Architecture is a unique art form, one that’s often overlooked in video games. Probably because most people don’t recognize the importance of it in society and that modern day video games developers don’t have the time or money to invest in something that most will overlook anyways. The Assassins Creed series is one of the few games in my knowledge that pays very close attention to architecture. The Witness is another one…
In an article on the game’s blog, designer Jonathan Blow goes into detail on how architecture has played a role in his upcoming game and how he actually hired two architectural firms to help bring the level of detail that only one such as Blow would require, to the delight of his gamers, of course.
The idea, of course, is that while you’re traversing the island in The Witness, your own level of exploration and perception will help unveil more parts of the story of the island through the game’s architecture.
The game is constructed so that the more you pay attention to tiny details during your travels, the more insight you will have to the central story, even though it may not be obvious at any given time what a particular detail has to do with that story.
It’s a fascinating idea and one that leads me to believe that while we are traversing the world of The Witness we’ll see a sort of evolving landscape which will show how the island, and its original inhabitants, lived and evolved over time.
Of course, the architecture will also play into the puzzles of the game as well. In an interview with Game Informer Jonathan Blow revealed a bit about how they’ll be worked in:
“The ideas that the architects bring to the table feed into the puzzle design. I think that makes the puzzles feel more grounded in the world,” Blow tells us. “I’m always surprised with solutions we come up with. How to focus things, or make sure you notice a particular building, or make sure it feels distinctive. How to make sure it looks very different from this other thing, but also fits. It’s not totally different. It’s got a similar visual language.”
Whatever the case, The Witness is looking to be a very profound experience and one that, as with Braid before it, looks to hone the message and details of the game to a fine point. I, for one, can’t wait to see how the architectural stylings play into the overall picture.