Interactive 2021

Journey (2012)

Jenova Chen

Developed by Jenova Chen and Nick Clark of Thatgamecompany with Sony, Journey is quiet, abstract, and spiritual, yet riveting. There is no dialogue in Journey. There are action sequences, without the violence. As a player you are a robed figure, seemingly lost. You have to go somewhere, to reach mountainous heights, but you do not know how. You are called to roam and find your own path, to pick up scraps of ethereal fabric and interact peacefully with other journeying creatures, both automated and alive. Journey is multiplayer, so you will meet anonymous strangers, other players searching for what they do not know. But you cannot speak to each other—no “locker room talk” here. All you can do is be with and support each other as you traverse a landscape both barren and beautiful, an endless desert littered with civilization’s remains.

Journey shook the gaming world when it was released a decade ago, winning awards for story, directing, design, even music composition. It crystallized the spirit of a burgeoning generation of indie game developers, whose tender, artisanal works recalled the wonder of the earliest days of gaming. Journey stood out for its lush design and incredible restraint: a minimalist wonder in a maximalist age. Its serenity conjured magic in a chaotic time when social media and networked game engagement was rising exponentially. In retrospect, Journey represented what was missing from our ever more interactive media environment. In Journey we are encouraged to collaborate with anonymous strangers as opposed to shouting at them for competition or clout. We are asked to slow down, stop talking, and pay attention to history and the ecosystem around us.

In Journey our goal is better understanding of ourselves and our world. We can think of few games that deliver this pressing message with more elegance and craft.


SONY Computer Entertainment, Santa Monica Studio Developer: THATGAMECOMPANY INC