Island Snapshot

Can it be that we haven't posted an island snapshot since January 3rd?


Well, you got a pretty good look at the island in the trailer we recently released in conjunction with the PlayStation 4 announcement. That version has a lot of new modeling compared to the January snapshot, because we were working on the trailer pretty hard. But some new modeling has happened since then, and there are some subtle but nice things to see here.

Since someone is going to ask: The current puzzle count is 499.


  1. I’m curious what the order of magnitude is for tri-count. I mean if you were measuring at the highest LOD for the whole island. It would be an interesting benchmark to know what you’re in the neighborhood of, making a professional game at this scale.


  2. You’ve got to get whoever made the clouds to write a post about them. Because they look fucking fantastic. If the game is a failure (I tease :P), it’ll go down in history as having the best looking clouds in anything ever.

    • I absolutely agree! I’ve been waiting semi-patiently to hear more about the clouds since I first saw them. They almost look as if they’ve all been hand-painted onto the screenshots. Love it!

  3. I assume you have a nice time lapse video of that island forming and building up?

    • Yes yes! A time lapse video would be awesome. I’m pretty sure many people would second that idea. Give that project to someone who isn’t developing the game so that all you have to do was make a phone call to the right person.

  4. May I ask when the PC version of the game will come out.Can’t wait to explore

  5. Over time I’d built a connection…an emotional bond with the Eco-friendly windmill. She’s gone now – and she didn’t even give me a chance to ask what I did wrong.

    I was with her through her Norse phase all the way through her slick holier-than-thou new age minimalist phase. Now it’s over with no explanation. Probably ran off with some guy with a ’97 Suzuki Katana and a mustache. Forget her – I can do better.

    • Maybe the windmill is on holiday.

      • Very strange. That windmill was one of the first and most iconic things I saw for The Witness. It would seem very odd at this point for it to disappear completely. Perhaps Jon could elaborate on its apparent disappearance. Is it just moved somewhere we can’t see?

        • The windmill is even the icon for the game’s .exe! I’m sure it will be there maybe they are working on it or took it out for spoilers

  6. Puzzle count decreasing? How transparent. I thought that Blow and his cohorts were above the act of removing game content and packaging it in “Day 1” DLC… how sad.

    Kidding! But almost 500 discrete puzzles seems CRAZY big.

  7. This game looks more and more interesting, but I seriously cannot imagine how 20+ hours of solid gameplay will remain as interesting throughout this small island. After Braid however I trust Mr. Blow’s skills of level design and general game quality, so I guess I’ll just have to be patient.

  8. Imagine if each of those puzzles is accompanied by an “aha!” moment. Nearly 500 “aha!”s in one game? Incredible. I can’t wait.

  9. I hope there’s a cave in the game.

    I hope that in the cave is the 3rd hardest puzzle.

    I hope that somewhere else in the cave also is the 3rd hardest puzzle in the game.

    Just a few more places like that would be nice.

  10. There’s a boat! But…why would you want to leave?

  11. Looking very nice. I agree with Naveen, the clouds are awesome.

  12. I’m hoping to recreate the same emotions I felt as a child playing the Neverhood when I play through this game as an adult.

  13. The windmill is just behind the mountain from this angle…

    • I will trust you, Jeff. As you would know more than most of us the relative importance of the Windmill in the game. I would be very sad to lose it, even if only for its quaint aesthetic value. After all, I am of Dutch ancestry.

  14. Hey Jonathan. Have you said whether The Witness on PS4 will be a retail release? Or will it be a PSN game?

  15. I, for one, wholly endorse this new, above ground test chamber.

    Must all the puzzles be solved to finish the game?

  16. I played The Witness in my dream last night. At one point, the game had me turn into a bear. It was fun! I don’t remember being in front of a computer or a game system – it was more like I was “in” the game.

    I’m probably spending too much time thinking about the game, huh? ;)

  17. The 500th puzzle… is it super-secret? Will its existence be denied?

    I bet you have to sit on the ship and leave the game running for 48 hours, at which time the ship will have traveled to another small island containing the last puzzle! :p

    But seriously, I know Jon has said there won’t be those hidden bonus puzzles that were in braid, but I don’t know if he’s just saying that to make finding them even more satisfying?

  18. Ahmet Sezgin Duran

    499 puzzle? Seems like I won’t be able to get off my computer for a long time. Really can’t wait to play and explore!

  19. After watching the trailer – these snapshots do not give the depth of the world any justice it seems!

    And seriously those clouds are bananas – please have an artist feature on them! ;)

    • I’m going to laugh when whoever is responsible for those – and watch them being the thing people remember most about the game – writes a blog post about how trivial they were to implement and were considered “placeholder graphics” for the “more advanced cloud generates via a new algorithm”.

  20. Hey, Jon. I think one of your characters was featured on Feminist Frequency!:



    • That’s Arthur from the “Ghouls ‘n Ghosts” series. Although the armored knight at the end of Braid resembles Arthur, they are different characters.

  21. Ok, I canĀ“t wait to explore this. The music on the trailer was amazing as well. Has anybody said anything about using the touchpad on the DS4? I still don’t know exactly how devs expect to use that.
    Will be there day 1 anyway.

  22. I’ve been watching these snapshots evolve for years and I’ve gotten used to seeing the island from this perspective. Now that it sounds like the game is nearing completion, I was just thinking how weird it will be to be stuck on the ground the whole time. Jon/team, have you considering including some kind of no-clip or free camera mode so that we can get a bird’s-eye view of the island without climbing the mountain?

  23. Sometimes, less is more. Sometimes. Other times less is indeed, less.

  24. Would it be feasible to take preorders for the Witness, to ensure that there’s enough money for development to take as long as it needs.

  25. I was flipping through an old collection of Borges and stumbled across an essay is never read titled “The Witness”…it discussed the tragedy of the death of the final person to have witnessed some historic or significant event; with them, a bit of that event dies too. Borges asks “What will die with me when I die?” I thought of a previous mention that different parts of the island are left over from different inhabitants who are no longer there. Made me wonder if he essay could have somehow inspired this…

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