On Friday we officially reached the Puzzle Complete milestone. This means that all puzzles that will be in the game when it ships are in the game now.

It does *not* mean that the game is done. We still have a lot to do! But it *does* mean that the nature of the work changes and becomes simpler, because we don't have to be making high-level creative decisions any more. It is now much more about turning the finish-the-game crank (making sure stuff plays well and polishing it up) for anything related to game design, modeling and texturing.

There are a few categories that still need creative decisions (story stuff, the menu system, etc), but for those of you who are awaiting the game's release, this is pretty good news.

There are currently 677 puzzles in the game. That number might be slightly different when it ships (we might cut a few, for example!)


  1. Excellent.

  2. Congrats! Can’t wait to play it. Thanks for the update.

  3. Cool, keep up the good work.

  4. Fantastic! Great to hear progress is being made, I’m still very excited to play!

  5. Many Friends and Familymembers which normally don´t play games are really excited for The Witness. The Ipad version is such a great idea.

    Even my secretary plays Braid every wednesday on my desktop after work now.

    There will be so many guests coming to my house the week The Witness ships. I hope that the game runs good on weaker PCs so they can buy a copy for there old laptops. And I´m curious to see how my mom will be able to navigate in a 3D game space. After hardware this seems to be the biggest hurdle enjoying The Witness for her and many other “nongaming” friends.

    You guys are creating something really special here. And I am glad that you are able to take your time to really make it great. I really do believe that it´s an important game for further discussions on games withe the general public.

    Good luck and keep up the great work for the last stretch of development. We really appreciate it!

  6. Congrats! Good luck on the home stretch!

  7. This is great news! Eagerly looking forward to the game!

    I’ve been feeling a little sick the last few hours, but this is almost erasing that, I’m excited to see how this huge epic mysterious thing will work its way into my head

  9. Hey guys, quick question. It seems more and more, unless a game is like #7 in a AAA series I never played, it just gets a digital download release. I recently found out that another indie title I’ve been excited about for awhile, one I assumed was big and ambitious enough to get a physical copy, is also going to be download only.

    Please tell me that The Witness is going to get released as a physical copy that I can hold and “own”? It’s not the end of the world if not, but my next gen game rack is completely bare, and this is one game I really wanna put on it.

    • We have no plans right now for a physical copy of The Witness. I did that with Braid and it was a disaster. Even if you can get publishers and retailers who are interested in your game, the whole chain is corrupt. It’s all built around making sure the developer gets as little money as possible, and unless you are an 800lb gorilla who can threaten to sue people into the ground, you’ll just get taken advantage of. When things are that terrible, the only way to win is not to play.

      So, sorry about that. I know it’s cool to have a physical package of a game but there aren’t any plans for this at the current time. Maybe that will change shortly after release, I dunno!

      • Oh no, I once played secret santa with a physical copy of Braid. Was the best way to give that game to people who don’t play that much. D:

      • Jon, that’s very understandable!

        Meanwhile, the local book and music stores have really been experiencing a turn-around the past couple of years, driven by the swinging of the eternal pendulum and consumers’ embrace premium packaging. I just noticed that Sub-Pop Records in Seattle (Nirvana, etc.) put out a physical copy of one of Sarah Silverman’s standup specials last year on audio vinyl, indicating a willingness to branch out, at least a little bit beyond their typical comfort zone. Small music labels like this one have lots of expertise in small-run, premium-packaged releases. If you then go on to charge a premium price, which you absolutely could, maybe you could investigate going this route to put out a limited edition on physical media. Just a thought!

        Thank you for your efforts and your beautiful works!

      • Considering that notch bought one of the only physical copies of caustic window by aphex twin for 46,000 dollars, maybe you could make only one physical copy of the witness and start an auction for it, maybe notch would buy that for 6 figures.

      • I’d be very interested to read a blog post on the subject. If you have time.

      • If the corruption in the chain is the issue, you could do a semi-limited run and just sell them from this website. I don’t know how much work that would be, but I’m sure there would be a lot of interest if you did.

        Myself, I’ll be buying digital. Game boxes just take up space I don’t have

      • Ah well. Can’t say I’m not disappointed, but I understand. I don’t know what you guys are thinking for pricing once the game comes out digitally, but if it’s in the $19.99-29.99 range, I’d definitely be willing to pay a full 59.99 for a retail version. That way the publishers could still keep the difference and feel like they won, and you could still make pretty much the same amount you charged for each digital download. Just a thought anyway, I of course have much less knowledge on the subject and could be completely wrong. I’d be interested to hear if you guys start to reconsider the subject.

      • You should release a nineties style limited physical edition with a big cardboard box, a map, a thick manual and a jewel case as a reference to Myst. People would throw a lot of money at you.

  10. Congratulations. This has been my most anticipated game for years now. If anyone can make a genuinely engaging, thought provoking game you guys can. Take as long as you need and keep that enthusiasm up down the final stretch!

  11. What a milestone! It makes my day every time I see new news on The Witness. It all looks amazing so far and I’m looking forward to it!

  12. Super exciting news! I come here almost every day, eager with anticipation that there will be news of an imminent release. Progress keeps me hopeful that I may soon get to play what has easily been my most earnestly awaited title for quite some time now. Finish strong, and thanks for the update!

  13. Awesome news, I can’t wait.

    Jonathan, have you publicly commented on the game’s re-playability? Any unlocks/different modes or objectives after the game is played through and beaten once?

    • after you beat the game, there’s an online multiplayer mode where all the players are TF2 characters, and you can choose whether you want to solve the puzzles or just shoot the **** out of everybody. Playing as the Medic gives you 2 extra puzzle hints, but decreases your hp by 50%. Casey said that on one of his handmade hero videos, but I don’t remember which one.

      • Damn, the team must have been bummed out by that Blizzard game. Incredibles shooters everywhere….

        In terms of replayability, I saw Jon address it in an interview in regards to the applicability of early access, I.E early access makes no sense for a game intended to be played once. Although the same could be said for Braid, it’s a well paced four or five hours, and once you’ve solved the puzzles, they can’t really give that same satisfaction when played again, but there were obviously elements of that game that practically no one is going to see in a first playthrough, kind of inherently asking the player to revisit the game. I’d hope to see a similar situation with The Witness.

        I could be mistaken, but I believe to launch later on XBO, Microsoft require some form of content compensation, so perhaps new additions will have to come post-launch, also making a replay more enticing.

        Congratulations to the team. Once this game actually ships, and any additional platforms have been satiated, it must be incredibly daunting to start the next project, knowing it could very be another seven year commitment.

  14. Thanks for the update, Jonathan! Can’t wait to play it when it’s finished! Everything I’ve seen looks amazing so far.

  15. This was a fantastic way to make the start of my week that much better. I am looking forward to putting as much time into this game as I did/still do with Braid. Thanks for the update!

  16. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this game since the Atlantic article and have checked this website more times than I will admit. Congrats on closing in on the end and know there are a lot of people excited to experience your efforts!

  17. John realized that a non-linear desgin and only having to complete seven out of the ten sections was not enough and wanted to spice things up! I think Casey also said Braid will get this mode to!

  18. This is great news for me as I’m holding my breath for the release.

  19. Congratulations Jon and team!

    Really looking forward to playing this for myself when it’s ready and available. At this point do you know when the next time the public may get to see/play the game for themselves? (you ruled out PAX East in your livestream the other day).

    ~Paul (@paulogy)

  20. Terrific news.

    Bummed that there aren’t 666 puzzles in the game.

    Jon – have you considered a progressive hint system (or a standalone website) where people can get non-spoiler hints that nudge them towards the solution?

    I’m thinking along the lines of those Infocom books with the hints in invisible ink or the Universal Hint System:

    I’m still kicking myself that I looked at YouTube videos of three Braid puzzles and would have killed for a more subtle way to inch towards a solution.

    Thanks for your help – looking forward to the release date.

    • Isn’t this game different, though? It’s about epiphany; If you’re stuck on one puzzle, go to another one, and you may have a sudden realization about how to solve the previous one.

      My 2 cents.

      • I actually really like his idea. You’re right that the game is about epiphany, but JB said in an interview that different people get stuck on different things. There might just be a section that no matter where else you go in the game or think about it, the epiphany’s just not gonna occur. If I may make a quick comparison to some AAA games, think about open-world games with collectibles (bobbleheads in Fallout, Hidden packages in GTA, etc.) It’s always more fun and rewarding to find them on your own, but sometimes there’s those last ten or so that you just can’t find. You finally guiltily look them up, and realize “I would have NEVER found that”. There might be sections like that for people in this game, “I would have never figured that out”.

        So then, wouldn’t it be better for the developers themselves to incorporate a semi-rewarding hint system rather than just have us cheat and look it up? Because of this games open world style, we may be stuck on the desert, for example, and while looking for the solution to a desert puzzle, we accidentally see something from the swamp that we haven’t even visited yet, and it’s ruined. An in-game hint system could help avoid all this.

        Just a thought, if it’s not already a part of the game and it would add a lot more time to the development I’d agree it’s not worth it, just wanted to throw my two cents in that it’s a pretty solid idea.

  21. Congratulations, I’ve very excited to play the finished product. Have you considered doing a small-run “special edition” with a physical copy, a (signed?) book with concept art & stories collected through development, a poster / t shirt / bronze miniature of the island, soundtrack CD, etc.?

    You could limit this to 1000 units and sell them directly through this website. I’d imagine margins on this kind of thing could be quite high as you can charge a premium price. Many people would pay $100+ for this kind of thing if they are big fans.

  22. This game is the only reason I purchased a ps4, so I am extremely excited about its upcoming release. However, I must say to those that are lookng forward to its iOS release in the very near future, I would guess that it will be a very long time before you can play anything close to what is shown in the screen shots and videos. iPads have a long way to go before their specs for cpu, gpu, vram, fill rates, etc will allow for visual effects that are shown so far. Not to say it’s impossible, but with the current iPads, it’s a real stretch for smooth and persistent performance of the level that I am anticipating to see in the final product of this game. They could port it now, but it would be a shadow of what the ps4 version will be. Not trying to be a downer, just a realist.

    • There is more to considering a version ‘definitive’ than technical excellence. Obviously the PS4 version will out perform a tablet version, at least for the foreseeable future, however for a game in which a character is drawing lines on tablets the whole time (is it the whole game? Initially those puzzles were the first half, but that no longer appears to be the case), for the player to also be drawing on a tablet may be a preferable interface.

      I would say the bigger concern for a tablet version is just player attention. I imagine tablet games are more generally consumed casually, the TV on in the background, or on thirty minute commutes, etc.

      Sales might be tougher there though, I’d be surprised if there is a significant audience for iOS games priced how The Witness presumably will be. There are iOS hits that suggest otherwise, Square Enix for example have published ‘expensive’ games and seen great sales, but I imagine The Witness’ audience are the more engaged gamers, and they’ll lean towards the PC and console versions.

  23. Marvelous!

    I want to play this game !!!

  24. This is great! I hope everything goes well with the rest of the process.

  25. So what is the official word on Linux support? We have yet to get any real affirmation regarding such details.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • I don’t know. We have to assess the situation.

      Right now we have an OpenGL version of the game — it’s not 100% maintained currently, but it basically works — and we would use that on platforms like Linux and OS X. The question is just whether it makes sense to release the game on Linux. Technically speaking, desktop Linux seems to be a lot less robust and stable than it was even 5 years ago. So the amount of headache involved in releasing a game is higher than before, and becomes Really A Lot Higher since The Witness is a much beefier game than Braid was (it hits the GPU a lot harder, with a lot of shaders, a lot of textures, etc). Under those conditions driver issues really matter a lot.

      Meanwhile, we have Linux versions of Braid up on the Humble Store, Steam, and the Ubuntu Software Centre. However, not many people buy the Linux version of the game, so from a purely financial standpoint, it doesn’t really make sense to make a Linux version. So if we do it, it’ll be more for idealistic reasons: because we want to make the game available on as many operating systems as possible, and because Linux being a Free operating system is a good thing and one should support such things (especially looking at where Windows has been going lately in terms of trying to turn itself into a walled garden).

      But, I just don’t know if we can reasonably sell the game as a professional product on Linux. The number of support issues will be *huge*, including many many many complaints of “the game just doesn’t run on my system”, and because Linux is so fragmented with so many weird cases, there is no Right Answer that we could just implement to fix this. So a flood of problems is inevitable. We are a small team and can’t really deal with that.

      But yeah, we might do it anyway, for idealistic reasons. We’ll see. I can’t commit to anything until we get the game done on the launch platforms (Windows PC and PS4).

      • (Obviously if SteamOS becomes consumer-ready and launches and gets a lot of people using it, that may change the balance of things. Or other surprising things might happen. Time always bring surprises.)

        • Hi Jon, I’m really looking forward to the game. I hope you can at least support SteamOS then it will probably work fine on other sane distributions. Is OS X in the same league, or will it be easier to release for that?

          • I don’t know. We need to assess. OS X has some weird issues caused by Apple. For example, we probably won’t release on the Mac App Store, because that requires your program to be sandboxed and go through weird contortions. We’ll look at it, but I suspect we may not do it. At which point we have to look at whether anyone is going to ever play the game (relatively speaking) if it is not on the Mac App Store. I haven’t done research on this lately, so maybe there are lots of people getting games off the Internet/Steam/etc on Mac. We need to look at it.

          • In answer to Jonathan’s question below: YES! Make it happen, Cap’n Blow! :)

            I get all the games I can on Mac. There are way more mid-sized developers making mac games now. It’s getting to the point where I’m mildly annoyed that I have to go boot up my PC to play a new game. (I will for The Witness, but I’m looking to get away from PC stuff.)

            Personally, I don’t use the Mac store at all, and I find it annoying and constraining. Steam is great, and so is direct download from a website.

          • I think a game like The Witness needn’t be on the App Store for people to be interested.
            The success of the Humble Bundles (the earlier ones at least) on OS X is an indication that there is definitely a market.
            Personally I am desperately hoping the game will make it to OS X but I can understand the uncertainty.

          • Another Mac user who only buys games through Steam here :) Will definitely purchase The Witness if it becomes available for Mac.

          • I’m also a Mac enthusiast getting my games on Steam. And I can confirm I have at least 8 friends who own only Macs (we’re all animators and designers) who would like to play the game.

            In fact, I bought the game on Steam anyway — to support it — hoping that one day it comes to SteamOS…

          • Agreed – I avoid the Mac App Store at all costs, both as a consumer and as a dev.

            I can’t speak for everyone, but I’d gladly take out a bit of my spare time to assist with a port :)

            (for the time being I’ll just have to marvel at the game’s beauty from the confines of my flagging desktop)

          • Another vote for Mac OS on Steam – I don’t get my games on apple store either – cause there aren’t really any that appeal to me. I imagine you’ll find that indie game buyers use steam.

      • Please do it anyway, Jon.

        It almost definitely wouldn’t run on my current system (I had to send my busted Radeon HD 6670 back and am now sitting here forlornly with the old Geforce 6200TC amongst other rubbish) but I’d still buy it day one, or pre-order, whichever comes first.

        • Ach, I wish I’d just written something like ‘thanks for letting us know, Jon. May the rest of the process go really well for you all’.

          *dreams about The Witness*

      • Hello,

        you know, Windows PC and XBOX ONE are almost the same, see DX12.

        When will we see an XBOX ONE Version of the game?

        From a Business Point, this really makes sense, because its easy to port from Windows to XBOX.

        Thanks in advance.

        • Windows PC and Xbox One are NOT the same. The biggest difference is to ship on the Xbox One a developer needs to go through a painful certification process that is largely arbitrary and a waste of the developer’s time. (This is true to some extent on PS4 as well; it is the nature of console systems for some reason).

          It is not at all an easy port. It is a painful port.

  26. For the record, I love everyone involved in the making of this game and I love everyone who has posted a comment on this website. We’re a family!

    *passes out due to excitement*

  27. release an XBOX ONE Version, please.

    Thank you.

  28. Wonderful to hear! I really admire the detail and effort that seems to be going into polishing the game, I’ll definitely appreciate it once it’s done. Can’t wait!

  29. I have two questions, is there gonna be a map in the game because I might get lost, also if I didn’t know how to solve a puzzle on one side of the island and I’m on the other side of the island and just figured out a solution, do I have to travel all the way back to get there or is there some sort of fast travel system. I hope I don’t trigger any mild spoilers.

    • spoiler, there is a boat that was in one of jon’s very short streams of the game, I think that’s a sort of quick-travel system, but it might not be, maybe it was just some sort of debugging feature, though I doubt that

  30. Congratulations on the milestone! Can you comment at all on the level of GPU needed to play the game in 1080 at its higher quality settings?

  31. Every couple of weeks I think about what games I want to play and it always brings me back to this site to check on progress. When I see it, I smile.


  32. Congrats! This is definitely my most anticipated game and has been since you guys first revealed it. Loved braid and have been trying to find things similar. Just curious about the difficulty curve compared to the challenging puzzles of braid. Braid had puzzles that were just hard enough as to make you feel like you’ve accomplished something but not impossible. How did you approach the level of difficulty in this game?

    • There are a lot more puzzles in this game, so there is a lot more spread. Some puzzles are easy (but interesting). Some are hard. A few are really *really* hard. We can make them really hard when because we don’t require a 100% solution to get to the end of the game.

  33. Hi,

    I am pretty sure this game will be a rival of portal game even may beating it.
    Awesome graphics.
    Awesome puzzles.
    Awesome sounds.
    Cant wait to play it on my PS4.
    Just want to know when this ******* game will come out!, I hope Q1 or Q2

  34. Mr Blow, any estimate on when the game will be released? I can’t wait to play your game it looks fantastic!

  35. Any idea how long the OS X port will take? Usually I’m able to wait instead of buying/playing PC versions, but I have a feeling I won’t be successful with this one.

  36. Congratulations! It feels kinda weird to finally hear that this game is slowly getting done. I have been reading this blog since it started and followed its development closely, and knowing that it is close to being complete makes me both sad and happy.

    If it is anything like I’m expecting it to be (and the chances are very, very high), it is going to be my favourite game ever made.

  37. I’ve been following this project for a long time now, and I’m glad to see it coming together. Kudos to you all for putting the polish on everything rather than rushing it out when you hadn’t fully realized your vision, I’m sure it will be worth the wait. As a developer I salute your team. This is how games should be made. Eagerly awaiting the chance to play.

  38. Great news. The Witness is still my most anticipated game for PS4. I was surprised the other day to see an image of the game on the PS4 store. I clicked it and it was the trailer from a while ago. I felt amazing to see The Witness in there, specially since I wasn’t even searching for it. It was very close to the surface. =)

    One of these days/weeks/months (it seems we can discard “years”?) we’re going to get the best news: a release date. Good luck to the team finishing the game.

  39. In nearly 5 years of posting I’ve never gotten a JonBlow reply. I must not be titillating enough! I must consider ways to make the low hanging fruit that the bulk of what I post becomes into the high canopy fodder that makes Jon say what’s up!

  40. “for those of you who are awaiting the game’s release”

    I can hardly imagine that anyone here fits this criteria… lol

  41. Everything sounds great. I can’t wait to play this game. Good luck with the final stages of development. Polish until it shines. I can wait a few months extra for perfection ;)

    I’m completely lying and just trying to sound encouraging. I wish this was released yesterday.

  42. Really looking forward to the game.

    I have a question about the puzzles that I haven’t seen asked: I am a huge, huge fan of “Japanese”-style grid logic puzzles, many of which involve drawing a path/loop through a grid (like, for example, Masyu. One of the benefits of doing these on paper is that, while solving your grid, you are free to draw non-consecutive parts of the loop/grid and then work logically to connect them eventually.

    From what I have seen, it looks like the user is expected to draw many of these grids from start to finish as one unbroken line. Were there any talks that this might artificially increase difficulty, since a more “logical” solution might not be one that is linear from the start of a path to the end? Or were puzzles designed with the knowledge that players were being forced to get from Point A to Point B, and so the logic was *made* more “linear”? In that case, did you find that limiting?

    Or am I just making huge assumptions based on what might be a small subset of all of the puzzles?

    • In theory this would increase difficulty, but in reality our puzzles are very different from those, so it isn’t a factor.

  43. Congrats on the milestone!!! You guys are putting together an amazing game, if the visuals and trailers are anything to go by. We’re all looking forward to the game :)

  44. I know you guys get this all the time, but do you have any estimate of when the game will be out? Even if you can say “within the next two years”, that still helps me manage my angst XD

  45. Nice job on getting this far! I have never seen an indie game with better graphics, or more creativity! Still considering that you are an indie developer, I am getting very impatient on the games release. Can you give us a clue of about when you plan on releasing it?

  46. I have a question that has been stuck in my head about forever about this game. Does one puzzle count as a single panel, or a collection/line of them? Anyway, nice job on the game. I barely seen any games that are better than this one!

  47. Please don’t cut the amount of puzzles!!!!
    Great news anyway.

  48. My birthday is in late March.

    I have waited for this game for many birthdays.

    Will I have to wait one more, I wonder?

  49. Congratulations! Can’t wait.
    I hope there is a way to tell if you’ve solved 100% of the puzzles. (As opposed to just enough to “finish the game.”)

  50. I just hope The Witness can shock me more than Braid, wait so long time for your nest work after Braid.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.