Top Five: Indie Video Games for 2011

The Witness Platform: "To be released on multiple platforms -- whatever makes sense in late 2011"

Though the two games are obviously drastically different from each other, The Witness is going to be measured against 2008's critically-acclaimedBraid. The two share nothing in common except that they're both the work of developer Jonathan Blow. Whereas Braid was a startlingly fresh and emotionally evocative take on the platformer genre, showing its roots in the Mario princess-quest, The Witness is growing from a different garden, planted in the shade of Myst. Much about the game is being kept secret, though we know it takes place on an uninhabited island, contains maze-like puzzles, and is focused on the theme of exploration. We have high hopes that it takes its theme to the same level as Braid, though our expectations that it will provide the same kind of climactic epiphany might be setting us up for disappointment. What's not being kept secret about the development is how gorgeous the visual style will be. The team has been keeping a blog on the various algorithms for light and shadow and color--we actually find this stuff pretty fascinating--they're using to achieve maximum effect. We're not the most keen supporter of the drive towards photo-high-end graphics, but the work being done here seems more in the direction of vivid paintings than photo-realism, and that's something we can get in on.

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David Feil
Contact: David Feil