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Journey dev wants to make the Pixar of games

Journey took home 8 awards, including game of the year, at D.I.C.E. in Las Vegas, but its developer nearly went belly-up just getting the game out of the door. Thatgamecompany co-founder Jenova Chen told VentureBeat about the struggle, and his new goal to prove that a game more about emotions than firepower can be a commercial success.

"Near the end, around the launch of Journey, quite a few members of the team left TGC," Chen said. "It’s not because they chose to. We ran out of money. Most of us were paid at half salary for almost half a year. We finished Journey in January, but it wasn’t going to come out until March."

Chen said he doesn't know how much Journey has sold at this point, only that it has broken even on its publishing deal with Sony. It might not seem very "indie" to aspire for a huge commercial hit, but Chen believes it would clear the way for more games like Journey.

"Look at Pixar. Why doesn’t a company like that exist in the games industry? I want to make that commercial success. Even if it’s not me who ends up becoming that Pixar, someone will found it in the future.

"For me, this is my business pitch. Our game is meant for average people to play, rather than just gamers. Our game doesn’t have language. It should reach a worldwide community. If our game can be delivered to that worldwide community, to everyone, why shouldn’t we make money? There has to be money there. When it comes to how we monetize it, there’s always a way."

8 comments

  • winner2 - February 13, 2013 4:39 a.m.

    I never considered Journey to really be a game. A kind of desert marathon simulator maybe.
  • TheDudeFromNowhere - February 12, 2013 6:01 p.m.

    Well, I wish them luck in their efforts.
  • TheAsterite - February 11, 2013 4:10 p.m.

    "Look at Pixar. Why doesn’t a company like that exist in the games industry?" Well, it's because Pixar had the financial backing of Steve Jobs, who allowed them to post continued losses for quite a bit of time before they found their footing making full length computer animated films.
  • Talvari - February 11, 2013 1:18 p.m.

    Never really liked any of their games, but i get why people enjoy them. Happy for all the awards they got an stuff. Not sure about the whole pixar of games thing but luck to them i guess. :D
  • R_U_Guys_From_British - February 11, 2013 12:27 p.m.

    There is a Pixar of the games industry. They're called Valve and created Portal 2. A game I thought was very pixar-like.
  • CrashmanX - February 11, 2013 9:01 p.m.

    Arguable. While Valve did make two games with a pixar like feel, that's only two. And that's from a developer known for their grittier FPS games.
  • SabreWing - February 12, 2013 2:39 a.m.

    I'd say Valve is more of an early Steven Spielberg, what with an impressive and diverse portfolio like E.T. (NOT the game, obviously), First Encounters, his work with George Lucas and then movies like DUEL. He has a bit of everything, kind of like Valve does. Pixar is impressive, but their work is still mostly emotionally challenging, for all ages and adventurous. I did get an enormous Pixar vibe when I played Journey. Not so much with the rest of their games, though.
  • shawksta - February 11, 2013 9:46 p.m.

    Voice wise, Holy shit it did.

Showing 1-8 of 8 comments

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