the island and trust me you won’t be getting off the island at the end of the game there is no “Oh this was a good experience now I’m leaving the island and going home!” but why can’t the witness leave? Maybe he did all this to become the designer? Maybe I played this game to become a game designer/programmer and I won’t be leaving this island? And what was I doing in a dark hallway, coming from underground tunnels?

      btw: Your English is great don’t worry!

      • Errr… Well, let’s wait for the game, but I think they will be very different suppositions about the story, like for Braid. Even in France there are a lot of debate about Braid, is it really the creation of the nuclear bomb ? I don’t think so…
        You know, my English is not so good, I’m only 15… I still have a lot of things to learn in English.

  17. More the time taken the better it looks… The journey to the game’s completion seems more exciting than it can be… Best of Luck to all the hard workers of this game!! :D
    Braid is like a unique Genre in games and this seems to be making another unique Genre by itself…The feeling while playing Braid can’t be expressed in mere words and hope this game too gives that same feeling :)

  18. All I can say, definitely and without a doubt that the witness will be the most inspiring video game of all time.

    Take as much time as it takes to finish it, I could even wait 20, 30 years just to play this refine piece of art.

  19. Fascinating! Just read the Atlantic bit and am so happy to see your work. I have been so disappointed to see the progress of gaming because it is so the stereotype of male violence and I so want to see guys pay attention to the behavior being perpetuated. Is it really violence that that you want to choose all the time to solve problems? When will there be a shift to non-violence and the use of minds instead of weapons? When will men evolve and choose to change their behavior? I think your work is a BIG step in that direction and a step towards a more peaceful and creative world. Thank you!

  20. Nice. I can’t wait to play it too. Pity I have to wait at least a year more.

  21. big fan of your work and thinking jonathan

    keep it up, and looking forward to the game ;)

  22. 2010 and ’12 are my favorite :) Not sure what you were thinking in 2011.

    Speeding up the game development process… Hrm.

  23. big fan of your work and thinking jonathan keep it up, and looking forward to the game .Watching that little cloud of smog in the background disappear over the years made me kinda sad.

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