Jenova Chen, co-founder of thatgamecompany, recently gave a speech at D.I.C.E. 2013 about the development of his studio’s latest award-winning title, Journey, and the financial hardship they endured on the road to release. At the event, Chen spoke with Polygon about the team’s upcoming project, and what he’s hoping to achieve when it releases.
His goal is to continue making games outside the typical studio/publisher mentality that focuses so much effort on violence and fast-paced action. Although, in an industry where so few chances are taken, he realizes Journey may not be the best example of how to make this vision a reality. “I wouldn’t say that the development of Journey was a successful example of game development,” he admits. “We bankrupted the company.”
In order to truly open people’s minds, Chen also understands he’ll have to reach as wide an audience as possible. “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.” Assumedly, his goal is to develop the upcoming game as a multiplatform release.
Part of his motivation to continue making such thought-provoking and original game concepts comes from feedback and conversations with students who are aspiring game developers. While noting his own studio thatgamecompany is still a very small team with little room for expansion, Chen explains, “I run into a lot of lost and frustrated students who study games to work on great art, but then find there is no place for them. I feel responsible for them because I showed them that is possible, but there is no place for them.”
With that in mind, Chen wants one thing specifically for his next game: “My resolution is to create a big financial success.” With any luck, thatgamecompany will find the success they are looking for with their next title and prove the viability of artistic games.
On the subject of the unannounced new project, Chen kept tight-lipped. He did, however, offer this small sliver of information. “Journey was focused on connection. I think we are trying to do one level above that with this game,” he said, before adding, “It’s very likely that’s impossible.”