Jonathan Blow and his team at Thekla have announced pre-orders for upcoming first-person puzzler The Witness have gone live. Such was the demand for Blow’s long anticipated follow-up to Braid that the game’s website was “crushed by massive demand.”
Pricing for the visually stunning enviromental puzzle game took a few people by surprise, pegged at $39.99 / €36.99 / £29.99, which is a shade more than we’ve come to expect from typical indie releases. But then again, The Witness may be no typical game. There’s no discount in line for pre-ordering either, Blow says you’ll have to make do with the “warm fuzzy feeling that you have preordered the game.”
The response to the pricing structure on various gaming forums has been fairly negative. Typical premium indie games retail for $20-$30, so this quite the jump up. The Witness devs have quantified this by detailing the vast amount of content, with up to 100 hours of gameplay for players who want to tackle each and every one of its 600+ puzzles.
Where I think it struggles is we’ve been cultivated to accept $60 price points for AAA products and sub-$15 for indie titles. There's the assumption that without a big-name publisher, it shouldn't ask for a big This doesn’t take into account the vast spectrum of games which can be created, from smaller projects to larger-scale efforts like The Witness.
It’s been some eight years in development, which won’t have come cheap, and after the critically acclaimed Braid, hopes are understandably high for The Witness. The entire game is structured around line puzzles, with clues in the surrounding environment hinting at the solutions.
What do you think of The Witness’ pricing? Will you be putting money down for a pre-order?