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."