If you’ve seen Indie Game: The Movie, you’re at least familiar with Jonathan Blow himself. He received a lot of praise for his puzzle platformer, Braid. Its charming art style and fun time travel mechanic won over many, and, having been shown off in that documentary, it’s considered by many to be a “classic” indie game. The Witness, a 3D puzzle game, was even more highly praised but definitely more niche. Those who love it cite it as one of the best games of the generation while others bounced off of it due to difficulty or their own personal taste. All of this is to say the idea of Blow working on another puzzle game is guaranteed to conjure excitement among fans. We got a little taste of this game at the Reboot Develop conference back in April 2017, and at that time “there were already 25 hours of gameplay.” That’s not to say the game in anywhere close to done but rather to emphasize just how much work Blow has put into this game already.
There’s no working title for this new game, but it’s inspired by “Sokoban, the old Japanese game about pushing boxes in specific orders to cover all the marks on the floor.” Blow showed a “brief demo” of the game during his talk at Game Lab 2018 regarding creating Jai, a new language for programmers. It starts around minute 27:33 in the above video. The game’s perspective is top down and involves controlling multiple characters. In the video Blow describes the game as follows:
It’s a puzzle game and it consists of many levels. Many of the levels are one screen levels although there are some that are bigger than that. It’s the sort of game where you can run characters around. The puzzles [involve things] like how do I get this crystal out of this room without locking a character in. [And]… different characters have different abilities. There’s [also] an undo button for when [the player] make[s] a mistake.
A shared interview with Eurogamer’s Robert Purchese and Venture Beat’s Dean Takahashi, following this year’s Gamelab talk, revealed the following information from Blow:
We haven’t really officially announced the game yet so I don’t want to say too much but we’ve shown it in these talks. It’s weird. It’s a level-based game. There’s a lot of levels. We have a lot more levels than we had last year.
So when can we expect an official announcement and/or release date?
With this game it’s even harder than usual because it’s in this experimental programming language. I really can’t say yet. I can’t even tell you when we’ll officially announce it. Probably closer to release than we have in the past because the current game environment – we used to announce stuff really early and people would look forward to it. Now it’s so noisy out there. Maybe once it’s mostly playable and we know a release date, we might do the full thing.
Considering how long The Witness was in development (approx. 8 years) we shouldn’t expect this game any time soon but it’s safe to say it’ll be up to Blow’s standards and that means a lot.