He takes the "structure of a classical adventure" and then strips out the negative bits. The Witness is for PC, PS4 and iOS. Blow wants the game about "moments of epiphany".
The world of the game itself plays a large role in solving puzzles, like lining up the environment to uncover a puzzle's solution. Also don't expect a lot of physical rewards.
"I’m taking the structure of a classical adventure game, but getting rid of all the things that are terrible about adventure games,” Jonathan Blow told . “I think we can make games interesting in more ways than just challenge. We can make them interesting through what happens.”
Rewarding players after solving puzzles is tricky: “There are a lot of psychological studies that say explicit rewards demotivate you from the rest of the game. If you have a game that’s about getting loot, and you’re fighting monsters to get loot, you end up not necessarily being interested in fighting monsters for its own sake, you just want loot," he said.
“As a game designer, I’m very careful about that. With this game I’m trying to do a lot of things about communication, and about having these moments of epiphany, understanding the world you’re in.”
The Witness is a first-person adventure for PC, PS4 and iOS that's set on an island split into 10 sections surrounding a mountain range, which represents the ultimate goal of the game.