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Blow Explains The Witness On PS4, Not About Money

Matt Gardner
Indie devs, Jonathan Blow, PS4 games, PS4 vs. Durango, The Witness
PlayStation 4

Blow Explains The Witness On PS4, Not About Money

Braid creator Jonathan Blow has rubbished any talk suggesting that Sony paid for any kind of console exclusivity for his upcoming game - The Witness. Blow stated that he'd alwys wanted to launch a game on a console platform alongside PC and iOS, but that limited resources meant that he could only choose one - and the PS4 seemed to be the best choice amongst the next-gen offerings.

"People have been speculating that I got a money hat for this agreement with Sony, or that we needed to do this in order to fund development of The Witness," Blow told Kotaku. "Actually, no money was involved at all.

"The real situation is that, because we are a small developer, we only have the ability to launch on a small number of platforms at once. We liked the idea of being on a console, and originally we thought we might be on the PS3 or Xbox 360, but eventually we decided not to target either of those due to the relatively low system specs. After some more time went by, and our release date drifted further into the future, we realized that the next-generation console launch time might be a good time to release the game. (For a while we were hoping to be out substantially earlier than the next consoles, e.g. right now, so we didn't start thinking seriously about this until recently).

"The Wii U still has pretty low system specs, so it came down to a choice between the next Microsoft console or the next Sony console. There were people at Sony who really liked the game and were keeping in touch with us about it, and so we naturally started going to their PS4 developer events, got a dev kit, and started playing with it. I don't have good communication with anyone at Microsoft right now, and haven't been disclosed on their next console, but all our technical people like the PS4 specs a lot more than the leaked Durango specs, and we like the positioning of the PS4 (it's about games) a lot more than what we perceive Microsoft's positioning is going to be.

"So we just found ourselves doing a PS4 port. And once we are doing that, it is not practical for us also to think about another console port. We were going to be a de facto console exclusive for Sony no matter what. As I mentioned, there are people at Sony who are very interested in The Witness, so they somehow percolated up through the ranks the idea of showing the game in the launch show.

"Of course, Sony wants that show to point out things that are going to be exclusive or special to their console. So to be in the show we signed a timed exclusivity for competing consoles. But this was just a formalization of something that was already de facto. We like the PS4 and we like the people at Sony we are working with, so it was an easy choice to make the agreement."

Sony have shown themselves to be strong advocates for smaller developers, bringing a number of small teams under contract or in-house, and facilitating indie development for their platforms via PS Minis and Playstation Mobile. With Blow often noisily sounding off against closed systems and restrictive platform holders, it seems to indicate a big thumbs up for the PS4 very early on when it comes to prospective indie development.

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