Blow: The Witness will skip consoles, specs for 360 and PS3 “are over five years old now”

Wednesday, 28th September 2011 20:18 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Jonathan Blow has said his next project, The Witness, will only be made available on PC and iOS due to consoles being a bit outdated.

Speaking in an interview with Edge, Blow said the specs for Xbox 360 and PS3 “are over five years old now, and that’s a lot in computer years.”

“The kind of tricks we’d have to perform to get this game working on those platforms are such a lot of work that to port it over at this point is just not worth it for us,” he said. “The budget of this game we would hope to make back through Steam and iOS, plus I would like to make a profit. But breaking even is most important as it allows me to keep making games, and I can do that without consoles.

“Maybe this time next year I’ll be singing a different tune because I found out I was wrong, but I don’t think so. By the time this game comes out in a year or more, we might be on an iPad 4.”

Blow went on to say releasing The Witness in the early stages of development like Notch did with Minecraft would be an “interesting approach,” and a fun thing to do, but in the end it would spoil the game for everyone.

“Anyone who followed it would have nothing to play when it’s finished, so that’s no good,” he explained. “I don’t know what I’m going to do after this, but certainly some of those online games that are open in terms of the experience, and less spoiler prone, and that are more amenable to releasing something early that’s primitive and then revising it – I’m really interested in that.

“Devs who work on those games know who their customers are, and they can email players and say, ‘Here’s what we’re doing with the game now’, or whatever. I can’t do that. If people on XBLA or Steam buy my game, I don’t know who they are. I just know how many they are. I can’t talk to them. Plus, these types of games only really work on PC and iOS platforms because consoles aren’t open to constant updates.

“I wonder what those console platforms are going to do when this type of development becomes more widespread, because I think it will. But we’ll still have both types of games – the finished article that’s perfectly tied up, and the exploratory type where you, the player, are along for the development ride. If I worked with consoles I’d be wanting to find out how we can make that more possible on my architecture.”

The Witness, an exploration-puzzle game, is to be released sometime in 2012.

Thanks, Blue.



  1. Maximum Payne

    Hmm PC and iOS weird combo.They eventually going to port to console just like with Braid.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. The_Red

    I respect Blow’s work but stating console have weaker specs and then announcing the game for iOS simply makes his logic look like Jack Thompson’s. Sure, PS3 and 360 are really old now and most iOS devices have newer hardware but not ahead of PS3/360 like PC is in terms of horsepower.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Erthazus

    Consoles need a serious change. I’m tired of them and i’m tired of the same games devs make with them.

    they don’t give much with that old hardware.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Gekidami

    Indeed, seems like a weak excuse to me. Its like saying that you wont release a movie on bluray because there isnt enough space on the disc, but you have a DVD version planned.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Erthazus

    Oh trolls, iOS is not a hardware. He is planning this game for the future. That is iPad 3 or 4 or whatever in which specs will be much better.

    also, iOS and PC is a much more open environment for developing because if you develop game for the PS3 or 360 you need to optimize it for both and than you develop game for the PC and maybe (possibly not) for the mobile devices such as iOS.

    Ps3 and 360 are old.

    I played yesterday Battlefield 3 and looked at Uncharted 3 and etc. 360 and Ps3 days are over. Since 2010 It’s the Gamecube or Wii for the current gen PC hardware (not even the top notch one).
    Last super impressive game on consoles was in 2009 and it was only one game = Uncharted 2

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Erthazus

    Even large publishers that make more money on consoles started to move forward with ports making them look in every aspect much better for the PC.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Aimless

    It certainly seems like a strange thing to say, especially as the previews I’ve read of the game don’t exactly paint it as a technical powerhouse.

    More generally Blow seems to greatly dislike the certification required for console games, and whilst I agree it’s advantageous for there to be flexibility in those processes I don’t think the consoles should be an entirely free market. That’s what the PC is for; if you want that platform it already exists.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. manamana

    I guess iOS works fine for them, because they may have a broader audience AND less developement efforts, than porting also to PS360.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. viralshag

    @5, Your console trolling is so funny. You really talk as if the games look “bad” and actually believe it.

    The games just don’t look “as good” as what you can get on a top of the line PC. And considering you only need to spend less than £200 for a console, which wouldn’t even get you a top of the line gfx card, it’s a pretty good deal.

    And really? “Oh trolls, iOS is not a hardware. He is planning this game for the future. That is iPad 3 or 4 or whatever in which specs will be much better.” You call people trolls for saying iOS is hardware, but then go on to say the guy is talking about new hardware?

    #9 3 years ago
  10. loki

    So many idiots in the gaming industry. Consoless not old for Gears of war 3or Uncharted 3. But old for what ? The Witness?
    When this crap fails on PC, consoles quickly become not old for you

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Erthazus


    “but then go on to say the guy is talking about new hardware?”

    read what he said:

    “By the time this game comes out in a year or more, we might be on an iPad 4.”

    Yes. He is speculating about future hardware from Apple. In the end this game could not even be there to begin with. Everything can change.

    “You really talk as if the games look “bad” and actually believe it.”

    Compared to current gen PC multiplatform titles… Games on consoles look average at best. They don’t look bad, just average. Not good, great or excellent. Just average quality.
    Even Uncharted 3 looks ok. The real beauty in Uncharted 3 now is only cinematic stuff.

    “And considering you only need to spend less than £200 for a console, which wouldn’t even get you a top of the line gfx card, it’s a pretty good deal.”

    you are absolutely correct and i don’t say that you get a bad deal for £200. It’s just for me, consoles are not enough anymore but i will still continue to own my consoles (till the next gen) because of some really fantastic experiences.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. Dannybuoy


    #12 3 years ago
  13. viralshag

    @11, Well that’s fair enough but constantly dogging consoles is pointless.

    It’s like complaining that a near-to-retirement sportsperson is useless because they aren’t as good as the young kids.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. Panou

    Jerk… =/

    #14 3 years ago
  15. Erthazus

    @13, i’m not dogging consoles or whatever.

    I’m just saying that it’s time to move on. It’s time to make next Xbox, PS4 or whatever.
    and it hurts the industry really bad because consoles are a center of money making right now. It also hurts Pc gaming at some point. It’s just all of these machines together (with PC) need to move forward. To the future.

    Ps3 and 360 are 5 years old already.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. Christopher Jack

    @Erth, You do realize that each app has to be designed for each piece of hardware on iOS, in other words, you can’t develop for the iPhone/Pod/Pad 7 using current hardware, you have to port it, that may change with future updates, good thing about Android is that although it’s fragmented, you can still build one app for all capable hardware but there’s often problems due to the numerous chipsets.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. daytripper

    being hypotethcial for a moment, if the next playstation or xbox was due for release late 2012 at say $400 would you consider getting one providing there was at least a couple of interesting launch titles.

    #17 3 years ago
  18. TonyF

    So that dumbass wants to develop on PC because they are powerful, of course consoles are less than it… but he wants also to develop on that shitty iOS ? Did anybody tell him that console are much powerful than iPad or iPhone ??? This is just about money, and if you make a shitty game on console, you’re screwed. He doesn’t want to take any risks. We’ll talk about it again when your game is hacked :)

    #18 3 years ago
  19. danhese

    This is very very funny.

    One word “VITA”

    1. Supports all major Game Engines like Unreal Engine 3, CryEngine 3, Vision Engine etc and Unity Engine support to come.
    2. The most powerful portable device in the market
    3. Has a bloody 5inch OLED screen with capacitive pads on both front and back
    4. It has proper dual analog sticks and the almighty BUTTONS
    5. And according to indie devs, “it is easy to develop for”

    #19 3 years ago
  20. fearmonkey

    I agree that its time for new consoles, but i don’t mind waiting till 2013 to 2014 if they actually make a nice console. The Wiiu’s chip has been mentioned as being a AMD RV770 Chip customized, which came out in 2008. So next year, it will be 4 year old tech compared to the R500/600 hybrid tech in the 360 that will be 7 years old at that time.
    I hope that MS and Sony actually use a 6900 class or better GPU which will be several years old at that point.
    4GB is what i needs memory wise, more is better, less is crappy.

    #20 3 years ago
  21. viralshag

    @15, Five years might be old to us but I seriously doubt it’s going to be considered as a long time for everyone else. Especially as most units probably shifted once all the price cuts started.

    If they rush out another round of consoles too early they’re just not going to sell. I’m not even sure Sony has recovered fully from the money they lost on each PS3 when they launched. Not to mention the fact they didn’t have something like Live to fall back on.

    It sounds sad, but they need to milk the current consoles for every last drop of financial goodness that’s in them, and I personally don’t think their lifespan is close to over when it comes to the majority of peaople / sales.

    PC gamers are a minority when it comes to the larger picture and just because our tech is more advanced, game play is better and visuals more impressive; the everyday person simply doesn’t give a toss about any of that. And you can see that split in games too, just look at BF and CoD.

    #21 3 years ago
  22. klewd

    yes, making new hardware is extremely important!!! just think of how much the current hardware is holding back game design.

    we would have had so much better games if only they could push more polygons…

    #22 3 years ago
  23. fearmonkey

    @22 – Sarcasm noted, though i think your missing the point.
    With a new console comes more than just a GPU polygon update, better animations thanks to more memory, better anti aliasing and filtering, less loading on Disk format and HD for quicker access, bigger textures, quicker response, etc.
    Deus Ex :HR on PC looks much much nicer on the max settings than the 360 version, more objects on the screen, better lighting, better textures, more realism. If you don’t want that, that’s great, keep playing your Wii, but some of us want that stuff……
    I prefer playing PC lately for that reason. Dead Island on my 480GTX smokes the 360 version.

    #23 3 years ago
  24. klewd

    no, i think you are missing the point. the point is that neither of what you mention there will improve the gameplay. yes, dx:hr looks nicer. does it play better? no.

    i’m not saying that visuals are unimportant. i’m just saying it’s not what people should be worrying about. at least not to this extent. when I read comments like in this article it’s as if people are talking about tech demos and not games.

    technology is not holding games back. stupid shit like this is.

    ps: i don’t own a wii. although i wish i did.

    #24 3 years ago
  25. DaMan

    Christopher Jack, comment number 16 is nothing short of nonsensical, out of the rear end fairy tale.

    iPhone and iPod Touch apps are completely identical. iPod Touch4 even has the exact same Retina display (although minus ips), And in any case you need to ‘port’ nothing, even for iPad. for iPad you just should buff texture resolution and rearrange interface/on screen controls but that’s about it. In fact rearranging on screen controls is the only thing you actually have to do.Most of the iPad versions are mere HD iPhone apps.

    On the other hand, fragmentation implies exactly that – need to port. Even if you drop the Java with it’s write once debug everywhere, and write in C++, your build performs differently on various devices and there’re issues with different implementations.

    Some people try way too hard. Might do a tad bit of research beforehand.

    #25 3 years ago
  26. YoungZer0

    A game like AC for example would not have been possible on the PS2. Not in any way.

    New hardware allows new possibilities.

    #26 3 years ago
  27. Erthazus

    @JC, they are all identical. iOS is a mobile OS that connects these devices. iPod and iPhone are identical and iPad is just a better device. You can port the same game like on touch or iphone to iPad (with the same quality) or you can make better resolution and add few interesting graphical features to it.

    @22, just as youngZer0 said, “A game like AC for example would not have been possible on the PS2. Not in any way.”

    it’s not just polygons. It’s new possibilities. Better AI, better destruction and environment stuff.

    there are a lot of stuff that you can do with new hardware. Current gen is old and in most cases it’s milked to death. You get almost the same games every year… sequels and original, creative indie games and thats it.

    #27 3 years ago
  28. LOLshock94

    is this is available for the ZX Spectrum?

    #28 3 years ago

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