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Journey

TGC photo
TGC

'No one is doing what we're doing,' says thatgamecompany


Co-founder is both 'proud' of and 'worried' about new game
Aug 06
// Jordan Devore
In a New Yorker piece covering Journey, Flower, and Flow developer thatgamecompany, the publication got a few more tidbits out of co-founder Jenova Chen regarding the team's next game. In line with his prior comments about it...
PS All-Stars' lost stage photo
PS All-Stars' lost stage

Images of cut Gravity Rush/Journey PS All-Stars stage


What-If Machine: cool-looking alleged Gravity Rush & Journey PlayStation All-Stars stage surface
Jul 22
// Steven Hansen
Some pictures of a seemingly cut Journey cross Gravity Rush stage of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale hit the web courtesy of designer Ky Bui's website. They were quickly taken down, but the internet is all-seeing, without...
thatgamecompany photo
thatgamecompany

New thatgamecompany title will relate to a wider audience


'It's a natural evolution of everything we are doing'
Jul 01
// Jordan Devore
Ah, Journey. I thought I was a total latecomer, having picked it up during a holiday sale late last year -- but thatgamecompany's thoughtful PlayStation 3 game continues to sell well. "We made the money back last year, the...
thatgamecompany photo
thatgamecompany

thatgamecompany on post-Journey problems & the future


Company co-founder Jenova Chen dishes out some details
Jun 21
// Steven Hansen
The practically perfect Journey has received no shortage of compliments, awards and cold, hard sales. The latter, one might expect, should have ensured smooth sailing going forward at thatgamecompany, but according to thatgam...
Keita Takahashi photo
Keita Takahashi

Katamari creator goes indie, joins former Journey devs


Keita Takahashi working on game with San Francisco-based indie devs
Jun 14
// Kyle MacGregor
Kamatari creator Keita Takahashi is working a new game with Funomena, a fledgling indie studio founded earlier this year by former thatgamecompany developers. Announced at the Horizon conference in Los Angeles yesterday, the ...
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Apparently people don't like Journey cosplay


Mega64's latest gets them in trouble with the heat
May 28
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Mega64's latest parody sees them taking on Journey as they simply go about town looking for friendship. Sadly no one wants to be friends with a well-dressed armless creature.

Embracing failure: We're all losers and that's OK

Apr 25 // Steven Hansen
One of the singularly unique features of videogames is your ability to lose them. A movie isn't going to stop 3/5 through and ask, "Hey, smart guy, who's the bad guy?" and then shut off if you’re too dense to figure it. Or maybe you were too busy fantasizing about a quixotic life in a small, but modern apartment with your waifu, eating steak fresh from the local butcher. Books don't quiz you on the moves and tactics you've learned and ask you to write a page before carrying on. Games can do this, and it can be a wonderful thing. I was thinking back to X-COM: Enemy Unknown and how it allows you to fail spectacularly at saving the world. With all the games that task you with being the Ultimate Savior of All Things, few offer a sense of urgency or suspense. You generally know you'll save the world, even if some grind is involved. Eventually. Whenever you're good and ready. In X-COM, you can play for 20 hours, fail to prepare adequately for an alien invasion, and lose the game. Game over, man. Game over. Feel free to try harder next time, you twit. It's easy to fall into the "ain't nobody got time for that" camp, but there's something delightfully droll about the game telling you you've reached absolute failure. And something in me that makes me want to try again. After all, I knew the stakes going in, and I should've been a bad enough dude to handle them, right? There's an untapped level of tension that keeps you engaged and on your toes when the impetus to succeed is put squarely on the player. It's the same feeling that encourages people to do self-imposed permanent death runs of games. Developers don't even have to be as damning as Firaxis was with X-COM, though. It would be neat to miss a QTE and end up with a scar that follows your player for the rest of the game. Just some semblance of consequence that elevates things beyond circumstance, or more ambiguous states of failure and success beyond the "dead/not dead" binary. In Persona 4’s narrative, you -- that’s you, the player, by way of a mute, surrogate main character -- are trying to catch a criminal. It's easy to lull yourself into a state of passivity and complacency, busying yourself with the tertiary mechanics and wonderful trivial details while you wait for the story to play out and tell you what's what. If you do that, though, the only things that will get you to the best, fullest endings are either a guide or plum luck. The game assumes you're properly invested. The quest for truth and, subsequently, what truth means, seems to be the highest thematic goal of the narrative and it’s reflected on the metagame level of rewarding players with a thirst for satisfaction and an attention span to match. It’s a good thing. It encourages an attuned, critical audience. There's something to be said for a challenge, whether reflexive or mental. I'm not advocating arcane rules, difficulty spikes, or cheap mechanics aimed to preclude potential players. I don’t mean to perpetuate insularity. But death or failure in games doesn't have to be pointless, or merely a brief respawn to a previous, uncorrupted state. Imagine a pure detective game that, unlike L.A. Noire, actually requires you to do proper detective work to succeed rather than scurry you up the promotion ladder because of player nepotism. There was something arresting about playing Myst and being told, “Figure it out,” as I scrawled across notebooks record of each and every little island discovery. Why is this market so painfully underserved while companies churn out samey games. Didn’t anyone ever tell them not to go chasing waterfalls? I'm reminded of the visual novel/puzzle game 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, which ended with me being stabbed in the back by an unknown assailant. It was awesome. It was infuriating. It had me yearning for another playthrough in which I do a better job of staying on my toes, unraveling its mysteries, and avoiding an empty death. What we need less of, in part, is what we’re inundated with: linear adventures in which we’re led by the nose by way of noisy, arrow-laden UI, toward inevitable, empowering success. Having actual threat and consequence to the player can make for unique experiences -- Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls come to mind as games in which you fully inhabit their worlds -- and serves as one way to heighten engagement as players explore the finely tuned digital space. It is also a means through which less stagnated design can be born as genre conventions would have to be either interestingly worked around or entirely cast off. In the case of the L.A. Noire example, a team would have to work out a viable way to make an actual detective game. Even some games in which you can’t “lose” offer a fresh alternative to the whitewashing of failure and instantaneous reversion to a comfortable, safe save state. During a particularly treacherous portion of Journey, I felt more possessive and protective of my lengthy, hard-earned scarf than I would have a lives counter ticking away and subsequently resetting me a couple of minutes. Failure is part of life. It's most of life for most of us. It also has room to be a meaningful part of a game beyond a temporary state to be overcome with the smallest amounts of added insight, skill, or chance. Giving failure meaning or consequence -- and exploring different modes of failure beyond the kill or be killed dichotomy -- is a chance to inculcate players with another experience beyond reckless abandon and lethargic play. It can add tension or engagement. If I’m just carted around on a sightseeing tour, made more voyeur than participant, my actions and attention both meaning little, it becomes easier to disengage.
Eminent fail photo
Or; Another reason why Persona 4 is still cooler than most other games
As I was knee deep in the glorious Persona 4: Golden, something curious happened. A heavy 50 hours into the game after something resembling a climax, the game ended. It was an ending that felt hollow, strangely devoid of reso...

Journey CE photo
Journey CE

Journey Collector's Edition makes its way to Europe


Europe gets some delayed love from Sony
Apr 18
// Raz Rauf
Journey was the little game that could -- the indie David that took on the triple-A blockbuster Goliaths of the gaming world...and won. It was critically acclaimed, won a plethora of awards, and perhaps most importa...
Journey photo
Journey

Journey devs cave with 'Rocket Death Match' DLC


'A whole new journey'
Apr 01
// Jordan Devore
On this fine April day, Journey developer thatgamecompany has uploaded an announcement video for a new add-on that seeks to please everyone who didn't enjoy the experimental game. Too little gameplay, you say? Not enough fig...
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Phantom Pain, Destiny, & A Total Eclipse of Battlefield 4


The Destructoid Show really needs you tonight
Mar 29
// Max Scoville
Holy moly, you guys, it's been a long week, and we had lots of news out of GDC to cover on today's Destructoid Show. For starters, EA showed off seventeen full minutes of Battlefield 4, which looks very pretty, albeit exactl...

Journey inspired by World of Warcraft, loneliness

Mar 29 // Steven Hansen
“Three minutes is a good amount of time to walk to your death” Designing this new idea from ground up, then, was a highly iterative process. While prototyping with co-op play, “Sony kept telling us the game could have great multiplayer, but it needs to have single-player.” Concepts were thrown together in 2D to explore how to deal with cooperative play, many of which failed to translate into 3D. Initially, the multiplayer could include up to four players, but play testing showed that caused pairing schisms; or, worse, three players leaving the fourth out.  Early concept art for Journey is decidedly more intricate than the final result, but much of the game’s framework was set down immediately. The issue was pacing. After the second year of development, the game was effectively done. The trailer from that milestone would closely reflect the final trailer, but the entire last third of the game needed to be reworked to provide appropriate catharsis. An entirely new set of animations was created for the last third of the game in an effort to convey its message more accurately.  Initially, Journey’s playable avatars were entirely humanoid, looking more like ninjas or as if they were students going to kendo practice. This was eventually pared down, as were much of the game’s systems. Matchmaking was removed so people wouldn't get irritated they couldn't chat with their friends. Soon after release, people would post messages to their unknown companions on the forum, apologizing for disconnects or thanking them for making the journey with them.  When he met the man who drove the first lunar rover, Chen asked him about the experience. The reply was, “On the moon there is nothing. There is no sound because there’s no air. And the earth is so small…you’re on this strange place where there’s nothing and no sound. You can’t stop but thinking ‘Why?’ ‘Why are we here?’” Journey allows you to share that pensive isolation with another, though it also works perfectly well as an offline, single-player journey. It captures the same widespread isolation and sense of existential curiosity so well.  Chen opened the talk explaining how other mediums define their genres based on the feeling a piece evokes, whereas games, in a holdover from the more simplistic past, define genres based purely on mechanical systems. He also noted how he tired of power fantasy games as he grew up, noting “if there are a variety of feelings in entertainment, it will make gaming a more healthy medium,” all of which I agree with. The larger part of the industry is heavily skewed toward escapism and power fantasy, less concerned with emotion than re-skinning the same tried and true mechanics.  Toward the end of the talk Chen puzzlingly pondered whether or not the extra year of development, which marked the second time they pushed the game back, was worth it. If you remember, the team eventually had to put up its own money to finally get Journey out. Yet, with all the (well-deserved) awards and critical acclaim, I think the answer is evident. Perhaps it was a rhetorical or perhaps it was the result of Chen’s humble, affecting personality.  Anyway, at the end I stood in applause.
Chen speaks, you listen photo
Some notes and tidbits from Jenova Chenís insightful GDC talk on Journey
thatgamecompany founder Jenova Chen delivered a talk on Journey, right on the heels of a sweep of the Game Developer’s Choice Awards the night prior. Naturally, the room was packed full, and Chen received a lovely stand...

Game of the Year et al. photo
Game of the Year et al.

Journey kills at the Game Developers Choice Awards


More than half of the awards, including Game of the Year
Mar 28
// Steven Hansen
Game of the Year, Innovation Award, Best Audio, Best Game Design, Best Visual Arts, Best Downloadable Game. That’s 6 out of 11 total awards, and the game was ineligible for two of them (and I’m still not sure why ...

BioShock Infinite and my mom don't get along

Mar 27 // Allistair Pinsof
It’s awfully strange to picture it, but that may because I never actually witness it: My mom was a gamer before I even picked up a controller. On my family’s Atari ST, she played adventure games like The Colonel’s Bequest, and many years later, Professor Layton and the Mysterious Village (DS). Currently, she games more than I do, playing Facebook games with friends and family all morning and night. Though she never took to The Sims, Tetris, and SimCity as my aunt once did (be careful what you wish for; do you really want your system taken away from you by an obsessed relative?). We all have that one game we want to show off to our parents in an ill-advised attempt to share the magic of videogames, the new media that they only hear about in terms of child murder and outdated pop culture references to Pac-Man and Mario. For me, that game was Final Fantasy IX. Yes, Final Fantasy IX. Hardly my favorite in the series but it was a very exciting release for the time, one that boasted a lush soundtrack, visuals, and a light, fantasy story that lacked the macho qualities of action games and the overbearing angst of FFVII and FFVIII. Perhaps it didn’t help that she joined me halfway through the game -- at a point where even I couldn’t follow the story -- but she didn’t have much interest, looking at it as merely cute. I thought, “If only they talked in these games!” In reality, that’d probably make the situation worse. But it’s 2013 and motherfucking BioShock Infinite is upon us -- yes, Ken Levine’s epic is permitted to fuck my mother. Yet, she had no interest in taking this skybird home. At first, she excused the awkward beats in action (waiting for a door to open, characters disappearing from a scene), but once the game presented itself as a first-person shooter instead of the adventure she suspected it may be, she lost interest.“It has taken a gruesome bloody, twisted turn … and I was just enjoying the serenity of it all,” she wrote on the laptop I gave her. The rich visuals and detailed art direction continue to carry her interests, but the gun fights continued to bore her. Yet, this is supposed to be the crossover hit that would get everyone’s Grandma to buy an Xbox 360! Ok, Levine and Irrational never said that but BioShock Infinite may be the closest we ever get to a first-person shooter that is about more than just the shooting -- yet having the shooting (and so much of it) is enough to turn away my mom. No mystery, story, or visuals can ever be enough to get away from the inherit disgust and boredom that prolonged firefights summon in her.I went into this experiment suspecting this would be the case. I’m hardly disappointed in her, the game, or Ken Levine. Most of all, I’m not disappointed in myself because I don’t need my mom to validate my gaming interests nor any other adult, especially as that desire in so many consumers has brought about an industry where every major franchise must imitate The Dark Knight in a boring attempt to be more mature and realistic. Why so serious? Because moms. Did I pick the wrong game? Of course. I can see her enjoying Heavy Rain and L.A. Noire, but I see little point in uncomfortably shoving her outside her comfort zone of Facebook games and TV. I used to judge her and put an effort into getting her into “better art,” never realizing how much of a jerk I was, especially since she never did that with me and my videogames. "I ALSO READ BOOKS MOM!!!!! TAKE THAT MOM!!!!" says the game journalist.Must we always be so self-conscious and defensive about our favorite hobby, hoping for games that present real emotion (lol Journey lol) and narrative (lol Dear Esther lol) when these things mostly just make for a dull game? We are an industry that constantly wants to appease our mothers, afraid to admit our arrested development instead of embrace it. This is a large part of why I love Japan, a country where gaming doesn’t occupy the same divide between gender and age. While people bemoan Metal Gear Rising’s eccentricities over here -- “Ugh, why can’t we have an emotional meaningful Metal Gear story, guys?” some may type on Twitter -- in Japan, they celebrate these goofy moments that throw all good logic and sense out the window. They don’t care what their moms think, or maybe their moms are just cooler than ours. Now, I got a BioShock to play. Alone, happy, and conscious-free is how I will do so.
BioMom Infinite photo
Why do we care what our mom thinks about videogames?
It’s ironic that I once wanted games to be validated by my mom so badly, since now I give her worrisome glances as she cycles through her reality TV programming. I think we all have that one game that we think will b...

Awards photo
Awards

Journey wins big at the BAFTA Game Awards


The Walking Dead and Unfinished Swan win two awards each
Mar 06
// Alasdair Duncan
Looks like the folks at thatgamecompany might need a new trophy cabinet after Journey picked up five BAFTA Game Awards last night at the ceremony in London. The PlayStation Network title won awards for Artistic Achievement, A...
Journey  photo
Journey

Journey composer shares a text commentary on his score


Grammy-nominated Austin Wintory
Mar 04
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Leave annotations on for this one, folks. Journey composer Austin Wintory uploaded the entire Journey score filled with official and unofficial art, all with text based commentary popping up throughout this hour long listen....
A brand new indie studio photo
A brand new indie studio

Journey art director opens new studio, Giant Squid


'We believe that video games can be more than a pastime'
Mar 02
// Allistair Pinsof
Ask people the first thing they like about thatgamecompany's Flower and Journey and they'll likely respond: the art direction. But, maybe not anymore. Thatgamecompany art director Matt Nava left the acclaimed studio and forme...
PlayStation evolution photo
PlayStation evolution

Latest Sony retrospective video is all about the games


Evolution of PlayStation
Feb 19
// Jordan Devore
The latest and perhaps final video in Sony's Evolution of PlayStation series is specifically about games rather than the hardware they were designed to run on. Hitting on the divide between games being viewed as toys and gam...
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New GDC talks on Dishonored, Journey, and...NASA?


Houston, we have news blog
Feb 13
// Dale North
This year's Game Developer's Conference, which takes place in late March in San Francisco, keeps filling up with more interesting talks and sessions. New ones announced this week are all interesting enough that I'm already tr...
Violence photo
Violence

David Cage is right: Violence is not essential


Even if it is jolly good fun
Feb 12
// Fraser Brown
Earlier this week, Allistair suggested that violence is integral to immersion, that it could draw us into games that lack it even more. This was in response to a presentation given by serial pompous twit and occasio...
Dtoid Show photo
Dtoid Show

Half-Life & Portal Movies? Rayman Delayed? What MADNESS!


Also: The Destructoid Show is being weird and stupid again
Feb 08
// Max Scoville
What a bunch of wacky news today about the video games! There's the ongoing Rayman Legends debacle, with it being delayed for a multi-platform release, causeing devs and fans to speak out. Meanwhile, J.J. Abrahms a...
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Journey: Chen wanted emotional connections from MMOs


WoW player looking for more
Feb 07
// Dale North
Jenova Chen admitted to being "a nerdy guy that likes to stay at home" during his D.I.C.E. Summit 2013 talk on Journey, but he still wanted to connect with others, and hoped he could do so in MMOs like World of Warcraft. But ...

Journey took thatgamecompany into bankruptcy

Feb 07 // Dale North
[SPOILER ALERT] Chen told a story about how one play tester had the game freeze on them at the end, where your character dies. While the game's ending was not testing well at the end of the second year, this particular player was moved as ending it all before ascending the summit made for the perfect tragedy ending. This got Chen and his team thinking about how they could dig down deeper to make the final emotional wave -- from depth to climax -- more moving. They approached Sony to ask for another year to reach the emotional bandwidth they knew they could it, but even with that extension granted, the work went even beyond this third year. Chen said that in the last half year some staffers worked unpaid. They dipped into their own funds to finish, taking them to bankruptcy in the last year.  But the time they spent that last year really made Journey. They did so much work in making sure the player went through every emotion. For example, near the end on the mountain, in the snow, they created new animations for the journey to show a struggle, making the player feel weaker and less capable. They added new areas in the mountain section, and worked in the stone serpent to heighten the experience. The summit, the game's glorious ending section, was originally on rails in earlier versions. They switched it to be free-roaming, added surfing from the beginning, and made sure that players had total freedom to walk toward the light.  Chen said three of the 25 testers of the final version cried at completion.
Struggles of Journey photo
Went one year over budget
Jenova Chen's D.I.C.E. Summit talk on my favorite game of last year, Journey, was moving for many reasons, but I was particularly moved when I heard that his team, thatgamecompany, went bankrupt in the struggle to finish the ...

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Try not to cry from reading this Journey fan mail


*sniffle*
Feb 07
// Dale North
thatgamecompany's Jenova Chen shared this fan letter during his D.I.C.E. Summit 2013 presentation today on his team's journey making Journey. Your game practically changed my life. It was the most fun I had with him since he...
PSN Chart photo
PSN Chart

Unfinished Swan, EDF 2017 soar to new heights on PSN


Giant Sparrow and Sandlot run away with PSN in January
Feb 06
// Kyle MacGregor
The Unfinished Swan and Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable are your top-selling PlayStation Network games of January. The PlayStation Blog reports that this domineering pair have unseated Journey and LittleBigPl...
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Journey, Dishonored top Game Developers Choice Awards


Nominees announced
Jan 24
// Dale North
The nominees for the 2013 Game Developers Choice Awards are in, and it looks like Journey, Dishonored and The Walking Dead are leading. Hey, those were our favorite games too. Journey took six nominations as the top favorite,...
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Journey leads D.I.C.E. awards with 11 nominations


Chris Hardwick to host 16th annual awards
Jan 14
// Dale North
The 16th Annual D.I.C.E. Awards take place next month in Las Vegas and the nominations have been announced by The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. I'm not at all surprised to see Journey taking the t...
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Journey was the best-selling PSN game of December


*chirp*
Jan 10
// Jordan Devore
On the PlayStation Blog, the top-selling PlayStation Network games of December have been compiled for curious minds to look over and commit to memory. Topping the charts is none other than thatgamecompany's Journey, beating o...

2012: Year of the Wingsuit

Dec 31 // Kyle MacGregor
Call of Duty: Black Ops II  Wingsuits are a pretty scary prospect in real life. Jumping off daring heights, gliding off into the wind is enough, but to look ridiculous doing it? It's a bit too much for me. Thankfully, Michael Rooker and his squad did it for me in Black Ops II -- all I had to do was press a few buttons. Although the wingsuits aren't really featured for more than a few minutes of the game, their addition added some excitement to the beginning of the campaign, and really drove home how diverse the gear and weaponry really is in 2025. Mark of the Ninja Like the Tenchu series, Mark of the Ninja has a number of items that may not be very ninja-y (strictly speaking), but provide a ton of fun for anyone who wants to utilize them. One of those items is the wingsuit, which lets you stalk your enemies with great care in the air. While a ninja game is probably the last game I'd expect to see a flying squirrel homage in, Mark of the Ninja is one of the many wingsuit-filled games of 2012. New Super Mario Bros. U While at first I lamented the lack of Cape Mario or the Tanooki Suit, I learned to love the Flying Squirrel Suit in New Super Mario Bros. U. Once you realized the nuanced play of clinging to walls, and bouncing off enemy heads to keep your glide going, things get really technical, and incredibly fun. I didn't truly learn to appreciate the Flying Squirrel Suit until I tackled the game's challenge modes, where I quickly had to acclimate myself to not overdoing it, and utilizing all of the enemies I could to keep my flight combo going. Although it isn't the best new addition to the Mario franchise, I really enjoyed my time with it this year. Far Cry 3 I thought Far Cry 2 was near perfect, but Ubisoft Montreal really strove to take everything up to eleven with the sequel. There are several additions and improvements that make the already winning formula even more enjoyable, but few manage to be more exhilarating than soaring over Far Cry 3's war-torn jungles in a wingsuit.  When Jason Brody's journey into this insane new world calls for him to head to a new island, he acquires this equipment to help him drop unseen behind enemy lines. After that memorable covert landing, the wingsuit can be used freely for a limitless number of exhilarating flights. And whether our intrepid protagonist is using it to sneak up on enemies or just indulging in a joyride, one thing is for sure: using Far Cry 3's wingsuit always makes for a good time. Journey Okay, so this one's not exactly a wingsuit per se, but it's close enough in our book. Journey's magical scarf does just about everything you'd expect a wingsuit to do and the flapping cloak doesn't look too far off the mark, either. Gliding plays an integral role in traversing Journey's glittering desert landscapes and also makes for some of the title's more memorable and cinematic moments. SSX In SSX, there are nine deadly descents that correspond to different environmental hazards that exist around the globe. There's a variety of specialist gear to help conquer these potential threats, but of them all the wingsuit is, far and away, my favorite. On certain slopes, there are large drops and wide gaps that make having a wingsuit an absolute necessity if you're looking to survive the run. However, given the choice I still take a wingsuit with me just about every time. While it might seem unintuitive, despite the webbing reducing speed, the enhanced level of control it offers in the air can help shave off precious seconds in a race. That and, like the rest of these games, it's also just a lot of fun to use in general. 
Wingsuits photo
I want to fly like a squirrel
When just about every major publisher rolled out a game featuring bows at E3 earlier this year, the fad didn't go unnoticed. Many were quick to comment on how in vogue arrow-slinging weaponry has become and for good reason. T...

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Journey Collectorís Edition minigames to be PSN downloads


In Europe...
Dec 31
// Dale North
Siliconera spotted listings and ratings for Duke War and Grave Diggers on PEGI's ratings board. These are names some might know from the recently released Journey: Collector's Edition, a title we saw this fall, but Europe mis...






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