E3 2010: Our first look at Journey

Endless sands and stylized ruins fill one of the most visually arresting PSN games we've seen yet

Speaking of cloth, there are floating bits of the stuff scattered around the game world, which the hero can collect anduse to overcome obstacles. Among other things, we saw these being used to make the hero fly, execute massive jumpsand, at one point, form a giant ramp/staircase that enabled the hero to slide across giant gaps between high platforms.

Then there's the multiplayer aspect, which Chen was a little cagey about. At certain points, he said, your game world might overlap with that of another player. You won't be able to communicate directly with this other player, or see what their PSN ID is, but you can hang out and explore with them (if you like), or just keep wandering off on your own.

Chen likens the experience to meeting someone on a hike (and being unable to talk to them, obviously): you'll be wandering by yourself for a while, taking in the sights, and then all of a sudden you'll come across another traveler. You can travel with them and help each other along the way, but you don't have to.If you like traveling with one person a lot and want to do so more in the future, however, Chen said there'll be a system in place to enable you to find them again.

Also, while it's possible you'llmeet more than one other traveler during your run through the game, you'll never meet more than one at a time, ostensibly to preserve some sense of partnership in the face of loneliness and desolation.

Finally, on the question of replayability, Chen said that the game is being designed to be like a good museum: if you've only been through it once, you probably haven't seen everything. Those who want to charge straight through to Journey's glowing peak are free to do so, but Chen said there'll be plenty of "attractions" on the side for those who want to take the time to explore them.

Regardless of how much stuff there is to do in the finished game, what we've seen so far is captivatingly pretty, andit'll be interesting to seehow the final product turns out. ThatGameCompany has established itself as an art-house developer that makes beautiful and enormously enjoyable games - Flower being a prime example - so it's likely that, however small and powerless Journey makes players feel, the trip will still be a fun one.

Jun 21, 2010

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.
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