The Witness will be a first-person adventure/puzzle game where players must explore a large uninhabited island, solving puzzles in order to progress further into the game. Jonathan Blow (the creator of Braid) is the project lead on the game. The team built their own engine for the game.
Mr. Blow revealed that the player starts by waking up in a room, leaving your first puzzle to be figuring out how to unlock the door. In a posting on the Playstation.Blog Blow revealed, that the island would be an open world. You will be able to go anywhere you want without any linear path. Of course, there will be puzzles that block certain paths. But that is because the game is likely to deliberately conjure up similarities to Myst, much in the same way Braid used Super Mario Bros. as a well-understood gaming starting point.
The game is set to be released in 2013 for PC, iPad and Playstation 4.
The gameplay will be highly focused on exploration and discovery. The puzzles will start off easy, guiding a light from a starting point to an end point on the side of a panel. The player will be able to solve puzzles at his or her own pace. Puzzles that are too difficult can be left behind and be solved later while you go solve other puzzles. Puzzles quickly ramp up and become more complicated. The player moves at a strolling pace, giving them plenty of time to take in their surroundings or contemplate a shape off in the distance. Little instruction is provided, allowing the player to explore on their own and achieve the satisfaction of figuring out the puzzles for themselves.
The project lead, Mr. Blow, has promised that the game will have uber-precise controls because they are working on their own engine, which gives them the combustibility to tweak at will.
The story of The Witness is still very much a secret. Jonathan Blow has said that you are playing to discover who you are, where you are, and why you were put there through the puzzles you solve in the game.
On October 16, 2013, Blow in a posting on the Playstation.Blog said this about the length of the game.
Originally I had meant to design an 8-hour game, but The Witness is more like 25-40 hours depending on how much you play (some of the game is optional!)