Jonathan Blow is something of a hot property in gaming circles these days. The man behind the wildly popular and critically acclaimed Braid is also one of the more outspoken developers in the industry, and in a recent interview with gaming publication EDGE, the man that thought up one of Xbox Arcade’s sleeper hits was typically frank.
Inevitably, talk turned to Blow’s upcoming release, The Witness. Announced during the PS4’s reveal event not that long ago, The Witness will be available on Sony’s platform before any other, though it will also arrive on Microsoft’s unannounced Xbox 360 successor, too. It’s this fact that led to Blow explaining just why that is.
According to Blow, he decided to partner up with Sony ahead of Microsoft for two reasons.
Firstly, he believes that Microsoft’s next console will not be ‘strictly about games,’ whereas he feels that the PS4 is. This has led him to move away from Microsoft and towards Sony’s new machine, at least at first. This is a departure from how things were with Braid, but Blow seems quite happy with his decision.
The second reason, and possibly the most interesting, is the fact that Blow does not have the best of relationships with Microsoft. In fact, he knows plenty of people who have fallen foul of the Redmond outfit, he says.
“I’ve had a bad time working with Microsoft in the past. Maybe not super bad, but a moderately bad time in terms of business relationships. Other developers who are friends of mine have had a horrible time, so the idea of signing up again with Microsoft isn’t something I’d have ruled out, but there’s a certain amount of dread I have about doing that again.”
That quote in itself is rather damning. Does Microsoft run the risk of losing some of the best indy games around through issues with the way it handles their developers as well as its overall strategy for its next console release? Regardless of Jonathan Blow’s stance, we’re fairly confident that the next Xbox will sell well, and we’re sure it will have some outstanding games, but with Xbox Live and its independent games proving popular in the extremes, upsetting the people that make them is perhaps not the best way to go about business.
But hey, who are we to argue with Microsoft?