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Journey Developer Talks About Money and the Art of Gaming

Journey

An interview with Journey developer ThatGameComany’s founder, Jenova Chen, was posted on Games Industry International. Let’s take a look at what he hadto say about the future of his company.

First and foremost, Chen wants to make a game that will be a commercial success, while still retaining the high quality and artistic merit of TGC’s previous titles.

“The current stage of our goal is to create a game that’s actually going to make a commercial success, that’s actually going to make the publishers or investors say, ‘There’s a huge market there. We should put money into seriously developing these high quality games,’” said Chen to Games Industry at the DICE Summit.

He’s been approached by other indie developers who have expressed their desire to make games the way he does, but ultimately find that, while job-hunting, publishers want games that squeeze the money out of consumers. He said that this isn’t that kind of job that they want.

And according to Game Industry’s Brendan Sinclair, Chen feels “some responsibility to help would-be developers looking to create the same kind of personal, emotional experience he has tried to make.”

While TGC has made artistic games and shown that such a thing is viable, they’ve yet to convince investors and publishers that these type of games can make lots of money.

Chen was asked if TGC would be making the move to the free-to-play or mobile markets, since investors seemed to show more interest in them, but he said, “I think free-to-play is both exciting and also really dangerous. So we’re still testing out what will go there. How are you going to make people feel emotion when they’re constantly on guard that you’re manipulating them to make money?” It would appear that Chen is all about the feels, rather than the Benjamins.

He was also asked about his thoughts on Kickstarter and whether or not the next project from TGC could find a place there. Chen said that Kickstarter seems to work for a lot of celebrity developers who made games that older gamers with more expendable incomes loved. The type of games TGC makes are played by more teenagers and college students, who might not have as much money to offer.

Chen was then asked about his thoughts on the next generation of consoles, as well as new competitors like Ouya, GameStick, and Valve’s Steam Box.

“I like chaos,” Chen said. “Quoting Joker, ‘Chaos is fair.’ In consoles, it’s very difficult to create a fair competition at this point, but with all these new consoles coming out, it’s very exciting. I’m sure we’re going to get the best out of them. I don’t think they all will survive, but the best will. And we will have a cheaper console out there that’s going to be indie-friendly [with] digital distribution.”

Check out the entire interview here, and let us know what you think about Chen’s plans and tell us how you feel about ThatGameCompany’s titles!

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