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The Witness will support VR devices, says Blow

Saturday, 25th January 2014 16:44 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Jonathan Blow has confirmed The Witness will support virtual reality devices.

Speaking in a blog post on the game’s website, Blow said he has been working with Valve to implement the technology into The Witness.

“Last year I was pessimistic about VR systems in the near future since the ones I had tried didn’t seem to offer much (certainly not enough to justify wearing a bulky headset all the time and fighting back feelings of Nausea),” Blow wrote. “But I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peek at Valve’s virtual reality system. It is so much better than anything else I had used that I was instantly very excited by it.

“Right away I could see games you might design for this system that had been impossible before; so it isn’t just a matter of the system being very immersive (which it is) but that it can take video games in general to a new place.”

Blow and his team worked with Valve’s Atman Binstock and Doug Church on getting support for the system in The Witness, screenshots of which he posted last year without the HMD plugged in, and said that now the game is fully playable on Valve’s device – in theory.

“In theory the whole game is playable on the device, but when you are rendering for VR the performance demands become much higher, because you are rendering two scenes at higher resolution than you might previously have been rendering one scene,” Blow explained. “So the full game world with all content currently does not run fast enough for this device, but that is the kind of problem that gets solved over time.

“We had to keep this under wraps [last year] because Valve’s system was not announced. But this month at Steam Dev Days they revealed details of the system.”

Blow closes his post by stating that The Witness will “be supporting this device and any similar devices.”

The Witness is an exploration-puzzle game set for release in mid-2014 on PC and PS4. The game will come to iOS shortly after that, and other platforms a bit later.

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