The Developer Who Bet It All on His Next Game

Jonathan The Witness

Never use your own money to fund projects, goes a strain of startup advice. Jonathan Blow, famous in gaming circles for the hit indie game Braid, never got that memo: He plans on funneling all of his money into his next game, entitled The Witness.

“The Braid income is not nearly enough anymore to fund the team,” Blow told Engadget in an interview. “I have borrowed a bunch of money to finish The Witness. So I hope when it’s done, some people buy the game.”

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With 17 people contributing in various capacities to the game, which has expanded to three times it original proposed size, it’s no wonder that Blow has burned through millions of dollars over the past few years. In a November 2013 tweet, he suggested the game would cost “something like 3-4 million, and even then we will be running on fumes by the end of development.” If he had to borrow additional funds, that number is presumably more than $4 million.

Blow can take some comfort in his reputation among the indie-gaming community, as well as his previous game’s success, both of which could help transform The Witness into a hit. But the gaming world is often fickle, meaning there’s also a chance that he could roll snake eyes on this big bet.

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Image: Jonathan Blow/The Witness