The Witness Dev: Microsoft Threatened To Ruin My Life

The developer of the highly acclaimed indie title Braid and the upcoming title for the PlayStation 4, The Witness, has come forward to fire shots at Microsoft. The outspoken independent developer, Jonathan Blow, wasn't afraid to let his feelings pour forth like brandy spilling off the table full of drunken sailors.

Gaming Bolt caught the comments that Blow made public on everyone's favorite social meltdown meeting place, Twitter.

Involved in a conversation with a delightfully cheery fellow going by the handle of “The Crapgamer”, Blow responds after a comment is made about how the Braid developer is always attacking Microsoft like they did their booty duty in his double deluxe cheerios, saying...

“They threatened to ruin my life, and I am not the only indie they treated this way. So I do not give them the benefit of the doubt. Actually some other indies (like Team Meat) got treated way worse than I did.”“They have a cultural habit of treating small developers like shit. Hopefully they will manage to get away from this on the new console, but I have reason to be skeptical, as many of the people who treated devs badly still work there.”

Blow doesn't explicitly give a “who's who” when it comes to the people who “treated devs badly”, but we can basically guess that it's someone (or someones) in a high enough position to green light (or red light) games.

Jonathan also mentioned something on Twitter that I thought really stood out, something that also caught the attention of Gaming Bolt, and something I'm sure the Furious Fanboy Jeremy Conrad also agrees with...

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I feel this helps sum up the lacking proletariat movement that should be happening more frequently but is not.

Although, the gaming industry at the moment is in such upheaval and constant shifting that it's hard for any worker's movement to get organized when the people doing the organizing could be out of a job.

Nevertheless, this viewpoint led to the impassioned developer making an obvious claim about why we don't hear or get word from more developers speaking about the treatment of working under a larger studio...

“Most indies who have negative things to say about Microsoft are afraid of actually saying them for fear of losing future deals. Whereas those who had a positive experience have no reason not to talk about it.“Thus the negative experiences are underreported compared to positive... yet there are way more reports of negative relations.”

This also falls back to the whole report about the NDAs preventing developers from speaking openly about certain institutions and properties of the gaming industry (mostly specifically tied to certain publishers and manufacturers).

This is not to say that all of Microsoft is big and bad and evil, not at all. And those positive experiences probably won't see the light of day (as Blow mentions) just the same as positive PS4 feedback in the first week of release was trumped by all the negative feedback on Amazon.

Hopefully this sort of news can work as a bit of a forewarning for any indie dev looking to get picked up by a larger corporation... it's not always roses and daffodils. Then again, dank basements and bologna sandwich budgets aren't all that pleasant either.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.