Thatgamecompany’s Jenova Chen on Journey

EDGE issue 240 My 2012, accessed on 25/04/12

Really relevant article in which Thatgamecompany’s Jenova Chen talks about Journey, an awe-inspiring game.

The game is a controlled, emotive experience, that lacks the common multi-player mechanics and interactions allowing for a singular experience.The co-op element isn’t forced – “a true collaboration only happens when both sides are voluntary.” Most co-op games force this collaboration. this is an interesting idea, as Journey has allowed the player to choose whether they want to work in a team or by themselves. This part of the game has been critically reviewed as a wonderful twist on multi-player, but why is it so well received? Possibly it could refer to the theory as to why players like having personal avatars and characters within games. As within Journey you cannot change to character, but you have full control over the multi-player aspect. Overall players want to be able to have some choices within a game; they want to be able to alter the path of the game but stay contained within a set of specific rules. Which is why Journey works so well; “It’s not about overcoming difficulty – it’s about sharing an experience with someone.”

Chen goes on to describe an interesting view on game mechanics, stating: “If someone wants to break the rules, it means the world is not well designed.”. Does this mean that a game designer needs to find a balance to make the game successful.

How am I going to incorporate this into my concept?

I suppose I have already begun to consider it, allowing for alternate paths of narrative to be taken, but are there any other ways? I think I need to look more towards similar game structures so that I can figure out how games in the industry balance the linearity.

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