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Jonathan Blow Talks Game Polish and how Visuals Impact “the Interactive Experience”

August 7, 2013 Written by Jason Dunning

Jonathan Blow

Jonathan Blow, the always outspoken developer behind the upcoming game The Witness (which hits PS4 first on consoles), took to his Twitter account today to voice his opinion on visual polish in video games:

Hmm, I think a lot of game developers do not think of visual polish the way I do.

Visual polish is your first line of communication with your potential audience. It says “we put a lot of effort into this game, so the game is worth your time.” People have played a lot of unpolished games that were not worth their time, so you are differentiating yourself.

On top of that, visuals help amplify the interactive experience (and help eliminate things that are detracting from your experience, along with polished controls, etc) but all this comes *after* people know they want to play your game, which is not a given.

As you’d expect, Jonathan did receive some replies on his comments, with someone replying to him with, “AAA contaminated the word polish by making it about “maximum money on screen” instead of other, deeply important things.” Blow answered back by saying, “And also by pushing it too far at the expense of other things.”

Based on Blow’s polish statement, it looks like we can expect The Witness to be very visually polished when it releases in 2014. It may be a little ways into 2014 before we get to play the game though, as Blow said, “The game is far from final.” Having worked on it for “like 4.5 years or something,” Blow was asked if he gets restless after such a long time working on a single game:

A little bit! But it’s a good game, so it’s fine.

What are your thoughts on the importance of visual polish in a game? Let us know in the comments below.

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