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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.
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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 ...
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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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thatgamecompany

Journey's Jenova Chen investigating free-to-play, mobile


Calls F2P 'exciting and also really dangerous'
Feb 15
// Jordan Devore
Expanding his thoughts on wanting the studio's next game to be more commercially viable, thatgamecompany co-founder Jenova Chen spoke with Games Industry International about free-to-play gaming and Kickstarter. "[Mobile and f...
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Journey dev: Touch control the 'most universal' interface


thatgamecompany looking for controls that appeal to the widest audience
Feb 12
// Jim Sterling
thatgamecompany boss Jenova Chen believes touchscreens are becoming an increasing part of our gaming lives, and its presence in phones, tablets, consoles and PCs makes it a truly universal interface. As some gamers still rail...
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thatgamecompany

Journey dev hints at next game, wants 'financial success'


Jenova Chen: 'My resolution is to create a big financial success'
Feb 11
// Jordan Devore
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 ...
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...
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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 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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Journey soundtrack gets physical CD release


Better late than never!
Nov 07
// Jayson Napolitano
Looking back at 2012 thus far, Journey stands out as one of the strongest soundtracks of the year. We had the pleasure of hearing from composer Austin Wintory regarding the score as well as offering our own review of the soun...

Over the precipice: An essay on Journey

Jul 03 // Rob Parker
Now, that is a philosophical joke, which means partly that it’s not funny, but also that its profundity is revealed gradually, the deeper you consider it. The point is that, while it is easy for us to see water for what it is -- as outsiders looking in -- for the fish it is always there, and thus very hard to be aware of. This is a message worth keeping in mind when thinking about Journey, the latest release from thatgamecompany, developers of the zen-like Cloud, Flow, and Flower. Journey is a remarkable videogame, a work of art that commentators across the spectrum of gaming have found much to ponder within. For me, Journey is about the only thing that art worth any goddamn can ever be about, which is what it is we’re all doing here. Journey is about truth, about base reality, about this experience of being itself we so often ignore. It is a call to look around us and remember that, as David Foster Wallace puts it: “This is water. This is water.” We humans like to think we’re pretty hot shit. We stand, like the figure in that screenshot up there, overlooking our kingdoms, lords of all we survey. We are intellectual beings, gods on Earth; we have split the atom, put man on the moon, invented squeezable jam. We have mastered chaos. And yet we trudge onwards under a shadow. There is a great shape towering over us, and it is brought closer with every step. We are on a fixed path, ushered forwards, and there can be no escape. We stand upon a precipice, waiting for the moment we will be tipped off. And then ... who knows? For all our nuclear reactors and space shuttles and tubed-jams, we have no clue what will happen when we take the final fall. Our arrogance is really a mask for fear, for the truth of our situation, which is that we are but insignificant flames, blazing once in an endless void, soon to be extinguished forever. There is, certainly, a sense of this evident within Journey. Its tale of an enigmatic robed figure traveling through a vast desert towards a distant mountain can be read as a treatise on death, a declaration of the inconsequentiality of man’s power and knowledge when measured against the vastness of the cosmos. We are tiny specks scuttling across a universe that feels nothing but cold indifference to our plight. We are alone, and we will all die. The thing is, while Journey might present us with these facts, the conclusions it arrives at are far from nihilistic. In the vigor and exuberance engendered through traversing its undulating sands, you feel not despair at your insignificance, but liberation. The treatise on death is transformed into a treatise on life. And not life as opposed to death, but life including death. Because the real truth of our situation is not that we are standing on a precipice, waiting to fall, but that we are falling already, and haven’t yet hit the ground. Rather than peering down into a dark unknown, we are actually in this dark unknown right now. The dark unknown is, at our most fundamental level, us. It hardly matters that we don’t know what will happen when we die, because we don’t even know what will happen when we live. We don’t even know what we mean when we say “know.” “The Tao that can be spoken of is not the eternal Tao.The name that can be named is not the eternal name.” These wry, wise old words come from the first lines of the Tao Te Ching, a screed regarding the Tao, or hidden flow, of the universe. It’s telling that the lines, among the most penetrating -- and most quoted -- in philosophical discourse, comprise a negative statement -- telling us what is not, rather than what is. In much of Taoist (and subsequent Zen) thought, the assumption is that awareness of base reality -- and thus liberation, enlightenment -- is not something that can be intellectually arrived at, but a fundamental truth of existence that we simply have to stop trying to attain, and remember is here, right now, for us all to experience. We don’t often think like this in the West. Our busy, fearful, left-hemisphere dominated minds have a hard time relinquishing control and placing faith in a more natural, less forced intelligence. A Zen master would remind us that a finger pointing to the moon is not the moon, while our great thinkers tie themselves in knots wanting written instructions how to look from the finger to the moon, how eyes switch targets, how light is converted into electro-chemical impulses, and how that happens, and how that happens. We believe it is possible to “know” everything, and we do so erroneously. For what we mean by “knowing” is really just grouping, ordering, filing away. To know a thing is to delineate it, to demarcate its boundaries, its opposites, to cut it away from the rest of the world so it may be observed. In doing so we build complex maps of the relationships between things, yet we say nothing of the things themselves. You cannot demarcate that which has no opposite. To try is to confuse the map with the territory. I still remember this faux intellectual punk I used to know, who once sneered, “Everyone gets so soppy about love, without realizing it’s just a chemical reaction in the brain that means nothing.” The kid thought that because he could classify love, he could explain it away! He didn’t recognize that the whole universe is a chemical reaction -- if viewed through the framework of chemistry. Love, or fear, anxiety, joy, are what chemistry feels like from the inside. We are a chemical reaction experiencing itself! To borrow again from the Tao Te Ching, “Mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonders.” This isn’t, however, to say that the Western mind is worse at perceiving truth than the Eastern mind. For where our intellectual discourse fails, our art provides answers. Art is a way of presenting truth as honestly as possible, a kind of meditation -- both in the creation and the contemplation -- that allows us to see deeply into things as they really are. Whether staring at a lapis lazuli pendant from ancient Mesopotamia, vibrant with preternatural color, or feeling a creeping dread at the hellish rabbit visions conjured onto film by David Lynch, or exploring the simulated realms of a modern videogame, art lets us step back and refocus on what is, reminds us of the incomprehensibility of this teeming mass of reality blossoming each moment around us, and within us. And when we do so we are transformed. We no longer bustle along the forest path, eyes down, heads busy with What Jason Said Yesterday, or Why Sarah is Such a Cow -- but instead look up, and remember that we are, at this very moment, in paradise, and we better appreciate it now, before it is gone for good. This is what Journey does for me. It is, I think, an antidote to the suffering we feel when we misjudge our place on Earth. Sometimes we trudge up dunes, and the going is tough. Sometimes we surf and sail downhill, and we feel borne on the wind. Such is life. There is a mountain towering over us, the engulfing light at its peak drawing closer with each step. But this mountain need not be a specter. It can instead be a warden -- a lighthouse guiding us home, waiting patiently for our return. We soar up its slopes, our hearts glad. We are tiny, we are empty, we know nothing -- and how very beautiful that ultimate truth is. For when we are empty of ourselves we can let everything else in, and it is then when we find our real selves, not apart from the universe, but a part of it, growing out of it, growing back into it. And we are far from alone. Look at all these other travelers around us, pilgrims on the same journey. When we meet others in Journey, we no longer care about measuring them, comparing them, judging them. We don’t wish to manipulate them, nor do we fear being manipulated by them. We see them for who they truly are, empty as well, and we can enjoy simply existing with them, being with them, as we once did as children in that half-forgotten world of dreams we used to inhabit. There we stand, together, on the precipice of all things -- two tiny hearts beating in unison against the drone of an endless cosmos. What is there to do but sing? So we sing. And, somewhere down there, over the precipice of all things, the endless cosmos sings back.
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[Rob Parker is a freelance writer based in the North of England, where it rains every day. Except the days when it hails. Rob stays sane (and dry) by plunging himself into the simulated worlds of videogames, and writing st...

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Jimquisition: The Definition of Art Games


Jul 02
// Jim Sterling
There's nothing like a debate about art games to ensure that everybody has a fun, enlightening, and not-at-all-aggravating time! Let's discuss the assertion that "art game" as a descriptor doesn't work, that it's a broken te...
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Journey Collector's Edition detailed for North America


Jun 25
// Jordan Devore
Journey has done extremely well for itself on PlayStation Network, and with the upcoming disc-based collector's edition on the way, I can only see that trend continuing. As announced today by developer thatgamecompany, Journe...
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Fan-made Journey figurine is simple and elegant


Jun 20
// Tony Ponce
Journey has such a clean, simple beauty about it that's minimalist yet striking. This custom Journey figurine seems to check all the appropriate boxes, don't you think? thatgamecompany spotted this pretty little thing on Twit...
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thatgamecompany raises $5.5 million, wants to branch out


Jun 14
// Dale North
I've been a dedicated follower of indie game maker thatgamecompany since their beginnings, and they've never disappointed with their releases. But things are about to really ramp up for them. The Santa Monica-based company ha...
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E3: Journey is the 'best selling PSN game of all time'


Jun 04
// Chad Concelmo
During Sony's press conference, Jack Tretton announced that Journey is officially the best selling PSN game of all time. Quite a feat. Quite a great game. This is exciting news for fans of the game and great news for developer thatgamecompany. If you haven't bought the game yet, go download it! It is wonderful.

Talking to Women about Videogames: Art has no e-penis

May 28 // Jonathan Holmes
It's especially disheartening to see these claims coming from Sony, which has a pretty poor track record when it comes to creative plagiarism. Everyone has their own opinions about what constitutes artistic integrity (more on that later), but most would probably agree that ripping off other people's ideas isn't as "artistic" as expressing your own. Whereas Nintendo consistently does whatever they want and Microsoft seems dedicated to finding new ways to speak to every aspect of the Western market, Sony spends a lot of its resources on directly copying other developers, both in terms of hardware and software. When cartoon mascots were big in the industry, Sony churned out titles like Ape Escape and Crash Bandicoot. After Metal Gear, Resident Evil, and Tomb Raider made the "Hollywood" approach to game development popular, Sony dropped its mascots in favor of titles like Uncharted, God of War, and Heavy Rain. The fact that we have three Uncharted games on the PS3 but not one title from Team Ico on the console shows exactly where Sony's priorities are in terms of plagiarism vs. originality. And don't even get me started on the current state of the PlayStation Move and its library. That said, Sony has published some very original games recently and further in the past: PaRappa the Rapper, Jumping Flash, Twisted Metal, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Loco Roco, Patapon, The Last Guy, Flower, and Journey, to name just a few. The company also has the tendency to improve upon whatever idea it's ripping off (Uncharted 2 and God of War 2 are arguably the best "action movie games" ever made). That's why Sony is one of my favorite publishers today. I just wouldn't say that originality is one of their strengths. Something I do think Sony is very skilled at is making its fans feel better about themselves. It does that in a variety of ways, from providing them with powerful hardware to brag about to, in this case, leading them to believe they are more "artistically minded, sophisticated, and grown up" than fans of other developers. Sony has always payed close attention to the surface-level traits of the games on its consoles, working hard to control the "image" of the PlayStation brand. In the early days, it discouraged Capcom and other developers from putting 2D games on the PS1 and PS2, as it didn't want PlayStation to be associated with "old games." Today, the company highlights "realistic"-looking PS3 games at retail, leaving more abstract titles like those developed by ThatGameCompany out of the spotlight, constrained to the smaller scale and profit space of PSN. It's all part of a plan to make the PlayStation name and PlayStation fans feel like suave badasses of the videogame world. The focus on "realism" is just one of the ways that Sony attempts to dress its games in grown-up clothes. Other than LittleBigPlanet, it hasn't put many "cute" games on the PS3 (presumably because it thinks "cute" means automatically "for kids"). It has also avoided putting too many "sexy" games on the console, maybe because it doesn't want to look like it panders to "horny teens." These are all issues of style, not so much of substance. With the software from ThatGameCompany, Sony has touted how much the games "looked" like fine art, saying little about how much artistry is involved with the actually gameplay design. With Heavy Rain, Sony seemed to make an effort to tell everyone how many "un-game" activities the title featured -- stuff like shaving, using an inhaler, and yelling a child's name repeatedly in real time. Then there was the whole "realistic acne" thing. None of these details have any relationship to how "artistic" a game is. Interpretation of art is a personal, subjective thing that can't be measured by how much a game looks like a painting, how many cutscenes it has, or how big its pimples are. For me, a game's level of artistry has a lot to do with how much integrity it has. I'm guessing that's true for a lot of people, though "integrity" is also a pretty subjective term. That's why I get more out of the Animal Crossing series than something like Journey. Both games are about relaxation through simplicity, the appreciation of minutia, and interacting with both the environments and with other players through a minimalist, conflict-free focus. It's just that Animal Crossing does all that via a combination of low-intensity, non-sexual pornography (hunter-gatherer porn and "cute little cartoon animals that look like babies" porn to be specific). In fact, the first thing I thought after playing Journey was that "it's like Animal Crossing for hipsters." I was half joking in that assessment, but I still felt that there is some validity to it. I really felt like it was valid after I heard from Jenova Chen on Twitter that Animal Crossing was a "big inspiration" for Journey. That's not something I think you'd hear Sony talk about. [Artwork by 8WholeBits] Like I said in last week's post, I think that there are basically four types of human communication: art, competition, pornography, and education. I don't think that mixing any of those forms of communication dampens their integrity in any way. Art + pornography = erotica, a worthwhile sub-genre of communication all its own. Education + competition = spelling bees, and spelling bees are totally rad. Combining forms of communication can strengthen all components involved, resulting in something that is greater than the sum of it's parts. There is no loss of integrity there. Sense of integrity is only lost when you lose a feeling of sincerity and honesty. Journey feels more pretentious to me, like its developers were just as concerned about looking like artists as they were about making art. Animal Crossing's artistic merit comes off as a byproduct of its developers' insane desire to make a game about nothing. It almost feels like art by accident. On the other hand, Journey feels like it's trying so hard to look deep that it sometimes forgets to actually say anything. Most of that boils down to design. There are so many little life metaphors in the Animal Crossing experience, from the game's cannibalistic Thanksgiving holiday to the way it rewards the player with bags of money, grand pianos, or even NES games for shaking random trees, and they seem like direct comments from the game's designers on their perception of the world. Journey is more about unobtrusive, linear design. Its emptiness permits the player to project their own thoughts and feelings into the game, taking in very few ideas directly from the developer. It feels a little like a cop out, like the player is tricked into thinking it's "deep" because of the depth they're permitted to project from themselves into the game's world. That's part of why Journey's priorities don't totally fall in line with my own as much as Animal Crossing's do. When something speaks to you, when it seems to reflect your own perspectives and values, it's always going to seem more sincere and legitimate. We're going to be biased towards the things we like and have a tougher time seeing the value in things that we aren't compatible with. It's very easy to call a game that you don't like "pretentious," "less artistic," "a sellout," "sexist/racist/stupid," or some other disrespectful modifier. It's also great for people's egos to apply that kind of disrespectful, sour grapes thinking to the tastes of others. That's why it would a misstep for me to come out and say that the games I like are more "artistic" than the games that other people enjoy. The only thing I'd really be saying in a statement like that is that I think my taste in games makes me a better person than others. I don't see the point in thinking that way (though it is sometimes tempting). It's much better for us to take a close look at why certain games speak to us and why others don't, remaining focused on speaking only for ourselves. We should stay away from labeling some games as more sincere, sophisticated, or artistic on some objective level, because that will only work to close us off from looking at those games for all that they are. When you're truly "sophisticated," "grown-up," "artistic," and "confident" with your various endowments, you won't feel the need to brag about them or belittle others for being different than you.
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[Talking to Women about Videogames is a series where Jonathan Holmes talks to different people who are women about the biggest videogame news of the week for some reason.] A little while ago, brilliant game developer Je...

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Science: PS3 users more sophisticated than 360/Wii users


May 08
// Jim Sterling
According to thatgamecompany designer Jenova Chen, the reason why games like Flower and Journey are on the PlayStation Network is that PS3 owners are more mature than Xbox 360 or Wii users. Apparently, those who bought the Bl...
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Rapper Random produced a short, sweet Journey remix album


Apr 19
// Tony Ponce
Whether you've already played Journey or have yet to do so, you've no doubt fallen in love with Austin Wintory's beautifully introspective soundtrack. Jayson Napolitano has already given the full album his highest recommendat...

Exclusive: A journey through Journey's soundtrack

Apr 05 // Jayson Napolitano
"NASCENCE"[embed]225254:43277:0[/embed]This is, probably obviously, the theme to Journey. The notes of this piece form the basis of literally every single note in the entire game, though ironically this exact version doesn't appear anywhere in-game. I wrote it on the day I was hired, about three years before Journey came out. The final version features a live orchestra though if you listen carefully to the version in the trailer, you'll hear it was done with samples back then (orchestra only; the cello and bass flute were recorded that first day and these are those same recordings). The cello, as with everywhere in the game, is played by Tina Guo (www.TinaGuo.com) who is a very special talent and dear friend. Her performances really are the backbone of everything the game is musically. And likewise the bass flute, played by Amy Tatum, is of great importance and recurs later. "THRESHOLD"[embed]225254:43275:0[/embed]This track encompasses most all of the music you encounter in the open desert after first stumbling on to the desert creatures. The flute (again Amy Tatum) leads the way, and now joined by viola solos by Rodney Wirtz. It's a dance of sorts (with accompanying flurries on harp, played by Charissa Barger and of course Tina on cello). I always felt the arrival of these little fish-like cloth creatures was very charming and wanted the music to feel sort of refreshing. A surprise, like maybe you are caught off guard by the playfulness found in the otherwise bleak world. As the track moves on you hear more recurrences of the bass flute and a lot of the electronic textures from earlier in the score. There are some liberties taken with the album here that allow me to feature performances that otherwise in-game you can't ever hear (such as the reprise of the harp/flute duet that happens at 2:37). Also noteworthy is that the orchestra makes it first, very subtle, appearance in this track at 4:12 (in-game when you see the meteor in the sky above you) "ROAD OF TRIALS"[embed]225254:43276:0[/embed]These cues accompany your sand surfing after leaving the open desert. For someone who really loves writing in order to feature great performers, these cues represent pure heaven. Tina, Amy, Charissa and Rodney play the living hell out of these cues, especially Tina around whose virtuosic cello solos this entire section was built. The orchestra makes a more pronounced appearance during the beautiful sunset tunnel right around 3:00. Recording this was also a delight. The orchestra in Macedonia (conducted by Oleg Kontradenko) played with a lot of emotion and lyricism that couldn't have fit Journey any better! "APOTHEOSIS"[embed]225254:43274:0[/embed]This track accompanies the finale of the game, which I'll avoid discussing in concrete details so as to avoid spoilers. But needless to say it's the culminating moment of everything. The large scale trajectory of the score is one of electronics that evolve into orchestra, and this is basically the final destination of that journey (har har). The music is pretty highly contrapuntal and it was pure magic to record with the Macedonia Radio Symphony Orchestra. We really spent a long time nailing the performance and they seemed to have a blast with it. It really was a composer's dream. It probably comes as no surprise that I re-wrote this cue seemingly a thousand times. The precise tone of the game's end was something we were tinkering with through to the very end, but especially musically I found myself very hard to satisfy. At first all my drafts were too slow, aspiring toward a certain feel of transcendence and serenity. Then I amped up the energy but it felt like a chase or some sort of scherzo. Way way too fast and frenetic. I started to get pretty fed up and frustrated and eventually just set it down and worked on other areas. Then spontaneously one Sunday just sat down and started writing and this piece came out. I wasn't convinced that it was right but I sent it to thatgamecompany and was met with pretty immediate positive feedback. So I tinkered with it a bit more and finally felt like I had it.
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Waiting for Journey's soundtrack release on April 10, 2012 is like waiting for the game itself all over again. I am incredibly excited and can't wait! I not only had a great time playing through Journey, no doubt thanks to my...

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The DTOID Show: Journey, FEZ, and Wasteland 2!


Mar 31
// Tara Long
Happy Friday, folks! In case you missed it, The Destructoid Show went live earlier today, and in addition to giving out four codes for Waveform on Steam, we also covered a metric shit-ton of news that happened recently - som...
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Journey is officially the fastest-selling PSN game ever


Mar 29
// Jim Sterling
Love it or hate it, thatgamecompany's enthralling Journey is an undeniable success. That's a claim backed by facts, with news that the title has become the fastest selling PlayStation Network title of all time. Yes, it's doin...

My journey with Journey

Mar 21 // Chad Concelmo
00:00 -- A new journey. 00:02 -- I move around for the first time. 00:03 -- Running through the sand, I experiment with my abilities. Huh. I just flashed some kind of light power. What does that do ...? 00:05 -- The mountain comes into view. I gasp. Gorgeous. 00:09 -- I learn to glide. 00:11 -- Ah, that's what that flash does. I activate a pack of flowing fabric and sail through the air. Beautiful. 00:12 -- I reach a circle of light and start to meditate. 00:13 -- Who is this shadowy character standing before me? And what will I find at that mountain? 00:14 -- I see a glimpse of someone running away from me in the distance. Did my eyes play tricks on me? 00:16 -- Whoa. Another player just joined me. I will follow him or her to see where they lead. 00:21 -- I run through the rolling sands with my new friend. We don't speak, but we guide each other on the correct path. 00:23 -- I made a new friend. 00:24 -- Our joint meditation begins. 00:25 -- I think about my real-life brother, and how much I care for him. I would love to experience this with him. 00:26 -- The sands part before us. We continue forward. 00:27 -- A shooting star? I can't take my eyes off it. The mountain is getting closer. 00:28 -- My partner disappeared. Did he not like me? 00:29 -- I sit down at the top of a dune to take in the beauty of the world around me. 00:30 -- I want to move forward, but this moment of reflection is quite beautiful. Maybe I will stay here for just a few more minutes ... 00:33 -- Oh! A flying ... carpet? Scarf? It is showing me the way! I have to follow. 00:34 -- The flying carpet has friends! And one of them is carrying me forward! Nice to interact with something -- anything! -- in this vast desert. 00:35 -- The friendly carpets dance and play around me as I head in the direction of the mountain. Their playful sounds of joy are comforting. 00:37 -- So this is where the carpets were leading me ... 00:40 -- My friend is back! But his scarf is much longer. Is it the same friend? Or is this someone new? He greets me with a friendly flash of his power. I didn't realize how much I missed having someone around. 00:43 -- We have reached a dark, scary place. And my friend is running so far ahead ... 00:44 -- Come back! 00:45 -- I am all alone again. But at least the carpets are here to guide me. 00:46 -- Maybe it's my fault my friend left. Maybe I was moving too slow. I miss him ... 00:47 -- Another friend appears! 00:48 -- I am abandoned right away. Please don't leave me! I need some help in this part! 00:50 -- Alone again, but entering a new area. I slide down sand, my scarf blowing behind me. The music picks up as I surge ahead. I feel better about being by myself. The experience is exhilarating. 00:51 -- I land softly at the base of some falling sand. An orange glow surrounds me and the nearby ruins. 00:55 -- Secrets are hidden everywhere in this massive area. A documented history? A series of clues? Clues to what? 00:58 -- Again, I slide down a sand drift. My heart races. A smile forms on my face. The mountain appears, silhouetted against the setting sun. A gorgeous sight. 00:59 -- I reach the bottom as day turns to night right before me. A new friend is waiting for me. Hopefully this one will stick by my side. 01:00 -- We enter the familiar glowing circle of light. A figure stands before me. 01:02 -- As I wake from meditation, my friend is gone. Again. Alone. My heart hurts. 01:03 -- Night. A beam of moonlight illuminates the sand below me. 01:04 -- As I walk into the dark horizon, my real-life dog Luna curls up at my feet and goes to sleep. Her warmth makes me feel better. Less alone. I pet her and tell her I love her. 01:07 -- A room full of flowing scarves! They move like seaweed at the bottom of a deep blue sea. 01:09 -- I fall to the bottom of a dark room. Trapped. It's dark. How do I get out? 01:10 -- A flash of light. What is it? No, wait, who is it? It's my friend! He is back! He flashes his light as if to guide me towards him. He is helping me! 01:11 -- I still don't know how to get out of here. But my friend won't leave me. He flashes his light to help me see. 01:14 -- I panic. I can't find a way out of the hole. I don't want my friend to leave! 01:15 -- He doesn't leave. He stays right there, flashing his light to show me the way. I flash back as if to say thank you. 01:16 -- Aha! I can use the "seaweed"! I glide up a scarf as if it were a ladder. I make it to the top of the deep pit. My friend is standing there. He waited this whole time. I flash once more. Thank you, friend. Thank you for not leaving me. 01:18 -- We move forward into a dark cave. Together. A stone monster emerges from the sand, but quickly flies off. 01:20 -- What is that in the distance? It is getting closer. It looks like ... THE MONSTER! It is back! It puts me in its sights and attacks. My friend tries to distract him, but it doesn't work. I am hit. 01:21 -- Recovering, I run behind a pillar for protection. My friend joins me. 01:22 -- We run forward from the monster. More monsters begin to give chase. 01:23 -- We slide down a hill, the monsters right behind us. They get closer. Closer. 01:24 -- At the last second, the monsters are knocked away by a field of light we activate using our powers. That was close. I catch my breath. 01:25 -- We meditate. 01:26 -- When I awake from my meditation, my friend is still there. He is still there! I smile. I am beginning to really like this new partner of mine. 01:27 -- We journey forward. 01:28 -- A massive tower stands before us. 01:35 -- By working together, my friend and I make it to the top of the complicated structure. 01:36 -- We enter another circle of light, side-by-side. 01:37 -- The music crescendoes just as the meditation begins. Breathtaking. 01:38 -- The mediation is over. A door opens. 01:39 -- As I run down a snow-filled hallway, I have glimpses of my family, friends, and loved ones. I think about how much I care for them. I smile. 01:40 -- The base of the mountain. I am almost there. 01:41 -- A snowstorm starts to build. 01:42 -- We find some shelter behind a few ornate stones to avoid being blown away. 01:43 -- One of the monsters is back, but far in the distance. 01:45 -- My friend falls behind on the snowy cliffs. I send out flashes of light to reassure him I am there. 01:48 -- We rest by a lantern, discovering a hidden secret. 01:50 -- We continue making our way up the side of the mountain. Snow blows all around us. 01:51 -- I see the monster again in the distance. I turn back to my friend, but he is gone. I lost him in the snow. 01:52 -- My search ends in heartbreak. He is nowhere to be found. The music seems to know this. It grows more menacing by the second. 01:53 -- My friend ... where did he go? Did he lose me as well? Did he abandon me? 01:55 -- I can't just wait around. I have to continue. But we have been through so much ... 01:56 -- The monster keeps circling the area. I have to move on. Sorry, friend. Sorry for losing you. Thank you for everything. 01:58 -- The monster attacks! I am thrown across the snow. 02:00 -- Another attack! I don't know how much more of this I can take! 02:02 -- I spot a path in the side of a cliff. I slowly make my way there. Scared. Sad. Alone. 02:03 -- Safety. From the snow. From the monster. Let me rest here for a bit ... 02:04 -- Was it my fault? Did I lose my friend? He helped me so much. 02:05 -- I have to move on. 02:06 -- The monster. Oh, please not now. Go away! You are scaring me! 02:07 -- Run! Run! It's coming! Just a little farther ... 02:08 -- Safe. 02:10 -- Wait. This lantern. This looks familiar. 02:11 -- It hits me. No. Oh no. I am going the wrong way. I am back at the start of the mountain trail. The snow must have turned me around. Now I know why I lost my friend. I have been going the wrong way! I am so sorry, friend. I failed you. 02:12 -- Back to my journey. I have to continue on ... 02:15 -- Back to the spot I lost my friend. Sorry again. 02:17 -- A quick glimpse of the mountain helps me focus. I must get there. 02:20 -- Approaching a temple. Leaving the snowy wasteland behind is making me feel a little better. 02:22 -- I am covered with snow as I make my way along the edge of the temple. The winds are brutal. 02:25 -- A flash. Of what? 02:27 -- It's hard to walk. The mountain is fading away. It is silent. 02:28 -- I collapse. 02:29 -- Surrounded by strangers. Or friends? I am revived. I shoot into the sky. My emotions are out of control. I am on the verge of tears. 02:30 -- The top of the mountain. I am reborn. 02:31 -- I fly freely. Unhindered. Unafraid. 02:32 -- The mountain peak is so close! 02:33 -- I glide ahead. Faster. Faster. Nothing can stop me! 02:34 -- I am free. I am happy. So, so happy! 02:35 -- This is glorious! 02:36 -- I am light itself! The mountain peak is right there! 02:38 -- I have arrived. 02:39 -- I walk forward into the light. 02:40 -- I think about all the friends on my journey. All the friends I have lost. I think about my family. My loved ones. My entire body fills with nothing but love. 02:41 -- A bell chimes. 02:42 -- Peace.
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By now, you have probably played thatgamecompany's fascinating, beautiful new PSN game, Journey. And you have probably formulated your own thoughts on how the game made you feel. Knowing that playing Journey was sure to make ...

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EU PS Plus subscribers start their journey on Wednesday


Mar 06
// Fraser Brown
In just over a week, I'll be sauntering around a gorgeous desert with a big grin on my face. To make matters better, I'll be doing it from the comfort of my sofa in a temperature controlled room. I am, of course, referring to...

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