The beta for thatgamecompany's Journey is available to lucky PlayStation 3 owners this week, and I am pleased to say I'm one of them. Having taken the game for a spin and engaging in its unique multiplayer, I am still finding it impossible to judge how much I'll like the final game ... but it's definitely memorable.
Part of that is due to the unique and thoroughly engrossing multiplayer.
As you'll gather from our full preview, Journey is all about exploring a strange and mystical world. As a cloaked traveler, you wander the desert, gaining temporary jumping powers with a magic scarf, and letting strange one-note songs ring out to activate presumably ancient structures. "Gameplay" as we typically understand it has been tossed aside to focus on absorbing the player in an engaging world.
The multiplayer is what really stands out, though. Journey's world is accessible to random players who you will simply find while playing. Whether your choose to join them or not is up to you, but they will be working toward the same goals as you, and working together might help you spot hidden goodies.
I stumbled across another player in the beta's second area -- identical to me, with no visible username or real method of communication. Using our ability to let out one-note chirps, however, we were able to gain an understanding of each other.
We chirped so we wouldn't lose each other. We touched in order to keep each other's jump ability powered up. We ran across the desert together while chasing flying carpets. The world of Journey is stark, dead and lonely despite its eerie beauty, and that made me want to stick with my new companion all the more. Sliding down a dune with a new friend next to me, chasing carpets. It was magical, to say the least.
Co-op games often cause me to lose interest in a game. It's hard to follow a story when you've got someone chatting in your ears, and it's hard to enjoy a game while worrying about looking "bad" in front of another player. Journey, by stripping players of communication and identity, by placing them in a world where they simply explore together, has sidestepped all the usual issues of co-op gaming.
Demon's Souls come to mind when I think about this. That game also used limited communication and an unconventional, perpetual set up in order to create a sense of simultaneous loneliness and camaraderie. It's a beautiful thing, and an experience that only videogames can give us.
I have no idea who I played with. I don't know their PSN username or what they thought about the game.
I had fun though. Whoever you are!
|7:30 PM on 06.14.2013|
Katamari creator goes indie, joins former Journey devs
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|5:00 PM on 05.28.2013|
Apparently people don't like Journey cosplay
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.more
|2:45 PM on 04.18.2013|
Journey Collector's Edition makes its way to Europe
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|1:30 PM on 04.01.2013|
Journey devs cave with 'Rocket Death Match' DLC
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|10:30 AM on 03.29.2013|
Journey inspired by World of Warcraft, loneliness
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|9:30 AM on 03.28.2013|
Journey kills at the Game Developers Choice Awards
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 ...more
|9:30 PM on 03.04.2013|
Journey composer shares a text commentary on his score
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....more
|6:00 PM on 03.02.2013|
Journey art director opens new studio, Giant Squid
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...more
|2:00 PM on 02.11.2013|
Journey dev hints at next game, wants 'financial success'
At the 2013 D.I.C.E. Summit, thatgamecompany co-founder Jenova Chen spoke at length about creating Journey, revealing that the studio ran out of money after significant delays which ultimately resulted in the game many of us ...more
|6:11 PM on 02.07.2013|
Journey: Chen wanted emotional connections from MMOs
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 ...more
|1:00 PM on 05.23.2013|
Mirror's Edge 2 posting shows up on Amazon
A listing showed up on Amazon.de for Mirror's Edge 2, and while it doesn't have any details about the game, it is a good indication that the rumors are true -- that EA might actually be making a sequel. I know we al...more
|11:45 AM on 04.26.2013|
'Who the f*ck gives a sh*t about f*cking Xbox 360?'
It's an innocuous enough little blog post -- an article on Battlelog aiming to help Xbox 360 users save space on their hard-drives by deleting obsolete Battlefield 3 update files. Fair enough, right? Wrong! The otherwis...more
|4:00 PM on 03.28.2013|
Can Battlefield 4's narrative be relevant after Spec Ops?
In lieu of partying or whatever it is college kids are supposed to be doing, I decided that my number one priority this spring break would be to to replay Spec Ops: The Line. I joined the Spec Ops party a bit late, but t...more