A Journey To thatgamecompany's New PSN Game

Posted by Brad (5007 posts) -

When I heard there was a new game called Journey at E3, I thought, wait a minute, there was already a game called Journey. It was in a cocktail machine and had a cassette tape in it. What more Journey could you possibly need? Who do these people think they are? 
    

"These people" are thatgamecompany and its creative director Jenova Chen, the guy who built a beautiful and moving experience around flowers last year. After Flower I'd be willing to follow thatgamecompany anywhere, so I followed them to an E3 meeting room to see Chen present Journey, a lonely trek through a barren, otherworldly desert that looks like the closest thing to a traditional video game thatgamecompany has made yet. But it's still got their signature artsy touch fully in evidence.

== TEASER ==In Journey you play the armless, red-robed explorer you can see in the screenshots, roaming around an arid, empty-looking world that's occasionally dotted with ancient ruins, sandfalls pouring over rocks, tombstone-like markers rising out of the sand, and long tapestries of cloth flapping in the breeze. Those are pretty much all of the notable features I saw in the short demo, so yeah, there's definitely a lot of empty space out there.

With Journey thatgamecompany is setting a record for the number of buttons used in one of its game: two. One is for jumping, and one is... singing? You run around with the analog stick and control the camera with Sixaxis tilt. Much like it did with flowers in, um, Flower, the developer has put a lot of effort into its sand tech in Journey, and you leave a trough behind you when you run around in it. You can also ski down sandy hills to move around faster.

Chen is tired of the empowerment fantasies inherent in most modern games. He said he wants to return players to a feeling of being small and powerless, with a sense of awe toward the wide unknown world. That means no rocket launchers or double jumps in Journey. The game is about exploring this strange world as a hapless character with no foreknowledge of his or her strange surroundings. There's an ever-present giant mountain with a beam of light off in the distance that serves as your constant goal, but other than that, you're just there to explore.

There will be some things to find. Chen ran behind a sandfall in one area and found a cloth covered with ancient glyphs on it. That seemed like some sort of collectible. Later, there was a bit of rudimentary platforming across a series of long tapestry-like pieces of cloth, which your character can "harmonize" with when it touches them, stiffening them and allowing you to climb on them. Finally, Chen encountered a statue that briefly came to life and imparted some sort of information to the player character, but he didn't elaborate on the meaning of that interaction. There will also be other AI-controlled characters in the game as well. What, you think they gave us anymore information about that?

You may have heard Journey is an online game. (If you haven't, Journey is an online game.) But it doesn't sound like any sort of normal online game. Chen was extremely cagey about the multiplayer details since thatgamecompany is still figuring out how it will all work, but for now the gist of it seems to be that you'll have the potential to occasionally encounter another player running around in your game world. Chen likened this setup to hiking. You go out for a hike, and while hiking, you might pass some other hikers. You might stop and engage them in conversation, and then walk with them for a while. Or you might just let them go their own way while you go on yours. 

You're probably wondering if you can play Journey entirely by yourself. You can. And I'm not sure exactly what you'll do with another player, but Chen did say that's what singing is for. There's no voice or text chat in the game, but you'll be able to produce different kinds of singing based on the way you press the sing button, and this is intended to provide some degree of communication between players. You can even harmonize with the other player if you sing well. Hey, just like that other Journey! 
 

Staff
#1 Posted by Brad (5007 posts) -

When I heard there was a new game called Journey at E3, I thought, wait a minute, there was already a game called Journey. It was in a cocktail machine and had a cassette tape in it. What more Journey could you possibly need? Who do these people think they are? 
    

"These people" are thatgamecompany and its creative director Jenova Chen, the guy who built a beautiful and moving experience around flowers last year. After Flower I'd be willing to follow thatgamecompany anywhere, so I followed them to an E3 meeting room to see Chen present Journey, a lonely trek through a barren, otherworldly desert that looks like the closest thing to a traditional video game thatgamecompany has made yet. But it's still got their signature artsy touch fully in evidence.

== TEASER ==In Journey you play the armless, red-robed explorer you can see in the screenshots, roaming around an arid, empty-looking world that's occasionally dotted with ancient ruins, sandfalls pouring over rocks, tombstone-like markers rising out of the sand, and long tapestries of cloth flapping in the breeze. Those are pretty much all of the notable features I saw in the short demo, so yeah, there's definitely a lot of empty space out there.

With Journey thatgamecompany is setting a record for the number of buttons used in one of its game: two. One is for jumping, and one is... singing? You run around with the analog stick and control the camera with Sixaxis tilt. Much like it did with flowers in, um, Flower, the developer has put a lot of effort into its sand tech in Journey, and you leave a trough behind you when you run around in it. You can also ski down sandy hills to move around faster.

Chen is tired of the empowerment fantasies inherent in most modern games. He said he wants to return players to a feeling of being small and powerless, with a sense of awe toward the wide unknown world. That means no rocket launchers or double jumps in Journey. The game is about exploring this strange world as a hapless character with no foreknowledge of his or her strange surroundings. There's an ever-present giant mountain with a beam of light off in the distance that serves as your constant goal, but other than that, you're just there to explore.

There will be some things to find. Chen ran behind a sandfall in one area and found a cloth covered with ancient glyphs on it. That seemed like some sort of collectible. Later, there was a bit of rudimentary platforming across a series of long tapestry-like pieces of cloth, which your character can "harmonize" with when it touches them, stiffening them and allowing you to climb on them. Finally, Chen encountered a statue that briefly came to life and imparted some sort of information to the player character, but he didn't elaborate on the meaning of that interaction. There will also be other AI-controlled characters in the game as well. What, you think they gave us anymore information about that?

You may have heard Journey is an online game. (If you haven't, Journey is an online game.) But it doesn't sound like any sort of normal online game. Chen was extremely cagey about the multiplayer details since thatgamecompany is still figuring out how it will all work, but for now the gist of it seems to be that you'll have the potential to occasionally encounter another player running around in your game world. Chen likened this setup to hiking. You go out for a hike, and while hiking, you might pass some other hikers. You might stop and engage them in conversation, and then walk with them for a while. Or you might just let them go their own way while you go on yours. 

You're probably wondering if you can play Journey entirely by yourself. You can. And I'm not sure exactly what you'll do with another player, but Chen did say that's what singing is for. There's no voice or text chat in the game, but you'll be able to produce different kinds of singing based on the way you press the sing button, and this is intended to provide some degree of communication between players. You can even harmonize with the other player if you sing well. Hey, just like that other Journey! 
 

Staff
#2 Posted by Dizzyhippos (2136 posts) -

looks cool

#3 Edited by Daveyo520 (7335 posts) -

Looks interesting.

#4 Posted by blacklab (1688 posts) -

Loved Flower, this looks very creative and different as well.

#5 Posted by Xanth93 (510 posts) -

This looks great. I hope it's as good as Flower.

#6 Posted by FinalDasa (2417 posts) -

Looks interesting

Moderator
#7 Edited by ZmillA (2345 posts) -

a game all about isolation and discover, in an environment rarely used in games, and is made by a company with a proven track record for quality artsy games? YES PLEASE. Im going to need a ps3 at some point.

#8 Posted by RIDEBIRD (1252 posts) -

Looks kind of weird and kind of incredible.

#9 Posted by Oni (2223 posts) -

Sounds very cool and unique. The multiplayer seems to take some inspiration from Demon's Souls. No chatting or text, just emoting with random strangers whose names you'll never know. Digging it.

#10 Posted by Rossford85 (48 posts) -

What the?... thatgamecompany haven't let me down yet, but this sounds so weird. Though, i would have said the same about Flower before i played it.

#11 Posted by FCKSNAP (2337 posts) -

Creative! Nobody makes games that you just explore without a care in the world anymore :/

#12 Posted by VoshiNova (1970 posts) -
@FinalDasa said:
" Looks interesting "
@Daveyo520 said:
" Looks interesting. "
@Dizzyhippos said:
" looks cool "
#13 Posted by Akrid (1391 posts) -

I have very high hopes.

#14 Posted by TonyBlue87 (350 posts) -

I really like the idea of being able to harmonize with other players.  I can see the massive choir performance on YouTube already.

#15 Posted by OneManX (1709 posts) -

The real question is... Is it art?

#16 Posted by CoolDrMoney (2018 posts) -

A game where you walk through a desert and sing? Riveting.

#17 Posted by Hitchenson (4708 posts) -

Looks pretty interesting, odds are I'll pick it up when it's out.

#18 Posted by metalsnakezero (2580 posts) -

After having a lot of enjoyment from Flower I believe they can deliver with this. 

#19 Edited by CharlesAlanRatliff (5710 posts) -

Really interested in the online concept. I also like that there won't be any voice or text chat to ruin it.  
 
Imagine trekking through this beautiful desert, taking in the sights and sounds. All of a sudden you see the silhouette of another person who is also lost and just as curious as you. You walk over to greet them, imagining the adventure you're about to partake with them.
 
"FAG!" they exclaim. The moment is ruined.

#20 Posted by FireSketch (851 posts) -

Thatgamecompany can sell me on anything. While walking long distances can annoy me in other games, here it sounds excellent.

#21 Posted by Vorbis (2763 posts) -

The settings reminds me of one of the text-based adventures in Nier, which is a good thing. 
After Flower i'm willing to believe they can pull it off, looking forward to hearing more.

#22 Posted by FunExplosions (5535 posts) -
@Oni said:
" Sounds very cool and unique. The multiplayer seems to take some inspiration from Demon's Souls. No chatting or text, just emoting with random strangers whose names you'll never know. Digging it. "
Exactly what I was thinking. I'll probably turn these interactions into the same thing: I run around in circles and trick people into jumping off cliffs. Either that or I run around in circles and show people secrets.
#23 Posted by Nasar7 (2963 posts) -

I like.

#24 Posted by Prince_of_Space (90 posts) -

Very striking graphics.

#25 Posted by dussssstin (38 posts) -

I have yet to play Flower but this sounds fantastically different.

#26 Edited by Euey (103 posts) -

Loved Flower & this looks equally special. Count me in.

#27 Posted by This_Dude (305 posts) -

Thatgamecompany is one of the few developers out there that always does something interesting and focuses on using a simple idea to convey a fairly complex message to players.  I can't wait to see what they have in store for gamers with this title.

#28 Posted by Steve_C (1768 posts) -

Did you manage to squeeze any info on a release date out of him?
 
Need this game.

#29 Posted by adamfedoruk (235 posts) -

shoulda made vinny write this

#30 Posted by Kagamine (108 posts) -

Looks kinda neat

#31 Posted by GozerTC (485 posts) -

It is yet more proof that thatgamecompany is doing something we don't see enough of in gaming.  Be CREATIVE.  Seriously this may be crazy wierd and strange, but it is a lot of what made some of us old folks love about games in the first place, the strangeness and "unknown" qualities.  Something to make us go, "Hmm what's that?"  
#32 Posted by gunslingerNZ (1966 posts) -
@VoshiNova said:
" @FinalDasa said:
" Looks interesting "
@Daveyo520 said:
" Looks interesting. "
@Dizzyhippos said:
" looks cool "
"

#33 Posted by Globox82 (201 posts) -

Cool, but Brads preview didnt do anything for me, i mean he went there to SEE IT, so what are your impressions? I mean are you interested or meh?

#34 Posted by themangalist (1853 posts) -

i almost thought the Flower people were little faeries from lalaland.

#35 Posted by Spoonman671 (5012 posts) -

Zombies.

#36 Posted by mosdl (3388 posts) -

That looks like a game that could use the move perhaps?  What about Flower, that too could work as well with the Move?

#37 Posted by Faramir82 (79 posts) -

Looks pretty cool

#38 Posted by Ethereal (93 posts) -

This game looks interesting, Flower was cool, therefore I will buy this

#39 Posted by MadeinFinland (835 posts) -
@gunslingerNZ said:
" @VoshiNova said:
" @FinalDasa said:
" Looks interesting "
@Daveyo520 said:
" Looks interesting. "
@Dizzyhippos said:
" looks cool "
"
"
Looks interesting.
#40 Posted by MisterMouse (3599 posts) -

Wow looks really cool, I cant wait to find out more about this game.

#41 Posted by Remy (45 posts) -

Any way I want this, that's the way I need this. 
 
(What?)

#42 Posted by thed4rkness (18 posts) -

 
This looks kinda neat.

#43 Posted by Animasta (14820 posts) -

anyone think it sounds somewhat like shadow of the colossus? the exploring part, anyway. Sounds really cool (need a PS3 gyuh)

#44 Posted by Mattalorian (604 posts) -

Compelling! Between the remarkable graphics and the SING BUTTON, what can go wrong?

#45 Edited by CornBREDX (6534 posts) -

You mean... that Atari 2600 Journey, right, where you gotta get to your limo before the fangirls get you? Man that was a weird game. 
 
This one looks weird too 
 
Edit: I know, Journey Escape. It was about the band Journey... escaping... =P
#46 Posted by Gearhead (2377 posts) -

So is this game going to be up it's own ass too?

#47 Posted by grokman10 (66 posts) -

Seems like a cool trippy game. Too many "kill stuff" games dominating the market. 

#48 Posted by Twazuk (188 posts) -

Why can't this be out yet!? Don't they want my money!?!?

#49 Posted by CreativeColossi (220 posts) -
@Gearhead: I lolled. 
 
I love these types of games, but I hate the people who slap them on their "games r art" blog posts.
#50 Posted by RE_Player1 (7946 posts) -

This is why PSN is superior than XBLA for me. Sure XBLA has great games but they don't have the weird games that are interesting. 

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.