In an interview with Polygon’s Brian Crecente, the thatgamecompany head has spoken about why the company’s extraordinarily successful Journey, made for Sony’s PlayStation 3, must be the last of their single platform releases.
“I wouldn’t say that the development of Journey was a successful example of game development,” said Chen, before going on to admit that it “bankrupted the company.” The game, which won eight awards at DICE this week, was delayed for two years by the developer. Chen is always very quick to state how grateful to Sony the team are. The publisher allowed them the room and freedom to make games which are unique and special, but that relationship has also limited their scope.
“I think to have a financial success, that is going to change everyone, it has to be much bigger than a game on the PlayStation platform,” he says, pragmatic about the studio’s future. But his desire to get thatgamecompany’s games in front of a wider audience is seemingly not a matter of money. Chen is bothered by the lack of opportunities to make great games with a higher concept. He says he feels “responsible for them because [he] showed them that is possible, but there is no place for them.”
Because of that frustration, Chen wants to make sure his next project – something which seems to be consuming his every thought at the moment – is a big commercial hit. And that means as many platforms as possible. This new project, funded with venture capital, looks set to explore Chen’s fascination with the connections we can make with other people. Journey went some way to exploring that but he says that his new game’s “one level above that.”