Jenova Chen, the co-founder of Thatgamecompany and creative director of Journey, played a lot of World of Warcraft during grad school. And he always knew that he wanted to make an MMO one day - a form of games that are synonymous, rightly or wrongly, with scope and scale.
From Spielberg's postman to discovering Katamari, Journey's lead designer's wild voyage of discovery.
Eurogamer presents a spoilery hands-on look at thatgamecompany's latest.
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Sony's Instant Games Collection - i.e. free games given away to PlayStation Plus subscribers - have been revealed for September.
For one summer in the mid-2000s, a not insignificant portion of the game designer Robin Hunicke's day involved placing a Nintendo Wii disc into an envelope and posting it to Stephen Spielberg's boat. Spielberg was on holiday at the time, taking a break with his family from sweltering Los Angeles and production work on the film adaptation of Herge's TinTin. There was no time to break from Hunicke's game BoomBlox, however, whose deadline was approaching. Besides, Spielberg's original idea for the game - a kind of anti-Jenga involving knocking down towers of blocks - came about because he wanted a non-violent game to play with his children. He was happy to receive builds through the mail while on holiday, where his kids could pitch in with the feedback.
Journey. Perhaps the perfect word to define the trajectory of this particularly elusive PlayStation 4 remaster. Having briefly spent time with the game just last year at Gamescom, performance was solid enough that it seemed likely that a full release would follow shortly thereafter. Instead, nothing. Outside of the odd blog post, this particular port remained shrouded in mystery throughout most of its development cycle. Now, three and a half years after its original last-gen release, Journey has finally emerged on PlayStation 4.
Its technological underpinnings are based on an advanced iteration of PhyreEngine - a modular, cross-platform, free to license graphics engine created by Sony Computer Entertainment. It's an engine which thatgamecompany, creator of Journey, previously used in each of its PlayStation 3 projects. With its complex sand rendering, dust effects, and fluid simulation, Journey made extensive use of the PS3's SPUs to bring its world to life. With a small development house known as Tricky Pixels tackling this PS4 port, we were genuinely curious to see how this ambitious project would translate to Sony's latest console platform.
At first glance, this PS4 iteration appears to fully retain the beauty of the original game. The simple, clean designs, attractive lighting, and lovely sand simulation return alongside a nice bump in performance and image quality. Even better, it's available for free to owners of the original game thanks to the CrossBuy feature - if you bought the original and upgraded to PS4 in the meanwhile, the new remaster is sitting in your download list right now, just as it was for. We finished the remastered version of the game in one sitting and have to say that the experience was just as wonderful as we had remembered. However, upon closer inspection, we began to notice some rather subtle changes, suggesting a conversion scenario that was less straightforward than you might imagine.
A statue commemorating the robed characters from Journey is now available for pre-order on the North American PlayStation Gear store.
An upgraded version of thatgamecompany's stunning sand-clogged adventure, Journey, has just been released on Playstation 4, complete with a host of improvements including 1080p resolution and 60 fps. It supports cross buy, so players who already own the game on PS3 can download the newest version for free.
If you still aren't sold, I've placed the native 720p PS3 version (upscaled to 1080p for the video) side-by-side with the brand new PS4 build in a graphics comparison video below. How many differences can you spot? Which version do you think looks best? What's your favourite Journey song? Let us know in the comments!
The PlayStation 4 port of thatgamecompany's acclaimed adventure Journey comes out on 21st July, Sony has announced.
After all the announcements and big studio posturing to come out of this year's E3, my game of the show was a quiet little indie game I'd barely heard of before. On my last day at the show, I was ushered into a screening room tucked at the back of 505 Games' media room, far away from the show floor (and, appropriately, in room 505 of the LA Convention Centre). There, I put on a pair of headphones and all the noise and bluster and gunfire I'd been subjected to for the last three days just washed away.
Critically-acclaimed PlayStation 3 titles Flower, FlOw and Journey will get a disc-based compilation pack for PS4.
Video Games Live has announced two new UK dates in Birmingham and Glasgow.
Journey and The Unfinished Swan, two games that emerged from under the umbrella of Sony's Santa Monica studio, are both headed to PlayStation 4, it has been confirmed.
The news is hardly a surprise - both games were listed towards the end of July by Sony, presumably in error - but the official announcement brings a few more details. Both games will be playable at Gamescom this week, and both run in 1080p on the PlayStation 4. There's no word on whether they'll also boast a 60fps frame-rate.
Tricky Pixel is handling the Journey port, while Armature Studio is dealing with the PlayStation 4 version of The Unfinished Swan. There's no firm date on either release, though they're promised this year. We may well see them take their place at Sony's Gamescom conference, which takes place later today.
PlayStation 3 favourites Journey and The Unfinished Swan are headed to PlayStation 4, according to a now-removed list of titles due to be shown at Gamescom.
UPDATE 31/1 4PM: Sony Santa Monica boss Shannon Studstill wrote all about the move on the PlayStation Blog, in a post that passed us by.
PlayStation 3 sales have hit the 80 million mark, Sony has announced.
That's as of 2nd November 2013.
PlayStation 3 launched in Japan on 11th November 2006 (it didn't launch in Europe until March 2007), making the console nearly seven years old.
Over the next two weeks we'll be bringing you our pick of the games of the generation. Today we're looking at Journey, thatgamecompany's slight PlayStation 3 exclusive that won instant critical acclaim when it launched last year.
Flower and flOw developer thatgamecompany has finally started to receive royalties from last year's indie darling Journey.
Downloadable PlayStation 3-exclusive Journey finally arrives in physical form in the UK tomorrow.
UPDATE: The 2013 BAFTA winners are in and they're a doozy. Dishonored took top honours, winning best game overall, which is odd as it didn't win in any other awards. Conversely, Journey received a whopping five awards in various other categories.
The nominees for the British Academy Games Awards 2013 (BAFTA) have been revealed.
Journey developer thatgamecompany will be branching out of Sony platforms for its next, unannounced game.
thatgamecompany, the developer of excellent PlayStation 3 oddities flOw and Flower, was bankrupt when it shipped Journey last year.
You lot have your fun with this. And we do, too. So it's only fair that game developers, the people who smash the virtual hammers onto the virtual anvils, get their chance. What are the games of 2012 according to the likes of Ken Levine, Peter Molyneux and other game design luminaries? Read on to find out.
"They're sad because everyone is dead."
The Journey Collector's Edition isn't coming out in Europe, according to thatgamecompany.
UPDATE: Journey Collector's Edition launches in the US on 28th August for $29.99, thatgamecompany has announced.
TGC worked with Sony Santa Monica Studio to create its first disc-based release. Release information for additional territories will be announced soon, it said. The game's US box art is above.
The complete set of bonus flOw, Flower and Journey content includes:
Back at the start of January, we wrote of our hope that 2012 would bring us more Actual New Games. As much as we like stuff like Diablo 3 (when we can play it), we also want games that "invent new styles and genres", as I said at the time.
UPDATE: thatgamecompany has confirmed Journey Compilation as a three-title collection.
"Yes, the #JourneyPS3 Collector's Edition is a thing, and it includes #flOwPS3 and #FlowerPS3, but we can't say anything more," read an update on the official thatgamecompany Twitter page.
The game is listed on PlayAsia as Journey (Collector's Edition), out in August 2012.
Fresh expansions for Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 await in this week's EU PlayStation Store update.
Bijou indie studio Thatgamecompany has raised $5.5 million in funding to help it operate without the need for a publisher and is currently working on its first multiplatform title.
EA has launched a new FIFA 12 and UEFA Euro 2012 bundle on the EU PlayStation Store, Sony has announced.
PSone Classics hit PS Vita this summer with Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy 7, Sony has announced. More titles will follow.
Most video games are just not stimulating enough for grown adults, so says Journey creator Jenova Chen.
Both Sony and Journey creator Jenova Chen believe, in a completely unbiased way of course, that PlayStation Network has more adult-minded users.
Critically lauded PlayStation 3 adventure Journey was the most downloaded PlayStation Network game in the US during the month of March, Sony has revealed.
Elsewhere on the chart, the PlayStation 3 version of MotorStorm RC entered at four, one spot above the free-to-play Killzone 3 multiplayer download.
Mass Effect 3 entered at six, Rayman 3 HD at 11 and Warriors Orochi 3 down at 13.
Just over three years since it was first released, and having become one of the critical darlings of the last generation, Journey is being re-released for PS4. Digital Foundry will be looking at the technical upgrade the game's received, and in the meantime here's Simon Parkin's profile of Journey's director, Jenova Chen, originally published in April 2012.
UPDATE: Sony has let us know that Journey is the fastest selling PSN game ever across Europe, too.
UPDATE: It's emerged that another key employee, producer Robin Hunicke, has also jumped ship. She's now working on oddball MMO Glitch at developer Tiny Speck with Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi.
"If only you could talk to the monsters," goes the much-mocked and only slightly misquoted line from Edge magazine's review of the 1994 classic, Doom. How we laughed! And yet, it was quite a statement of intent for a magazine that has always championed meaningful evolution for games and deeper experiences for gamers.
EA's jumpers for goalposts game FIFA Street launches this Friday on the EU PlayStation Store, the same day it hits the UK high street. It costs £49.99.
People are "tired" of the same old games - that's why today's new PSN game Journey has been universally acclaimed, reckons creator Jenova Chen.
New project from Flower dev out next week.
Sony has confirmed that European PlayStation Plus subscribers will be able to play enchanting downloadable adventure Journey a week before everyone else - just like their US gaming cousins.
They'll also get a free Plus-exclusive Dynamic Theme.
Trine 2 finally launches on the European PS Store this week months after it went live on the US PS Store. To apologise, Sony and publisher Atlus have arranged a 30 per cent discount for the first two weeks after release.
Latest project from Flower developer.
Eurogamer plays thatgamecompany's latest masterpiece.
If Journey is about God, then God has played an awful lot of video games. One of the most fascinating things about thatgamecompany's sand-blown chunk of spiritual eye candy isn't that it reinvents gaming, or extends the medium's reach: it's that it takes old ideas - sometimes very old ideas - and repackages them in clever, stylish, and unexpected ways.
That glowing mountain on the horizon is a case in point. It seems like a straight lift from the Old Testament at first, but in Journey it's also your ultimate objective. It's both goal and waypoint marker, far less artificial than the breadcrumb trails of Perfect Dark Zero or Fable 2, but no less effective when it comes to the simple, crucial things that a game has to do - like keeping its players oriented as they move through large, artfully empty environments.
Or check out the scarf that billows and flaps around your devout and pin-legged avatar as you lean into the wind. It's part of a distinctive moth-brown uniform that comes teasingly close to referencing religious garb as varied as the burqa or a Franciscan's habit, but it's also there to tell you how much magical energy you have left for jumping and floating. It's a piece of standard UI, essentially, yet it's stuck right into the game world, tracing pretty little spirals in the desert air as form and function merge.
Sony has revealed the full PlayStation Trophy list for Journey, the upcoming adventure from Flower developer thatgamecompany.
Minor gameplay spoilers lie below.
The list of awards includes several nods to previous thatgamecompany titles. Bronze reward "Ancestors" is earned when players track down a mysterious creature - one of the beasties from aquatic life simulation flOw.
Flower developer thatgamecompany is "negotiating" plans to bring its games to a wider audience.
PlayStation Network game Journey launches on 14th March in Europe, Sony has announced.
Journey is from thatgamecompany, the maker of Flow and Flower.
It's described as an "interactive parable", an "anonymous online adventure to experience a person's life passage and their intersections with others".
Flower developer thatgamecompany will not create a PlayStation Vita version of long-awaited PlayStation 3 adventure Journey.
Journey, a very important Actual New Game of 2012, has once and for all been finished, developer ThatGameCompany has revealed.
Back in December the Eurogamer editorial team had a massive public fight about whether 2011 was a good year for games. Well, we had the closest thing we're capable of having to a massive public fight - we wrote polite editorials disagreeing with one another. One thing we all agreed upon, however, was that we would very much like to see more Actual New Games in 2012.
Everyone's going indie - it's a path that's becoming increasingly well-trodden, and with the rise of Steam, Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, striking out on your own is becoming an increasingly viable option for developers.
Multiplayer is now an "expectation", according to EA - but single-player only games are not dead.
UK arts guru Ekow Eshun believes most video games can't currently be considered art - but one developer disagrees.
Ambitious PlayStation Network exclusive Journey has been delayed to spring 2012, Sony has announced.
Sony's PlayStation Access tour hits the Rainbow Rooms in Birmingham tonight and tomorrow, bringing with it hands-on opportunities with FIFA 12, Resistance 3 and Assassin's Creed: Revelations.
UK gamers will get a chance to play alien-invasion shooter Resistance 3, the stunning-looking Journey, and the ICO and Shadow of the Colossus HD collection at an upcoming Sony tour.
Sony will show off a selection of upcoming software at its PlayStation Access roadshow, to be held in Birmingham and London over the next month.
PlayStation Access Live camps at Birmingham's Rainbow Rooms between 25th and 27th August.
The first time it happens is thrilling. I'd spent a couple of evenings gliding across the shimmering deserts of the Journey beta, desperately seeking someone, anyone, to share the experience with online.
EGTV talks you through the desert.
Sony is sending invites into the Journey beta, but you'll only get one if you're a long-time fan of developer thatgamecompany.
Invites are being sent to PlayStation Plus subscribers who are also the "very earliest adopters" of Flower, thatgamecompany's abstract movement PlayStation Network game.
If you're one of these select people, "watch your XMB inbox for your invitation and entry into the beta" SCEA Santa Monica Studio for Flower associate producer Randall Lowe said on the US PlayStation Blog.
Journey, the next game from Flower developer thatgamecompany, will enter a limited-entry beta next week.
The company confirmed the news in a Tweet last night: "Rumours of a very limited, private Online Beta for Journey are... true!"
Details of how to get your name on the list will appear online next week: "Check our Facebook page & the PlayStation Blog for details on Monday!"
Flower developer's latest project pictured.
A games industry press event is not a good place for quiet contemplation. For Sony's PlayStation Experience, a raft of boisterous blockbusters have been crammed into a converted tram shed in Hackney. Each adds its own combination of explosions, gunshots and super powered slam attacks to the cacophony.
FPS and fighting games are "not useful" and contribute nothing to a player's life, so says the developer behind boutique PlayStation Network download Flower.
Gorgeous looking footage shown.
"It's like hiking," says Jenova Chen, towards the end of a fascinating, bewildering, inspiring, and well-hidden E3 videogame presentation. "You're hiking along and you meet somebody. Maybe you like them and you want to hike with them for a bit. Maybe you don't like them, and you want to go your own way again."
Flower developer thatgamecompany's next game is called Journey and it's due out in 2011 for PlayStation 3.